NIGERIA: Murder Of Labour Party Candidate, Threat To Democracy ― Party National Chairman

Christopher Elehu

National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) Barr Julius Abure has decried another murder of its party member and former candidate of the Labour Party for the Onuimo Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly.

He said the Murder of the party candidate for the Onuimo Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, Mr Christopher Elehu was a threat to Democracy as it is a reminder of the many assaults on LP members.

He pointed out that about two months ago, a woman leader in Kaduna State was murdered in cold blood and the security agencies are yet to make any arrest or prosecute perpetrators of this heinous crime against the Labour Party and democracy in Nigeria.

Christopher Elehu was murdered at his home by gunmen and his property was razed by the assailants.

In a statement from the party media office, it quoted the chairman of the party as saying that his request for police protection has been largely snubbed even when leaders and candidates of other political parties move around with detachment of police aides and escorts.

The statement further reads in part: “The Labour Party across Nigeria has been thrown into another saddened situation “over the death of another candidate of the party, Christopher Elehu in the hands of gunmen suspected to be hired killers on Friday.

“The late Elehu was the Labour Party (LP) candidate for Onuimo Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly. Apart from killing him, the gunmen also set his country home ablaze and destroyed his property.

According to the statement, Barrister Abure said, “The increased attack on Labour Party members and faithful is now alarming. Just a few weeks ago, our women leader in Kaura, Kaduna State was murdered in cold blood with the husband sustaining injuries and still in the hospital.

About six weeks ago the senatorial candidate of our party in Ebonyi State was kidnapped after police took the responsibility for his arrest. This was after days of his incarceration, he is now released without any charges.

“The billboards of all our candidates across the country are being pulled down and destroyed. There are a series of attacks on the party members and leaders across the country, and the mother of it all is the murder of this candidate in Imo State.

“We are using this opportunity to call on Mr President, security agencies, especially the Police and DSS to protect Labour Party, its leaders and its members.

“Election is not a do-or-die matter. The government must ensure that a level playing field must be created for all political parties, both those in power and those not in power. Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the blessed memory, once said the opposition is the soul of democracy.

“If there is no opposition then, of course, there is no democracy. Therefore government in power must not only protect those in government but also opposition party members.

“As of today, a lot of our candidates have no police protection, even me as the National Chairman, all my application to have police that was approved, yet none has been drafted to me. As the Chairman of one of the most popular political parties, I still do not have security assigned to me.

Our officers are exposed, our members are exposed and with the high level of insecurity now, we have become very vulnerable.

“So we are calling on the President to use his good office as well as security agencies to secure Labour Party, all its candidates, party members and supporters so that we can have a hitch-free election.

“This is important because the series of attacks on the Labour Party members shows that there might never be a hitch-free election. It is a serious threat to democracy.

Abure said “Democracy offers the citizens the opportunity to make choices and vote for candidates of their choice, so when they are been harassed, their leaders being killed, viable contestants being killed, including their supporters, it means that democracy is under threat.

“Those in government swore to uphold the constitution, I, therefore, call on those in government to provide security across, so that our democracy will not be in jeopardy. It would not be in the interest of anyone, particularly those who will be in government tomorrow to allow democracy to be threatened”, he said.

--------------------NIGERIA TRIBUNE