Calling him one of the worst dictatorial civilian governors of modern day Nigeria, the governor of Ebonyi State Mr. Dave Umahi has been told to perish his dreams of becoming President of Nigeria or to resign as governor to enable his deputy complete his remaining one year in office.
In a media statement, the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the media Director Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA dismissed the public notice by David Umahi to run for office of president of Nigeria as a pipe dream which must never be allowed to materialize into the worst nightmares for Nigerians because Mr. Umahi is a tyrant who is known not to accept dissenting voices.
“If the bedrocks of democracy are the free exercise of fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution such as the freedom of expression, then unrepentant dictators like David Umahi should not go near the office of president or else the tyrannical regime of Uganda’s dictator Yoweiri Museveni would be a child’s play and Nigeria would return to a primitive era whereby MIGHT BECOMES RIGHT”.
“David Umahi’s legendary intolerance of press freedoms and the freedom of political opponents to go about their legitimate businesses would mean that the oppressive regime of late General Sani Abacha would just be inconsequential compared to what Dave Umahi will do with the presidential powers just as he would collapse Nigeria into a one party state. As President, Umahi will capture or jail his political opponents and will rule as he likes with no accountability or transparency. Nigeria must never be ruled by persons who are worst than the bad President we have had since 2015 for that would lead to disintegration”.
HURIWA recalled that Mr Umahi, in an interview with State House correspondents, said he has told the president about his ambition to contest for the seat if the party zones the ticket to the Southern region.
HURIWA quoted Umahi as saying: “We discussed politics as the growth of our party, APC, in Nigeria, and the South East. And, of course, you know, the interest of the South East, for the seat of presidency in 2023.
HURIWA further quoted Umahi as saying: “And, of course, I told Mr President, that without prejudice to whatever will be the decision of the party, which we shall abide by, that if the party throws the ticket open or zones to Southern part of Nigeria that I believe that with what I have put in place in the past six years plus, that I will be running for presidency on the platform of the APC.
HURIWA which cited media reports, quoted Governor Umahi as affirming that: “So, I told him and of course, he believes that whoever wants to run for president of this country must have to consult widely, go to all the leaders and that we must do everything to remove ethnicity and religion in our politics so that this country can grow,” he said.
The Rights group recalled that like the APC national leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mr Umahi promised to replicate his feats as a governor at the national level if he eventually gets to fly the party ticket and win the presidential election. HURIWA then asked Nigerians to reject Umahi who as governor of the tiny Ebonyi State threatened to deal ruthlessly with two journalists covering the state if they continued to write reports that create ‘panic’ among the people.
HURIWA recalled that Umahi while handing down the warning not long ago Governor Umahi also announced that the two journalists were banned from entering Government House or any government facility in the state. The two journalists are Chijioke Agwu, correspondent of Sun Newspaper in the state and Peter Okutu of Vanguard newspaper.
HURIWA recalled similarly that few Months back, the same Dave Umahi ordered the arrest of Agwu over a report he did on the Lassa Fever outbreak in the state. Three days later, Okutu was arrested on the orders of Ohaukwu Local Government Area Chairman, Clement Odah, over a report he did on the alleged military invasion of Umuogodoakpu-Ngbo community in the council area. The governor said the safety of journalists in the state could no longer be guaranteed by him as the people were angry with them and might begin to unleash mayhem on them if they continued to cause ‘panic’ in the state.
HURIWA quoted Umahi as saying then that: “Ebonyi State is no longer a dumping ground. The other day, Chijioke Agwu wrote that Lassa Fever was killing Ebonyi people in droves and a few days back, Mr Peter Okutu of Vanguard did his own. “Okutu is fond of degrading Ebonyi State, and I don’t know why my officials have allowed him to continue to do that because he is not from Ebonyi State. “I want to ban him for life with Chijioke Agwu. I don’t want to see them anywhere in any government facility. “We are not begging you to give us good report because the only person that gives good or bad report is God. We are all accountable to him. If you think that Ebonyi State is a dumping ground, try it again. If you think you have the pen, we have the ‘koboko’. Let’s leave the court alone. Ebonyi people are very angry with the press and let me warn that I won’t be able to control them or know when they unleash mayhem on you if you continue to write to create panic in the state.”
HURIWA said also that Mr. Charles Otu, an Ebonyi-based reporter was allegedly assaulted inside government house, Abakaliki, capital of the state, over a controversial Facebook post. Otu is said to be publisher of Conscience, a local newspaper, and also a correspondent of Guardian Newspaper. According to a statement on the attack, which happened recently, Otu has used his newspaper and Facebook as avenues to “expose the failures of the Ebonyi state government in many sectors and update activities of the government and to critically analyse and x-ray its programmes and projects”.
It was reported that those who attacked the journalist were said to be working for David Umahi, governor of the state. Emma Anya, spokesman of the governor, could not be reached for comment, as his telephone line was out of reach. Jude Madu, spokesman of the Ebonyi state police command, confirmed the attack to NAN and revealed another journalist was also assaulted. He gave the identity of the other reporters as Samuel Nweze, publisher of the People’s Leader newspaper. Madu said that the police have launched investigation to unravel the motive behind the attacks. “The reports of the attacks on two journalists are before the police and we have launched investigation to unravel the motive behind the attacks and identities of those involved”, Madu said. A source familiar with the attack on Otu gave a blow-by-blow account of the incident in a statement thus: “On the 2nd of June 2017, Charles Otu went to a newspaper stand at the popular Vanco junction, Abakaliki to see some vendors. While there, a bus branded with the name ‘Akubaroha Youth Assembly’ – a youth organisation initiated by the governor allegedly serving as his strong arm – stopped in front of the newsstand and thugs carrying guns jumped out and kidnapped him, but not after he had been beating up in the presence of people as he was struggling to escape,” the statement read. “He was taken to the Ebonyi state government house, Abakaliki where he was forced out of the vehicle and made to lie on the ground. Workers who were leaving their offices as it was already past 4pm, on seeing the state he was in began to scream and the thugs forced them out of the gate and locked up everywhere. “They brought out machetes, rods and sticks and proceeded to beat him up – over twenty of them jostling and shoving to get their turn at him. They accused him of making a post on Facebook two days earlier x-raying the activities of the state government and matching the failure of the government to the inaugural speech made by Governor, Engr. David Umahi the day he was sworn in. The said post had gone very viral and had given the state governor some serious headache as never in the past had anyone ever given such an analysis against the government. Present with the thugs were some senior special advisers to the governor. While the journalist was pleading for his life, they informed him that the instruction was to kill him.”
HURIWA quoted the statement by the eye witness aforementioned as disclosing then that someone reached out to a top government official who contacted the police authorities in the state. It was learnt that the signal was sent to the commissioner of police in Ebonyi. At the time, calls were already coming from all parts of the country, including from the security,”
The statement read: “At the time he was being manhandled and assaulted at the Ebonyi state government house, the news was everywhere on social media. Knowing that they’d been discovered, the thugs got calls from those that sent them not to kill Mr Charles Otu but to get him to write an undertaking that he was going to move away from Ebonyi and that he would never report nor write anything against the state government.
“One of the thugs suggested that since the abduction of the abduction had leaked that it was best to take him to the police and he would sign the undertaking while at the police station.
“They bundled him into their vehicle and ordered the journalist not to raise his head and not to mention any of their names. At the Kpirikpiri Police Station, they informed the police that he saw some people beating the young man up and rescued him. They were working in connivance with the police, so while they were drafting their undertaking, the police asked him to write his statement, but he was too weak to do so.
“While this was ongoing, friends and well-wishers gathered at the police station, demanding his rescue – it was then that the dying journalist vomited blood and water, then passed out.
“Friends who were at the police station snatched him from the police, and put him in a car to be taking to the hospital but the thugs blocked the vehicle, while the police watched without doing anything. It took a great effort before the vehicle carrying the unconscious journalist was able to escape and he was rushed to the emergency unit of the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki.”
HURIWA then categorically asked Nigerians to reject the attempt to return Nigeria to a military dictatorial regime by the backdoor which is what will happen should the All Progressives Congress railroad Mr. DAVE UMAHI to the office of President of Nigeria next year.