Engineer Ini Ekong Udonwa, a People’s Democratic Party governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom State is battling to stay alive after he was attacked in his home by suspected assassins.

He was seriously wounded by unidentified gunmen who attempted to assassinate him right in his home along Udoette Street, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

He may be flown abroad for further treatment due to his critical condition.

A source close to the governorship aspirant said Udonwa and his campaign team went on a political campaign visit and on their way back, the car in which he was travelling had a mechanical fault.

He was said to have joined his brother in his own car to make it to Uyo. When they got to the gate of his house, he dropped off and went to open the gate.

“As he was about to open the gate, someone emerged from the dark and pointed a gun at him and he pleaded with the gunman not to kill him but take whatever he wanted,” the source told P.M.NEWS.

Engr. Udonwa was said to have again pleaded with his assailants to spare his life.One of the assailants was said to have asked him: “you think you will come from nowhere to take power here?” our source said, adding that the attackers started shooting.

At that point, Udonwa was said to have jumped at the one with the gun and both fell to the ground. Determined to stay alive, the Singapore-based businessman turned politician was said to have quickly got up and made a dash to safety in a nearby compound.

“As he ran, the attackers continued to shoot at him, but he continued running until he ran into a nearby compound where he jumped into a pit. After frantically searching for him, the attackers went back and abducted his mother and zoomed off in a Mercedes Benz 190,” said the source.

A political ally of the aspirant, who pleaded for anonymity,said the attack was not a kidnapping operation, but an attempted assassination. He said that the abductors had taken over the entire compound for over an hour in wait for Udonwa.

He reasoned that if they had come to kidnap his mother, they would have done that effortlessly and left before his arrival.

He added that rather than kidnap the mother, the assailants held her hostage in the house as well as other occupants of the house, while waiting for their real victim.

Udonwa’s associate expressed sadness about the incident and said it was a bad signal about what the 2011 election was going to look in the state.

In a telephone interview, the Chairman of Engr. Ini Ekong Udonwa Campaign Organisation, Hon Michael Okpo Onofiok, expressed deep concern about the condition of the aspirant.

He said that his organisation was right now more concerned with saving the life of Udonwa than anything else, adding that the campaign organisation would articulate its position as soon as the aspirant’s health becomes stable.

A source at the hospital where he was rushed to said the governorship hopeful was brought in unconscious, having lost so much blood.  He said that doctors were battling to save his life and make him stable enough before being taken abroad for further treatment.

—Emma Una/ Calabar