A SaharaReporters correspondent who witnessed the event reports that trouble started when a group of youths allegedly hired by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his principal secretary, Mr. Hilary Ibegbulem, to protest against Mr. Uduaghan arrived at the Government House gate with placards.
Stern-looking policemen from the Delta State police command on Wednesday averted a bloody clash between pro- and anti-Uduaghan protesters at the Delta State Government House gate, Asaba.
Emmanuel Uduaghan is the immediate past governor of the state.
A SaharaReporters correspondent who witnessed the event reports that trouble started when a group of youths allegedly hired by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his principal secretary, Mr. Hilary Ibegbulem, to protest against Mr. Uduaghan arrived at the Government House gate with placards. Another group of youths, known as "One Belle" and said to be loyal to the former governor, then stormed the scene and disrupted the protest.
As the situation got tense, policemen at the gate were seen telling the leader of the anti-Uduaghan protest, Fejiro Oliver, to leave the scene with his protesters. He refused, and called Mr. Ibegbulem whom he said was aware of their protest and had directed them to match down to the government house gate to register their protest.
Before escaping into the Government House to avoid being lynched by the pro-Uduaghan group, Mr. Oliver said the purpose of their protest against the former governor was to bring him to his knees and get him imprisoned for allegedly looting over N1.4 trillion of state funds. He added that their protest was a continuous one which would be carried out again at the month and would not end until Uduaghan is brought to book.
A member of the anti-Uduaghan group who simply identified himself as Ododo, told SaharaReporters that they came from Ughelli through a mobilizer sponsored by the state government. He thanked God that nothing untoward happened to any of them or even the vehicles they hired to Asaba for the protest.
"It would have been bloody today if not [for] the intervention of the police from headquarters,” he said. “Someone would have lost his life today at that Government House gate. Because what happened today would have brought somebody down and vehicles burnt too. Our protest is simple, and our demand is that Uduaghan must be jailed."
Also speaking to journalists at the scene, a member of the pro-Uduaghan group who identified himself as David said, "We are for Uduaghan, the former governor. During his tenure so many youths were empowered, so many of us were receiving N20,000 to N50,000 a month through the Delta Sughai youth programs. So we can't fold our arms and watch a blackmailer being used by the incumbent governor and his principal secretary to fight against such man because of politics of bitterness and vendetta and 2019 game."
SaharaReporters gathered that shortly after the clash, Mr. Oliver went into a meeting in government house with Mr. Ibegbulem to brief him on what transpired.
Mr. Oliver later told SaharaReporters that the former governor had mobilized thugs to hurt his group, saying they destroyed some of their cars and equipment.