OBUDU : Vena Ikem, Supporters Were Attacked By Political Thugs Not Youth Council

By Inyali Peter

It is almost becoming a tradition for some online platforms in Cross River State to always try to play down any alleged government sponsored attack on opposition members in the state. Some of these platforms always try to make the reactions of suspects more pronounced in their reports than the real incident. This is unethical in Journalism!

News reporting has a universal structure which is referred to as inverted pyramid. This structure guide reporters on how to structure a news starting from the most to the least important.

This is regarded as world best practice because many news readers don't read beyond the headlines and the lead. So it's always advisable that a reporter should structure a news story to capture the most important thing such that readers who don't have the patience to read through an entire news article still get the message.

Regrettably, the way some online platforms have always tried to cover up for government when there's suspicion of any politically motivated attack on opposition has left me discombobulated. It's either they are relegating the real incident to the background to promoting suspects reactions or they are changing the narratives entirely to favour government.

Perhaps, if not for the fact that it's becoming like a tradition I would have accepted the excuse that they are only reporting what they are told. May be their style of reporting or frequency may be obnubilating their intentions after all.

Let me cut the long story shot! The story making the round on social media that the attack on Barr. Venatius Ikem, a Governorship aspirant of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC and his supporters in Obudu, the home local government area of Governor Ben Ayade was by National Youths Council of Nigeria, (NYCN) is a complete falsehood. In fact, the lie was concocted and sold to the reporter who stylishly refused to talk to any APC member from Obudu because only the reporter would have believed such glaring falsehood.

In news writing, one of the primary sources of news report is an eyewitness account. Therefore, as an eyewitness to what transpired, I want to state categorically that what happened in Obudu was purely a political attack on armless opposition and one of its aspirants. It has nothing, whatsoever to do with NYCN.

I'm from Obudu and was a witness to what happened. The attackers are known faces and PDP supporters.

Besides, if they were truly attacking on the basis of NYCN, how come the large group of hoodlums that descended on the APC members were all PDP members and some appointees of Gov Ben Ayade from Obudu? The leader of the thug is a known person in Obudu that his name is synonymous to crime. Why was he not called by the reporter to react instead of the so called NYCN Chairman?

After the first attack that they destroyed all Barr. Ikem's campaign billboards, canopies, speakers, chairs and table for the event, they returned again to attack the APC secretariat. This time, they tried to seize AK47 riffle from Police Officers who were watching them destroy things but doing nothing. But luck ran out of two of the boys who were shot on their legs for attempting to snatch Police riffles. One of them is alleged to be a PDP councillorship aspirant of Ipong, the Governor's ward.

Don't forget, this happened after unknown gunmen shot at a Toyota Picnic which was in Barr Ikem's convoy from Utugwang were he went for consultation. Although no casualty was recorded, the driver narrowly escaped but his passenger's seat window glass was damaged by the shot.

Outside this, many APC supporters were injured. Some sustained injury from matched cuts, bottles, sticks, stones among other weapons used in the attacks.

This is not a second party account! I were there and also escaped the attack.

Those trying to twist facts said that Obudu youths have banned all political activities because of the dust from the road the government damaged in the name of dualization. But they failed to tell us when such decision was reached and how the inability of the state government to complete the road concerns APC. Was it APC that asked the government to spoil the road to that extent?

Was violence the best approach to inform APC that the was an embargo placed on political events? Before even the time of the declaration, the aspirant visited the traditional rulers who gave him the go ahead to hold the event. How then did they take the decision without involving the council of traditional rulers in Obudu?

While I agree that there are many angles to a story, reporting concocted lies has never been an acceptable norm in journalism. In fact, it's what we should discourage therefore, those trying to change the  narrative should try harder because Cross Riverians now know better.

As captured in Nation, Vanguard Daily Post, Fearless Reports and many other news platform, even Journalists were lucky to escape their attack. It's funny, laughable and unfortunate how none of the journalists who are supposed to be colleagues of those twisting facts were contacted to get the full gist before going to press with half truth or complete falsehood.

This is not the first time APC functions have been disrupted in Obudu. When Rt.Hon Paul Adah defected, there was serious tension in Obudu as government tried everything possible to stop the rally. When APC organized award rally last year, the party was denied access to all events halls in Obudu. Even the Civic Centre the party paid for later refunded the money that there was an order from above to deny the party usage of the hall. Dan Koko, APC reps aspirant mounted his posters and equipped the secretariat with WiFi, TV and phone but all were damaged.

Howbeit, the good news is that APC has always overcome them. Rt. Adah succeeded with his large defection rally which attracted members of the National Assembly and today he is a top contestant for the party's governorship ticket. The award rally held successfully and  Barr. Ikem defiled all obstacles yesterday to still declare his intention to contest the 2019 governorship under the platform of APC.

Truth is always truth no matter how hard people try to twist it.
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