Mr. David Ochonogor
Hon Alphonsus Ojo, Member Representing Ukwuani LGA at the DTHA
Mr. David Ochonogor a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in Ukuwani LGA, Delta State, who was on the 11th April, 2015 beaten up by men of the Nigeria Army attached to the Platform Petroleum Limited, Umutu, on the Election Day at ward 1, unit 004 Umutu narrated his ordeal to Ndokwa Reporters a day after the incident.
In this feature, the victim of the 2015 election violence as carried out by a constituted authority, Mr Ochonogor gave a graphic narration on how at various stage he came to be beaten up by men of the Nigerian Army as directed by a member of the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also a candidate in the election.
How it started
Mr David Ochonogor with Head Wounds from the beaten
According to Mr. David Ochonogor he was Supervisory Agent for the party in ward 1, he got to the unit 004, Umutu, where he registered to do his accreditation, but was surprised to discover the ballot box was at 10:30am filled with ballot papers and when he asked, the electoral officer told him that they were carrying out both accreditation and voting at the same time, which was against the INEC directive.
According to Mr. Ochonogor after his interaction with the Presiding officer, who told him that the supervisor gave the order to do so and that the party agents allowed it, he stated that on hearing this from the Presiding Officer, he informed him that a process and procedure was specified by the law, and this is supposed to be followed.
And the procedure stated by the law, is that accreditation should start by 8am to end by 1pm. And this must be followed and this is to be followed as from 1pm for voting to commence. The implication of this is that any voting before this time is void. “I tried to prove my point to the Presiding Officer, while the already casted votes will not count”. He said.
According to him, the Presiding Officer requested from him on what should be done, off which he told them the “accreditation should continue, but the already casted votes should be voided”, but the officer refused, because the agents of the various political parties agreed to the procedure, then he put it to the lady, so if I “ask for the ballot papers to go to my house to thump print will you give”, and the lady answer was in the negative, it is not the procedure, and ended by stating “ don’t rubbish what I am doing, for I feel it is convenient for your people”.
Hon Ochor Chris Ochor Intervention
Mr. David Ochonogor told the Ndokwa Reporters, that the unit in question was the unit where the notable numbers of the People Democratic Party,(PDP) were registered, which includes Hon Ochor Chris Ochor, the immediate transition Chairman of the Ukwuani LGA, the present member representing Ukwuani at the Delta State House of Assembly. Hon Alphonsus ojo, the present PDP LGA Chairman, Deacon Monday Ossai.
According to Mr. Ochonogor, the former Transition Chairman, Hon Ochor, and one formal councillor, Hon A.U Nwachukwu, called him, and stated that “yes that what was happening is not this procedure, but for the sake of peace let the process continue”. According to him, he then asked the duo, while talk of peace, if anyone is quarrelling, and which they told him, that they are telling him, because they may not have the patience not to apply force, to ensure that his intervention will not disrupt their activities at the polling unit because the PDP candidate is from Umutu, and he must be assisted by every means to win, which he refused.
The Arrival of Thugs
To buttress their threat, according to him, not quite long, some youths who are well known to him, in midst of some foreign faces arrived the venue chanting “Anybody way do anyhow, go see any how”, but when the group saw that the people were ready to defend their position they dispersed.
The Umutu Police Involvement
Mr. David Ochonogor also said that as the political thugs where living, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Umutu police station arrived the venue with some of his men, who ordered his men to ensure that everyone is quite, which he thanked him, then explained to the DPO of the present situation of things in the unit, but rather, the DPO told him that his protest is not right, because what he is protesting against is the reason the North has more votes than the south.
According to him, the DPO and his men only came to the unit to ensure that the people are law abiding, and told him, that on his complain, “He (the DPO) is helpless, and they left.
The Coming of Hon. Ojo and the Nigeria Army
Narrating further, Mr. Ochonogor, said after a while, the member representing Ukwuani constituency at the state House of Assembly, and the candidate for the April 11, 2105 election came with his security and some Nigerian Soldier attached to Platform Petroleum Limited (PPL), Umutu led by one H. Amed.
According to him, the leader of the soldiers called him, to advice him as a friend to stop obstructing what was happening, because he had been receiving calls from the top complaining over his actions at the polling unit, and he should had called him, which he replied to him, “That he is not aware that military men are attached to polling units” he then pleaded, with him to tell the electoral officers to do the right things”.
But, rather than help to reduce the already bad situation, the officer became angry with him, and told him that it was not his duty to do that and he reminded the officer of his statement, that “for the interest of Peace I should stop” while not talk to them, so that there will be Peace, he replied. This infuriated the officer who ordered him to leave the unit, but he refused, because according to him, the unit is where he will vote.
But his last statement did not go down well with the leader of the security team, at this stage, because of his refusal, they tried to take him away, which he resisted, and according to him, some of the people at the venue protested his harassment, these made them, including Hon Ojo to drive out of the Venue.
The Real Attack
Mr. Ochonogor, continuing, said that moving out of the Venue was not the end, as the military men came back with re- enforcement after about 15minutes, as they tried to revive his junior sister, an asthmatic patient, who was present during the encounter with the security men, feinted, the men in uniform descended on the people, chasing them away from the polling units and descended on him with all manner of beating, with belts, gun butts and booths, with order from the leader, “Kill him and put but his dead body in the van, nothing will happen.
And as the beaten continued, at a point he could no longer see, as he was equally been dragged on the ground with his clothes turn, until he could no longer sense the beaten, but he could still hear, and the people came back demanding that they all should be killed.
Umutu Women to the Rescue
As the beaten continued, and the people now reacting that they all should be killed, Mr. Ochonogor said the women took the bold step and fell on his lifeless body, to prevent the further beaten, the action of the women them made the men to retreat, thinking that he was dead,
After the departure of the military men, he was rushed to a private hospital where he was revived, and was referred to the government hospital, Obiaruku for further treatment.
To balance our story, we tried getting to the main actor, Hon Alphonsus Ojo through phone call and sms, to explain his version but there was no reply.
However, the former Transition Chairman of the LGA, Hon Ochor Ochor who was at the venue told Ndokwa Reporters when contact that at the earlier stage, he advised Mr Ochonogor who according to him came to the venue with about 18 boys to take the boys away before they cause problem in the unit, which was relatively peaceful. According to him, he made the statement in the presence of the people who came to the unit to cast their votes.