…Party Says Abduction is Political, Confirms He’s Alive
By Ikeugonna Eleke
One week to the Anambra State governorship election, as at the time of filing this report, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Obiora Agbasimalo, is still in the den of his abductors.
Agbasimalo, a former banker before he resigned to run for the governorship seat of Anambra State had in late August flagged off his governorship campaign in Onitsha, with a huge attendance which surprised many that saw him as an underdog.
He was however kidnapped on September 18 on his way from Ezinifite, Nnewi South Local Government Area, to Azia in Ihiala Local Government Area in continuation of his campaign.
Briefing journalists, Tuesday in Awka, the National Organizing Secretary of Labour Party, Mr Clement Ojukwu, and a member of the Labour Party Campaign Council, Mr Stanley Okoli, said the abduction of their candidate had political undertones and is not unconnected with his popularity and chances in the forthcoming election.
Ojukwu said, ‘Our candidate has not appeared since he was abducted on 18th September, 2021. He was abducted alongside his security on his way from Ezinifite to Azia in Ihiala where he was going for campaign. He was also kidnapped alongside his security aide.
‘Since after his abduction, he has not appeared anywhere and his abductors have always spoken to us to assure us that he is alive and we believe he will be out soon.’
Asked what the kidnappers were demanding and if money was a hindrance to his release, Ojukwu said, ‘What we discuss with them and what they tell us is like what a man and a woman discuss in the bedroom because it is secret. We always discuss with them to ensure our candidate is alive, and they let us speak with him.
‘His abduction is political. He was in the banking sector and no one ever thought of abducting him, but since he started vying for the governorship seat of Anambra, they now targeted and abducted him. He is very popular and his chances are very clear, so his opponents are not happy.’
On whether he could win the election even in captivity, Ojukwu said it was not the first time such would happening as people had been in prison and won election.
‘You remember Omisore; you remember T.A. Orji? We believe that he will win the election. We do not need sympathy vote to be able to win the election. He is popular and deserves to win. Besides, he is not the only one abducted; his security too, and the police force headquarters and the DSS are on it, and we believe he will be out soon,’ he said.
The party also denied media reports that the party had concluded arrangements to collapse its structure into that of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), with the intention to adopt Mr Valentine Ozigbo as its candidate for the election.
They insisted that their candidate’s popularity was making the opposition jittery because of the massive following Agfbasimelo had garnered, which, he said, triggered the rumours.
They said the name of the Labour Party candidate was with INEC and urged journalists to visit their portal to check it.
‘Agabasimalo and Ozigbo are vying for same seat and never met one on one or brokered any agreement for one to step down for the other. They are all rumours targeted at reducing our candidate’s popularity,’ Ojukwu said.