Owie Osadebamen, a Nigerian man who happens to be the husband of Elizabeth Osadebamwen, a woman who was shot dead during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections in Edo State, has talked about the sad incident.
In this interview with The PUNCH, he shares his grief with ADEYINKA ADEDIPE.
What is your relationship with the deceased?
My name is Owie Osadebamen. The late Elizabeth Owie Osadebamwen was my wife. We met over 10 years ago when I was working in a bank. She was a customer at that time and was very lively whenever she came into the banking hall. We got talking and started a relationship. We got married on September 14, 2013.
How will you describe her?
She was a family person who placed importance on the family as an institution. She was nice, caring, lively and fun to be with. She always exhibited joy. Before I met her, I thought I was generous, but when I met her, I found out that she was more generous than me. She put people first and she was always available to offer help. She was a perfect mother who was loved by her kids and they are still very wonderful despite the demise of their mother.
Was she politically active or a member of a political party?
She was never involved in politics. However, she decided to vote this time round so that she could be part of the move to bring a positive change to the country. She went to cast her vote for Peter Obi. That was the first time she voted.
Was she a member of the ‘Obidient’ movement?
She was a part of the Obidient movement but she did not belong to any support group that I know of. She was a staunch supporter of Obi.
What made you think she was a strong Obi supporter?
Whenever she met people she used to ask to know who they would vote for. For those who did not support Obi, she used to talk to them at length about the need to support the Labour Party’s candidate. She also encouraged people to get their permanent voter cards and she had to change her polling unit from our previous place of residence to the Ogheghe area just to be able to vote.
Can you recall your last moment with her?
When she woke up that morning, she greeted me, did the household chores and moved to her polling unit to cast her vote. She opted to walk, but after talking to her, she decided to mount a motorcycle to the venue. There was no sign to suggest that it could be the last time I would see her when she left home that morning. It was a normal day and I looked forward to her coming back but unfortunately, she was killed that day.
How did the news of her death get to you?
I actually called her in the afternoon of that fateful day but she didn’t take her call. When she called back, she said she had cast her vote and she would be at home later, but she never came back alive. The news got to me between 7.30pm and 8pm that day. I am sure the incident happened before then.
Who notified you about her death?
Someone called one of my late wife’s adopted daughters, who handed over the phone to me. The person said she heard that the polling unit where my wife cast her vote was invaded by those who killed her.
How did you find her corpse?
When I got there (the polling unit), some people were still around and they showed me where her body was. I believed she was alive, so I took her to two hospitals where she was rejected.
Where was she pronounced dead?
I then took her to the Edo Specialist Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Was she alive when you got to the scene of the incident?
To me, she was still alive and that might be due to the fact that it was difficult to come to terms that she was dead. Even when they pronounced her dead at the specialist hospital, I insisted that she was still alive and that they should do something. But they didn’t because they had confirmed that she was dead.
Did you report the incident to the police and what action have they taken?
Actually, I did not report the case personally, but my family members did at the police station near Christ Embassy on Sapele Road. They were told that the case had been transferred to the force headquarters.
What is the latest about the case?
Well, we all know how cases like this are treated due to their political nature. However, the police said the case was under investigation and that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
How is the family of your late wife taking the news of her death?
Her parents are dead but her uncles, aunts, brother and sister are as sad as I am. Her children have been moody, but they just have to stay strong because of their education and make their late mother proud.
The state government and some leaders of the Labour Party paid condolence visits to you. What kind of support are you getting from them?
The Labour Party has not done anything. I have not heard anything from them. However, I heard that the governor promised to support the family with N2m. And since the governor made the pronouncement, those who initially wanted to help all pulled back. But as we speak now, the government has yet to redeem the pledge.
Has your wife’s death affected what you think about elections in Nigeria and voting as a civic responsibility?
It is a duty the citizens have to perform but they have to be careful because some people go to election venues with a bad agenda. If you know you can’t wait after casting your ballot, you can go home. If you decide to wait for the votes to be counted and there is an outbreak of violence, quickly leave the venue. For me, it will be difficult to take part in any election soon.
Do you suspect anyone or a group of people as perpetrators of the crime?
I don’t know those responsible or suspect anyone or a group of people but hopefully, they will be arrested and brought to justice. I need the support of the public to ensure that the family does not lack support. It’s not going to be easy for me.
Do you intend to take any action to seek justice for her?
We are planning a one-million-man march for her. The plan is on and when it is perfected, we will make it public. We will also use the march to demand justice as many people have been calling me from home and abroad to ask what is being done to arrest the culprits.
When will she be buried?
I intend to bury her remains in one of the properties I acquired. Hopefully, her family from Delta State will show understanding and allow her remains to be buried here (in Edo).
Source: The PUNCH