The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused Anambra State governor Mr Peter Obi of being responsible for the stampede at a vigil in Uke, a town in the state, that left over 30 people dead, by turning a house of prayer into a house of politics
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party argued that had Governor Obi and the unpopular candidate he is seeking to impose on the people of the state, Willie Obiano, not gone to the praying ground to engage in politicking, the innocent souls who died at the vigil would be alive today.
It said while there is nothing wrong in a state governor going to a vigil, such visit should not be impromptu in order for the organizers to make the necessary security arrangements, just as it should also not be a licence to engage in political campaign.
APC condemned the plan by Obi to set up a panel to investigate the stampede, considering that the governor himself is at the centre of the whole tragedy.
"Setting up a panel to investigate the cause of the stampede will amount to seeking to be a judge in your own case. The only cause of the stampede is the governor's ill-advised visit to the vigil. Information at our disposal has it that the stampede was triggered by the governor's overzealous security details who manhandled congregants as their principal was exiting the venue of the vigil. The security details were said to have been irked by the murmurs of disapproval that greeted the governor's attempt to campaign for his candidate, Mr. Obiano.
False alarm, cause of stampede -Archbishop
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Diocese, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, has attributed the stampede at Holy Ghost Adoration Centre, Uke, Idemili South Local Council Area of Anambra, to a false alarm.
Okeke said at a news conference yesterday that the unfortunate incident was not caused by sabotage and that that the church was not suspecting any sabotage.
Obi declares 3 days of mourning in Anambra
Also, Governor Obi has declared a three-day period mourning in honour of the people killed in the stampede at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ground.
Obi in a broadcast to the people of the state commiserated with the bereaved families and the Catholic Church over the tragedy.
He said he was invited to the vigil, made a speech at about midnight and left at 3a.m, three hours before the stampede occurred.
"I appeal to the good people of the state to remain calm and prayerful as God who has been with us all this while, will help us to overcome the present sad development so that we can continue the task of turning around our state.
"I have directed all security agencies to do everything possible to unearth the cause of this mayhem.
"A panel of enquiry will soon be constituted to investigate what happened," Obi said.