With tears in my eyes, I make the declaration below on behalf of the Chief Chukwu Family of Amurri Town in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State on the assassination on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, of our illustrious son, Chief Oyibo Victor Chukwu, at Amechi, Uwani, in Enugu South Local Government Area, while returning from a meeting with family members on the senatorial election in Enugu East in which he was contesting as the Labour Party candidate. Our harmless son was not only assassinated, his remains were burnt, together with his vehicle. His most reliable personal assistant, Mr Sunday Igwesi, was also killed and incinerated in the same manner.
Never in the political history of Enugu State has sacrilege of this magnitude occurred. The level of hate and intolerance that could lead a person to plan and execute this kind of action against innocent persons whose only offence was that they chose to exercise their God-given right of participation in the nation’s electoral process is unimaginable.
Based on credible intelligence, our worthy son had confided in a couple of persons that he was being trailed by members of the Ebeano political group in Enugu State. In fact, in the morning of Wednesday, February 22, 2022, the very day he was killed in the most cowardly manner, he told some persons that he was going to write a petition to the security and intelligence agencies in Enugu State on the plans to eliminate him, so that they could investigate the persons involved and nip their evil plans in the bud.
Chief Oyibo Chukwu became an assassination target because of the stupendous popularity of the Labour Party in Enugu State in particular and the rest of the country in general, as well as his stellar credentials. Apart from being a political veteran on the national stage, our son, a senior lawyer, led the Nigerian Bar Association in Oji River, Enugu, in its most glorious days. His professional colleagues can always testify to his courage, wisdom, tenacity, vision, uncanny organizational skills, and other outstanding leadership attributes. He was coasting home to victory by the time assassins stopped him. It was not just Chief Chukwu they stopped, but the entire Enugu East Senatorial Zone whose people have for several years been yearning for effective representation in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, by extension, for good governance.
We find it curious that more than one week after Chief Chukwu, the Owelle of Amurri, former national auditor of the defunct Social Democratic Party in the Third Republic and former secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Enugu State, was murdered in the most brutal way, the Enugu State Government has not deemed it important to condemn the killing or that of his personal assistant, nor has any of its officials visited the Chukwu family living in Enugu City. Yet, His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State claims that his greatest legacy since his assumption of office almost eight years ago is an atmosphere of peace. We are unable to see how the killing of a foremost lawyer and politician and his worthy PA, which has attracted national and international headlines, is of no importance to the PDP government of The Right Honorable Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. We are convinced that the founding fathers of Enugu State never imagined that politics in our dear state would someday be taken to a level where the lives of the citizens could no longer be considered sacred. Enugu people had presumed that the politics of violence ended 16 years ago. They rejoiced too soon.
Not even the unequivocal condemnation by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, of Chief Chukwu’s killing has moved the outgoing Enugu State administration to issue a statement on our son’s assassination, more than one week after the atrocity was committed. President Buhari not only condemned the assassination in the strongest terms possible but also directed the security agencies to fish out the cowards who killed him. Still, Governor Ugwuanyi wears the beautiful toga of the chief security officer of our dear Enugu State.
Our assurance to the people of the Enugu East Senatorial Zone and the rest of the State is that the blood of our great son would not be shed in vain. We urge the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Security to fish out those who planned the assassinations and those who carried them out, as well as their collaborators. They must account for their actions both in this life and in the life to come.
We commend Nigerians at home and abroad for their condolences, solidarity and prayers. They are too numerous to mention. But we would like to acknowledge here the peculiar roles of President Muhammadu Buhari; the Labour Party presidential candidate, His Excellency, Mr Peter Gregory Obi; the National Chairman of our reform-minded party, Barrister Julius Abure; the Enugu State Labour Party gubernatorial candidate, The Honorable Barrister Chijioke Edeoga; the Nigerian Bar Association; the Enugu State branch of the Labour Party; the leadership of the Nigeria Police Command in Enugu State and other security and intelligence agencies; different nongovernmental organisations and, of course, the press for being alive to their responsibilities in these times. These are times that try men’s souls.
Professor Arthur Chukwu is head, Department of Professional Ethics and Skills, Nigerian Law School, Yola Campus, Adamawa State.