… Damaged vehicles; destroyed Accord office; disrupted campaign and injured members.
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The campaign train of the Rivers State Accord Party governorship candidate, Dumo Lulu-Briggs was attacked by gunmen Saturday, at Igbo-Etche, leaving his vehicle damaged.
The Accord flag bearer was on his campaign roadshow in Etche Local Government Area when hoodlums suspected allegedly sponsored by a rival political shot at vehicles in his convoy, throwing bottles and stones at them.
Speaking to Journalists immediately after the ugly incident, Dumo Lulu-Briggs said that he got a report that the Accord secretariat at Igbo-Etche was attacked by the gang and was on his way to see things for himself when gunmen opened fire on him and his supporters.
“This morning we got a very damning report that our Party Secretariat at Etche was attacked by organized PDP gang, organized by the chairman of the council. So we have to go to see what was going on at our Secretariat.
“On our way there, the said boys opened fire at us, attacked us, destroyed our vehicles, you can look at my car, they shot at my car, threw pebbles, my glass (windscreen) shattered. It’s terrible”.
Gun shots were heard even as he was addressing newsmen. The Accord governorship candidate expressed sadness about the turn of events in Rivers State, saying that the state is now a jungle and a lawless state.
“I don’t understand what this State has turned to. It’s a jungle State now, lawless place, it’s terrible.
“People must be allowed to campaign, we will not be deterred. Rivers people will decide who will be their Governor, who will be their Senators, It’s not by violence. It’s not by attacking people’s offices, convoy and the rest. These things must stop, I mean it’s not a kangaroo State. We have a country”.
Dumo Lulu-Briggs said that he tried to call the State Commissioner of police but couldn’t get through to him. He advised the state governor to call his boys in the LGAs to order.
“I have tried to reach the Commissioner of Police, but I have not been able to get him. But I have sent him a message by text, and I hope that he will get my message and then call me. I will keep trying him, but this is nonsense, This nonsense has to stop. The Governor has to call his boys; hold a meeting with all his Chairmen and give them firm instructions, because the bulk stops on his table”.
Also speaking on the attack at Igbo-Ethe, the House of Assembly candidate of Accord in Etche Constituency 2, Mr. Chioma Choko said the hoodlums that shot at them and beat up people was led by the Revenue Committee Chairman of Etche LGA, Mr. Agbagbuo Teslin and Mr. Frank Nwaigwe.
“My name is Chioma Choko, I am the Accord Assembly candidate for Etche constituency 2.
“What actually happened was that we set out to carry out our campaign at Igbo-Etche, only for us to notice the presence of unknown party members, persons who were allegedly led by the Revenue Chairman of Etche Local Government Area, one Hon. Agbagbuo Teslin and Frank Nwaigwe.
“I met with these persons as a matter of fact because I know them too well. They came for purpose which was a purpose of destroying the entirety of our target today, and they succeeded.
“They shot sporadically, shot some persons, gave thorough beatings to some of our party members and destroyed the entirety of our stage”.(sic).
Recall, that the Dumo Lulu-Briggs Campaign was recently stopped from entering the market in Bonny by the Chairperson of the Council.
At time of filling this report,the Rivers Police Command had not reacted to incident.
Dumo Lulu-Briggs Reaction:
I Love Etche, And I am committed to creating the prosperity it deserves.
Today was mixed blessings for me. I call it mixed blessing because I know that all that is done to truncate the we agenda, is working in our favour. Today suspected members of the opposition tried to disrupt our campaign train, and today in the same Etche, we had the most resounding welcome. The will of the people cannot be broken by thuggery; eventually the oppressed will speak up and the people will vote their own leader, not someone forced on them.
Our roadshow through Etche was disrupted by some hoodlums, there were gunshots, bottles and rocks were hurled at my car and others in my convoy. An APC group that had already been attacked just two poles ahead of my campaign train, confirmed the group as suspected PDP thugs. About two people had been injured from their team, and I saw a situation that could have escalated to a blood bath and so I advised my team not to shoot as we turned around and redirected our campaign train.
I wasn’t really concerned with threat on my life, instead my heart was broken for the youths of Rivers State. How can we have youths who would rather mortgage their future just to be tools by people who do not care about their lives. I saw young people risking their lives simply because they have been nudged to do so, a people conditioned by poverty, one that have been exploited for gain by those who rather employ thugs to disrupt campaigns than play fair in the coming elections.
I called the Commisioner of Police several times as the attack was going on to no avail, and I also left him a message. We have the legal rights to campaign in our state without any form of harassments by political thugs.Rivers State belongs to us all, and we have the right to speak to our people and demand their support and votes, thus, no part of the state is the exclusive sovereign of the ruling party.
I have proof of this position as my campaign roadshow has driven through several communities in our dear state, and I have confirmed that people would rather fall over themselves to get an Accord face-cap, than take money from anybody. When people get out of their vehicles, both drivers and passengers all chasing the campaign train just to get a face-cap, that there is proof of a people who want to identify with you.
What we saw those thugs do at Igbo-Etche doesn’t deter me, instead it fuels me up the more. Those boys would certainly choose a life scenario where they own their businesses and are wealthy if they had the chance to, but it is sad that they have not been given enough legal avenues to prosper. However what I saw at Ndashi gave me even more gusto to run the race to take the Brickhouse this year.
I was comforted by a nine-year old’s show of courage and intelligence. When I heard him speak so fluently and with dexterous command of the English language, I saw the future of the people of Etche captured in the destiny of the young boy. I had to make him a scholarship commitment to any level of study because he could be the next governor or president of Nigeria, and the more opportunities he is afforded, the more the possibilities.
Any path the DLB Guber campaign train takes, the people run out with so much joy. Etche poured out their love on me today.
Thank you Etche, and all I have is Love for Etche, and this I have shown over the years.
This time ETCHE, Stand with Me and I will surely do more.