There was exchange of blows between over 500 supporters of Orji Uzor Kalu and police officers on Friday.
The incident occurred during the South-East PDP rally held at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, in Enugu. The rally was tagged “Unity Rally.”
Kalu is a former governor of Abia State and his return to the PDP has remained contentious.
The fight started when the police refused the former governor’s supporters from gaining entry into the stadium.
Kalu’s supporters were tagged supporters of the All Progressives Congress by security agents and therefore, they stopped them from gaining entry into the venue of the PDP rally.
A fight also ensued between police officers and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps when it appeared that the latter were taking sides with Kalu’s supporters.
Members of other security agencies, like the Army and Federal Road Safety Corps, intervened to prevent the police and NSCDC fight from escalating.
Kalu’s supporters left the scene after soldiers joined the police officers to resist their entry into the venue of the rally.
They returned two hours later, after they had pulled off their green branded t-shirts that bore the name of their principal – Orji Uzor Kalu. This time now, the police officers, fewer in number, couldn’t recognise them.
Two police officers told our correspondent that they were only acting on orders from the current Abia State Governor, Mr. Theodore Orji, not to allow Kalu’s boys into the venue.
They spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“We were also given orders by some unknown persons not to allow supporters of Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani into the place should they come close,” said one of the police officers.
The current Abia State governor was Chief of Staff to Kalu when he was governor, but the two fell apart shortly after the former took over as governor. Since then, the successor has always battled his predecessor for supremacy in the state.
More so, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State was commissioner for Justice when Dr. Nnamani was governor, but the two also went their separate ways months after Chime was sworn in.
Despite Nnamani’s recent return to the PDP, Chime’s camp has repeatedly disputed that.
Meanwhile, the hostility between Chime and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, continued at the rally. Chime failed to recognise Ekweremadu while observing the protocols that preceded his speech.
The Punch recalls that a day before the rally, some armed men were said to have invaded the Enugu residence of former PDP Chairman in Udi local government area of the state, Mr. Uche Ogbodo.
The armed men took away both the PDP bus in his custody and his private car.
Sources close to the former chairman and known supporters of Ekweremadu said the incident took place shortly after he (Ogbodo) came back from the court.
They stated that the hoodlums, about 10 in number, gained entry into the compound and made frantic efforts to enter the residence but were hindered by the iron grids on the door.
Despite the positive sentiments expressed by various speakers at the ‘Unity Rally’ on Friday concerning the harmony and cohesion of PDP in the South-East, the examples above and more are indications that the party may witness an orgy of violence during its primary elections. Punch