The stampede at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, in Idemili North local government area of Anambra State that left at least 30 people dead at the weekend, should be blamed on Governor Peter Obi for turning the house of prayer into a place of politics, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said.
APC had in a statement signed by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Lagos on Sunday, said had the Anambra governor and the unpopular candidate he is seeking to impose on people of the state, Willie Obiano, not gone to the praying ground to engage in wrongful politicking, the innocent souls that died at the vigil would still be alive today.
The party argued that while there is nothing wrong in a state governor attending a vigil, such visits should be communicated to organizers to enable them make proper security arrangements, and it should also not be a license to engage in political campaigns.
APC condemned the plan by Gov. Obi to set up a panel to investigate the stampede, considering the fact that he is integral to the entire tragedy.
“Setting up a panel to investigate the cause of the stampede will amount to seeking to be a judge in your own case. The only cause of the stampede is the Governor’s ill-advised visit to the vigil. Information at our disposal has it that the stampede was triggered by the Governor’s overzealous security details who manhandled congregants as their principal was exiting the venue of the vigil. The security details were said to have been irked by the murmurs of disapproval that greeted the Governor’s attempt to campaign for his candidate, Mr. Obiano.
“It is therefore disingenuous for the Governor’s spin doctors to be shifting the blame on the supporters of our candidate, Senator Chris Ngige. The simple truth is that there would have been no stampede if Gov. Obi had not come to the vigil or, even if he had come, had not attempted to politicize the gathering that was meant strictly for prayers,” APC said.
The party admonished Gov. Obi to take a cue from the disapproval that is trailing his desperate bid to impose a candidate on the state by ending all activities that can endanger the lives of Anambrarians.
“We recall that an angry protest also greeted the attempt by the APGA campaign train, with Obiano in tow, to shut markets in Onitsha last month. The protests effectively short-circuited the APGA campaign. Had the Governor and his entourage learnt their lessons from the Onitsha debacle, they would not have needlessly endangered the lives of the same people whose votes they are desperately but undeservedly seeking,” it said.
APC said Obiano’s candidacy is not worth the blood and tears of the good people of Anambra, hence Gov. Obi should desist from trying to impose an unpopular candidate on the people.
The party prayed God to grant repose to the souls of the departed, just as it wished all those injured in the stampede a speedy recovery and the families of the victims the fortitude to bear their losses.