Valentine Ozigbo, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election, has suspended his campaign ahead of the November 6 election.
Ozigbo, in a statement issued by Aziza Uko, spokesperson of his campaign organisation, said the decision was taken over the spate of violence in the state.
Anambra has witnessed a series of attacks targeted at innocent civilians, government facilities, including police stations.
A divisional police station in Ajali area of the state was set ablaze in the latest attack which occurred on Thursday, hours after Dr Chike Akuniyi, husband to a former minister, Dora Akunyili, was killed by unknown gunmen.
The PDP governorship candidate described the recent attacks as alarming, and called for urgent efforts to address the menace.
“In the past few days, we have witnessed an alarming escalation of deadly violence in Anambra. We lost an eminent son and several others in what appears to be a renewed violent campaign by bandits,” he said.
“Yesterday, a prominent Nigerian public servant, medical doctor, and a stalwart of PDP, Lawrence Ezenwa, was killed in Nnewi South Local Government Area of the state. Ezenwa, who is from Abia, was visiting his wife’s village, Ukpo in Nnewi South, when he met his demise; his driver was also shot and killed.
“On the same day, a vehicle belonging to a federal lawmaker, Rep. Chris Azubogu, was attacked and his driver killed in cold blood.
“As a leader, I find the latest violence disturbing and condemnable and I call for a stop to all acts of violence, particularly against the innocent.
“Due to this development, and in line with my belief that no life is worth anybody’s ambition, I suspended all my campaign rallies and public appearances scheduled for this week.
“Every life is precious and ought to be protected and preserved.”
He added: “Indeed, all Anambra people and my family are shaken by the unimaginable violence, which took the life of our illustrious son, Akunyili. We mourn his loss and send our deepest sympathies to his children and may the Lord receive the soul of the departed.
“I also extend my condolences to the families of Ezenwa and others, who have met a violent end this week in the hands of gunmen on rampage in Anambra. I believe that an injury to any one of us as Ndi Anambra is an injury to me.
“This is the time for our leaders to stand up and demonstrate leadership we can believe in. Every lawful step must be taken to address the growing incidence of insecurity in Anambra and the South-East.”
Also, Andy Uba, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, has postponed the flag-off rally for his campaign.
The flag-off ceremony was scheduled to hold on Saturday.
Uba, in a statement issued on Friday, said his party will not play politics with people’s lives, and added that the decision was taken to honour those killed in recent attacks across the state.
“Like every other well-meaning member of the public, I have followed with much sadness and grief, the recent, unfortunate and mindless state of violence and insecurity in Anambra state. I have also watched with disdain, obvious breakdown of institutional capacity and inability of the APGA-led state government to address security challenges and prevent the state from further descent into anarchy and chaos,” he said.
“My sincere condolences to all who have lost loved ones in the ongoing politically motivated killings in Anambra state. To Ndi Anambra who are living in fear of their lives and properties as a result of the ongoing mayhem, I bring you a message of hope; hope in God under whose divine protection as Christians we go about our daily activities; hope in our collective capacity and republican nature to resist all forms of evil, even when perpetrated under the watch of highest civil authority in our dear state; and finally, our collective hope on the capacity of our heroes past (our ancestors) to guide and intercede for us before God.
“I, therefore, charge you to go about your normal lawful businesses while keeping vigilant and taking necessary precaution to ensure your lives and properties are not put in harm’s way.
“As a mark of respect and honour for all those who have lost their lives I, in consultation with the leadership of our great party and campaign council, have decided to cancel the campaign flag-off rally scheduled for Saturday, 2nd October, 2021 in Onitsha.
“I, Senator Andy Emmanuel Uba will be the very last person to sacrifice or play politics with the lives of our people. Neither will I allow anybody to do so under my watch. I will ensure, moving forward, that I put everything lawfully at my disposal to ensure these politically-motivated killings are brought to an end to enable the good people of Anambra go about their lawful businesses without fear of any sort.”