Hopes that Nigeria’s forthcoming 2015 General Elections will be violence-free has suffered a major setback as supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) engaged those of the Labor Party in a bloody clash over rights to hold campaign rallies in Ugono-Orogun Community, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
SaharaReporters gathered that a serving member representing Ughelli North I Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly Mr. Samuel Mariere(PDP) had led his supporters to the community to campaign for reelection when they were allegedly confronted by supporters of Mr. Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta Central Senatorial Candidate on the platform of the Labor Party (LP).
The encounter was said to have degenerated into a pandemonium when gun-wielding supporters of Mariere opened fire on Omo-Agege’s loyalists with one Oke Inana and two others severely wounded. They are said to be on life support machines at the Oghara Teaching Hospital at the time of this report.
A physically challenged indigene of the community, Mr. Julius Oderohwo told SaharaReporters that the violence was premeditated as Mariere came prepared for war in the company of persons he described as ‘armed thugs.’
Oderohwo, who disclosed that he suffered some wounds and trauma also called for the prompt prosecution of Mr. Mariere, a legislator who should obey the law and ought, not to encourage violence in any form. “I will take up the matter, and it will serve as a deterrent to other lawless politicians like Mariere,” he said.
Already the law firm of A.R. Erakpofoke & Co, Oderohwo’s Solicitors, have submitted a petition to the Area Commander of the Ughelli Area Police Command complaining against Mr. Mariere over “alleged murder and thuggery”.
In the petition titled “Acts likely to promote community war, attempted murder and thuggery as displayed by Mr. Samuel Mariere, member representing Ughelli North I in the State House of Assembly”, the complainant alleged that Mariere "Led his campaign train to Ugono-Orogun and when it was obvious that the people of the area did not show any interest in his campaign train, Mariere in total disappointment, ordered his armed political thugs to open fire on a group of spectators who had converged on the town square. The thugs like vexed and wounded lions, did not hesitate to open fire on the unarmed crowd. In the mayhem that ensued, several persons were injured including one Oke Inana and two others who are now lying critically ill at the Oghara teaching hospital.”
Although efforts were made to reach Mariere for reactions to the petition, all calls and SMS sent to his phone number were unanswered but one of his political associates who wanted his identity protected denied the story saying that it was the supporters of the Mr. Ovie Omo-Agege who ambushed the campaign train of Mariere adding they were lucky to have escaped unhurt.
Also reacting to the incident, Mr. Ovie Omo-Agege, who is contesting the Delta Central Senatorial election on the platform of the Labor Party, described Mariere as "a wicked liar, we all know the antecedent of Mariere that he is a violent politician who go about carrying armed thugs up and down. On that particular day of the incident, I was not in town but when I came I was told about the mayhem Mariere unleashed on his constituents. My cousin was among those shot by Mariere thugs and as we talk he is under intensive care, with life support machine. At the appropriate time, Mariere will face the law."