“He should know that this fight against Alex, if care is not taken, could affect the long existing relationship between the Agbo Itigidi and the Agbo Ekureku people because no right thinking Ekureku man will be happy to see that the only Ekureku son that is pushed forward for the progress of the community is being dragged down or maltreated by his own brother from Itigidi and such person will be happy.”
All is not well between Dr Alex Egbona, the man representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and a former governor of the state, Senator Liyel Imoke. Last week, Egbona raised the alarm that Imoke was after his life and his seat in the lower chamber of the National Assembly. A few days after, some traditional rulers from Ekureku, Abi Local Government, have risen in unison to warn Imoke to leave their son alone. ROSE IDO spoke with some of them in separate interviews.
Chief Demien Egbata
How did you feel after the news of Alex Egbona’s victory at the last election?
I was very happy. We were so excited because Alex Egbona is a man that has no boundaries in terms of giving. So, when we received the news of his victory, we were so happy. In fact, the whole community jubilated because he is our man.
So now that the election has been nullified, what does it mean to the people of Ekureku?
We were all paralyzed when the news got to us, that we even retired to bed early than our sleeping hour because the news was shocking to us. Alex Egbona is the mind of the poor, he is a man who is not interested in a person’s background or tribe when it comes to helping and for the judges at the tribunal to have accepted whatever it is to pass that kind of judgement, I must say we are not happy at all.
There have been media reports about attacks on Alex. How are the people of Ekureku taking this?
It is unacceptable to us because really, I saw those soldiers moving along our streets but I didn’t know their mind but I want to say that this is no longer politics. Politics is a game of chance, you either win or lose; so whoever has won and the opposition people are not happy, then it is no longer politics. In 2015 that I can remember very well, the PDP said they won against Alex in Labour Party then and we filed a case that was read in favour of them and we stepped down. Now that it is our turn that God has made it in such a way that they couldn’t have frowned about chief’s victory because they know that he deserves it. So, we are not happy about how this is being handled by them and we pray that justice should prevail.
Alex even raised the alarm that his life was in danger and that Senator Liyel was fighting to remove him. Does this worry you and the people of Ekureku?
We are not happy. They want to separate us from the Agbo because the people of Ekureku are too accommodating for this kind of thing to be happening to us in this era that everybody is aware that Alex is a son to Imoke. We are surprised that Imoke can be doing this kind of thing. I am appealing to Liyel that he should leave Alex, he has not done anything bad to him. Even in our community meetings, Egbona will always say Imoke is his boss and even rebuke anyone from saying anything ill about Imoke. So, he should take this into consideration and know that Alex Egbona has no bad feelings against him.
He should know that this fight against Alex if care is not taken could affect the long existing relationship between the Agbo Itigidi and the Agbo Ekureku people because no right thinking Ekureku man will be happy to see that the only Ekureku that is pushed forward for the progress of the community is been dragged down or maltreated by his own brother from Itigidi and such person will be happy.
If you meet Imoke now, what will you tell him?
First of all, I will not be happy with him. I am appealing to him that he should withdraw whatever he plans to do next because Egbona is not having any bad feelings against him. If I am opportune to talk to him face to face, I will tell him enough is enough.
Ekureku-Be clan spokesperson
I was overwhelmed with joy (when the news came that Alex Egbona has won the election) because I know actually that Alex is the real deal and that his victory means a new dawn and shows God is fully interested in the affairs of the people of Ekureku, since we have been crying and praying to God to send us a redeemer. So, his victory means God actually heard our prayers.
When the tribunal judgement got to us, we were shocked to our marrows because that’s a harsh blow to us. But we know that what God has done for us, no man can change it and that what is happening right now is not the will of God because Egbona’s victory is on record that we know that by the election procedures, everything went smoothly. So, for us to hear that tribunal judgement on irregularities and him not being a candidate of his party was a sad tale to us. But in all we know the final judgement is in God’s hand.
We heard about the attack and we know that it is not an easy thing and that if this is about the election matter, it shouldn’t have come to the extent of attack or maybe threat to life. But this I see as a sign that something is about to happen; that there is somebody that wants to take this thing the other way round. But we are a peace loving people and the need for chief to be there is equally for peace.
The people of Ekureku are worried because we know that Liyel Imoke from Itigidi is our brother and there is a bonding relationship that exists between chief and Imoke who have worked hand in hand. So for this to be coming from Imoke is really not what we expected of him because whatever must have caused Imoke to have a second thought about Alex who has been there for him through thick and thin is really sad that we the Agbo Ekureku people are not comfortable with such kind of development.
My advice to Imoke will be that he should trace back the peaceful relationship that existed between his father and the Ekureku people and he should also not forget that we were there for him too. So, one good turn to this effect deserves another. He should consider the kindness of the Ekureku people towards him and consider what chief has done for him in order not to cause a rancour.
HRH Eval Martin Bassey of Akarafor Clan
I was so excited about Chief’s victory at the polls because Chief Alex is a seasoned politician. But when the news got to us from the tribunal, we were so displeased and we said he should appeal.
We are not comfortable because that is not the way politics should be played. Anyone who is aggrieved should go to court and not fight or attack the opponent, this is very sad and the entire Ekureku people are not happy.
We are not happy and we are worried because he cannot attack somebody who has served him meritoriously and if he decides to toe a different path, you don’t need to attack or threaten him.
We are convinced that he will retrieve his mandate in appeal court because the tribunal judgement has no weight since their claim is that he is not a candidate of APC and the INEC that is the umpire in this case is saying he is. So, we are not moved at all.
If I see Imoke I will tell him to play this whole thing cool as an elder statesman; that we are his brother so he should let an Ekureku son grow too. I will talk to him in a manner that he will understand that what he is doing is affecting us and we are not happy because tomorrow if an Itigidi man runs for election and the Ekureku people refuse to support him it will not be good.
HRH Eval Fidelis Abey of Anong Clan
We were very happy to hear that Egbona our son is the winner of the election. But now, we are not happy that he lost at the tribunal. We are not happy and we pray that God should give him victory in Appeal court.
We are not happy because the entire people of Ekureku love him, except very few people who do not understand what his victory means to the land and people of this village that may be celebrating this recent happening to him.
Imoke is our brother but we are surprised about what the offense of Alex Egbona is to him that is making him hate him, that we actually are not happy about what is presently happening at all so we are very worried.
HRH Eval Emmanuel Ezeke clan head of Agbara
That day was a day of joy to our people because Alex is the first Ekureku man that is getting to such federal position in our land and it is a memorable event to us.
It is very annoying because Imoke that we heard is fighting our son’s victory. We haye worked for him, courtesy of the same Alex that he is today fighting against and we even worked for his late father. But it is surprising that Imoke can forget all our sufferings and still threaten our son to the extent of making the court to retrieve his mandate . I am feeling like this because it is obvious that Imoke does not want the name of Ekureku to be heard outside too.
We are pained because if the Ekureku people should want to follow the way Egbona is being treated, then this whole thing will result in war but we are law abiding citizens and we believe that the security agencies will do their job to take away this intimidation.
This is very annoying that this conduct is taking place now that it is the turn of the Ekureku man to be supported from his brothers from other Agbo communities. If I see Imoke now, I will not fail to express my anger towards him.
HRH Eval Pius Nkanu of Ngarabe Clan.
We are angry with those that even took him to the court in the first place because the election that saw him into that position was a free and fair election.
We don’t feel fine at all. We know that this intimidation is another attempt to betray him like they did in 2015 and we are not happy about this.
We don’t feel fine. Egbona has been helping Imoke, mostly during his tenure in office as the governor of this state then. Now that it is his turn, Imoke is showing that he is not happy for Alex Egbona to get into such a position.
Imoke cannot come freely into Ekureku like that because he has lost the mouth to say anything to us as it stands because to us, he is an enemy.