By Douglas Okoro
Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, has decried alleged thuggery, political hooliganism, snatching of ballot boxes in some parts of Ebonyi during the Governorship/State assembly elections in the state.
Onu made the remarks shortly after casting his vote on Saturday in his polling unit at Uburu, Market Square Polling unit 003 at 12:06pm, Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state.
The minister told newsmen that the violence was perpetrated by alleged sponsored political thugs in most voting centres in the area.
He cautioned youths against indulging in acts of election violence, adding that the president’s call to maintain peace and order at elections should be respected.
Onu commended the electorate in the state, especially in his local government area for coming out in their large numbers to exercise their civic responsibility.
“We saw terrible things happening in this area even snatching of ballot boxes, beating of innocent voters by suspected political thugs and things that I don’t even want to say.
‘’We, in APC are not violent and we don’t want to be violent and we want to respect the will and wish of our dear President because if we decide to be violent, there will be crisis.
“We are enduring the violence against our party members and supporters because we believe that what is important is the unity of Nigeria and we believe that mistakes made now will be corrected later.
“You can see our people including elderly women who came out to exercise their civic duty beng whipped and inflicted with heavy injuries and it is good that you are seeing them.
“They don’t even respect elderly people, they don’t even respect women; they get the women, they drag them from the lines, beat them and treat them like animals.
“I was once a governor and I never treated people like this and I will never.’’
The minister said that he had urged party faithful and supporters to remain calm and avoid any form of reprisal attacks.
“I don’t want any bloodshed if they don’t allow you to vote, go back to your houses and stay,” he said.
Sen. Sonni Ogbuoji, the All Progressives Congress (APC), governorship candidate at about 10:50am voted in his Okenkwu polling unit 003, Ebuwana community in Afikpo South Local Government Area.
He however, expressed confidence in the party, adding that it woud win in the Governorship and the State House of Assembly elections in the state.
He called on youths and other electorate to be peaceful and have confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in conducting free, fair, seamless and transparent elections.
Ogbuoji also commended electorate in the area for coming out in large number to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice.
Eni-Uduma Chima, Chairman of the Afikpo South Local Government Area and chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), voted at 11:12 am at Amaogbu polling unit 004, in Ekoli-Edda.
He lauded INEC for the peaceful and transparent conduct of the election and expressed optimism that the peoples’ votes would count in the election.
“The conduct of the election and voting are credible as far as I am concerned and people came out in their large numbers to participate in the exercise.
”Everywhere is peaceful and there is heavy security presence to ensure that people maintain law and order in all polling units with large turnout of voters in all polling units in the area.’’
Chima, however, expressed confidence on the ability of the party to win the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in the state.