Who killed Oyibo Chukwu? James Okolie wonders at the motive of those making political capital out of his death

By James Okolie

Wickedness was visited on Enugu State on 22nd February, which happened to be the last day of campaign for many political parties ahead of the 25th February presidential and National Assembly elections. The driver of a branded campaign bus belonging to PDP’s Hon. Ofor Chukwuegbo Campaign Organisation was attacked and burnt along with the bus at Topland area of Amechi Road. The death squad proceeded to the popular Eke Otu Amechi Awkunanaw where they attacked and set ablaze an illustrious son of Nkanu land, and Labour Party senatorial candidate for Enugu East, Barr. Oyibo Chukwu, along with his personal assistant and one other. The death squad equally attacked the convoy of the governorship candidate of the APC at Agbani, but luckily, there was no casualty this time around.

But while we have continued to pray for peaceful repose of Oyibo’s soul and eternal damnation of the perpetrators, the manner some political players in the opposition, and the Labour Party in particular, have now turned Oyibo’s death to campaign manifesto should naturally get some of us thinking: Is there more to Oyibo’s death that meets the eye?

William Shakespeare writes in “Julius Caesar” that “When beggars die, there are no comets seen; (but) The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes”. So, although about five souls were lost, the callous killing of Oyibo Chukwu, the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Enugu East zone, has expectedly been the focus of commentaries. Permutations and conspiracy theories have continued to evolve. While some believe that Oyibo’s tragedy was a happenstance and one of those sad tales of killings by unknown gunmen in Enugu, some also swear by the gods that it was a calculated political assassination.

My take is that whatever the motive, it is a heinous crime that the perpetrators must not go unpunished. Whoever participated in this evil belongs to the hottest part of hell, no man has the right to take another’s life.

But while we have continued to pray for peaceful repose of Oyibo’s soul and eternal damnation of the perpetrators, the manner some political players in the opposition, and the Labour Party in particular, have now turned Oyibo’s death to campaign manifesto should naturally get some of us thinking: Is there more to Oyibo’s death that meets the eye?

Just a few minutes after the dastardly killings of that evening, the Labour Party governorship candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, took to his Facebook page to point accusing fingers and incites the public. But wiser counsels must have prevailed as he quickly deleted the post. Also, when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased, he craftily stoked the same emotional and inciting lines, saying that Oyibo Chukwu was killed “in a manner that recalls the days we thought we had left behind… and thanked Sullivan Chime for putting behind”.

Again, speaking on Thursday 2nd March, Edeoga, rather than calling for the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators to assuage the soul of Oyibo Chukwu, said rather instructively that only total victory for the Labour Party in the 11th March governorship election could soothe Oyibo Chukwu’s spirit.

While addressing his supporters at his Itchi residence, the senator-elect for Enugu North zone, Chief Okey Ezea, did not campaign for Edeoga on any manifesto or programmes. He instead told the people to prepare for the 11th March election as a “do-or-die game” for Nsukka cultural zone to which Edeoga belongs, to retain power and also to avenge the death of Oyibo Chukwu.

In all, there has been deliberate programmes, planned processions, video and audio messages, etc. centred around the Oyibo Chukwu in a clear and desperate bid to sensationalise and make a political capital out of another man’s misfortune. This is why Ndi Enugu must pause and think twice before jumping into conclusions over the real motives and persons behind the Labour candidate’s death.

It was William Shakespeare, who wrote in “Macbeth” that “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face”. Also, the Scriptures in Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know (understand) it?” So, sometimes, even the killers cry more than the bereaved.

History also makes us understand that it’s also an old strategy in the game of power for some stonehearted power mongers to carry out nefarious activities like killing, arson, etc. to turn the heat on their opponents, whip up sentiments, and sometimes find reasons to destroy those they consider as stumbling block to their plot.

On Monday 27th February 1933, exactly four weeks after Adolph Hitler was sworn in as the German Chancellor, the Reichstag (Parliament) building was gutted by fire in an apparent case of arson. Hitler quickly attributed the fire to Communist agitators without allowing any form of investigation and used it as pretext to sell the narrative that Communists were planning against the German government. He manipulated President Paul von Hindenburg to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree, a kind of state of emergency law, which halted civil liberties and empowered Adolph Hitler to pursue a “ruthless confrontation” with the Communists.

Thus began indiscriminate arrests of communists, including their delegates in the German Parliament by the Nazi-controlled police, paralysing communists participation in the 5th March 1933 elections. Van der Lubbe, who was found in the Reichstag during the fire was convicted and executed. But many years later, it came to be known by historians and researchers that the Reichstag arson had been planned and ordered by Hitler’s Nazis as a false flag operation to implicate and get rid of those standing in the way of a fully Nazi Germany. Van der Lubbe was pardoned posthumously under the 1998 law that nullified unjustly passed verdicts. But the harm had already been done. Therefore, Reichstag fire incident is considered very fundamental in the establishment of Nazi Germany, which paved the way for the evil that Adolph Hitler represented to happen not only to Germany, but the entire world.

The death of Oyibo Chukwu is not just any other death. It holds deep and wide ramifications not only for the voting pattern in the 2023 general election, but also for the politics of Enugu and Nkanu land in general. It is also said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, anyone familiar with these implications and the two-family dichotomy in Nkanu land should also know that anybody or candidate or party that stands to gain from the public sentiments and widening of the divides in Nkanu land that Oyibo’s death have occasioned at the verge of a governorship election that Okey Ezea has already declared as a do-or-die fight between Nkanu and Nsukka cultural zones should not be overlooked in the search for the real culprits and motives behind the death. Oftentimes, what eats the leaf lives in the leaf, the reason investigations into murders usually start from in-house. 

Meanwhile, for the people and elders of Amurri in particular, this is the time to utilize their famed potent traditional means of solving crimes and murders to get to the root of Oyibo’s death so that we don’t bark up the wrong trees.

Ndi Nkanu and Ndi Enugu, shine your eyes.

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