The Senator representing Cross River South, Gershom Bassey, who escaped by whiskers a violent attacked on him by irate youths during the Peoples Democratic (PDP) senatorial primaries last week, has accused former PDP Chairman, Ntufam Ekpo Okon, of attempting to assassinate him.
Bassey,who called on the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP to punish Okon for extreme violent behaviour, spoke with reporters at the weekend in Calabar.
Recall that on Wednesday, youths suspected to be loyal to Okon had attacked Bassey and damaged his car immediately he stepped out of Transcorp hotel, Calabar, where he had a prolonged meeting with Okon, members of the election committee, security agents and few others to resolve controversial issues surrounding the senatorial primaries.
Commenting on the incident, Bassey said after the attack he sustained some injury trying to dodge stones aimed through the shattered windscreen of his Prado Jeep.
“No matter what, I did not expect Ekpo to do what he did on that day. They even beat members of the panel. You know he beat my driver. No matter what politics or the reasons are, I did not expect Ekpo to resort to violence. The reason why we went to Transcorp hotel was to resolve issues and they were resolved.
“So there was no cause for alarm. All the issues of hijack of materials had been resolved. I did not hijack anything. It was Ekpo people that beat up one of the panel members that carried materials and they extracted materials from him. Later on a few materials were recovered in their room and brought. The panel member’s phone and other things were stolen. We had resolved it and there were two options, to use the house of Rep materials or we wait till next week when there will print fresh materials from Abuja.
“The police and others were there and we agreed and left only to be coming out of the meeting I was attacked. When I was going for the meeting people were cheering me but coming out the crowd had become a violent crowd”.
On allegation that he threw punches at Okon during the meeting, Bassey said, “There was no such thing, I did not throw punches at him but we had a heated exchange of words but there were no punches. Even if that happened, is that the reason why he should go and mobilize boys to attack me. What kind of nonsense is that? There were about 10 heavy policemen in the room when we were having the meeting, so there was no where we could have fought.
In his response, Ntufam Okon, denied that his supporters attacked Sen Bassey, explaining, “We were holding meeting with the chairman of the Primary Election Committee, Col. Ahmed Usman, in his hotel room when Gershom Bassey entered and started attacking me. The O.C. SARS was there as well as the Area Commander and the DPO State Housing.
“I was still with the chairman when he went out and I later learnt he was attacked for conniving with a member of the committee to hijack materials meant for the primaries. That was why the primary election did not hold”.
Okon wandered how Gershom would have been attacked to the extent of being injured when he had heavy security operatives around him and described the allegation that his supporters attacked Gershom Bassey as false.