By Clifford Ndujihe, Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu
The PDP and APC were at each other’s jugular, on Sunday over alleged plots to manipulate the September 19 governorship election through violence.
The APC asked security agencies to halt what it described as PDP’s plans to violently rig the poll. “Our security services must do everything to stop the PDP’s plan to unleash violence, intimidate voters, and buy votes during the election. Come September 19, votes will count and the will of the Edo electorate will prevail”, APC said in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena.
The party noted that the recent communique issued by the PDP Governors’ Forum enjoining the President, INEC and security agencies to ‘play an impartial role’ in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states was deceptive.
“For a party whose stock-in-trade remains cloning of Permanent Voters Cards PVCs, stealing card readers, voter intimidation, thuggery, and vote-buying as witnessed during the 2019 General Elections, the PDP’s call is dubious and a smokescreen for their real and sinister intentions.”
“Again, as chairman of the Edo State PDP governorship Campaign Council, the violence being threatened by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike ahead of the September 19 Edo governorship election are the real issues. Wike has promised to ‘make sure that everything needed is done’ to foist the PDP governorship candidate on the good people of Edo State.
There are already credible reports of Wike’s plan to import thugs from neighbouring states to achieve their rigging plot. We stand with the good people of Edo state in calling on our security services not to allow the PDP and Wike turn Edo State into a killing field,” the APC added.
Countering, Secretary of the PDP Edo Campaign Council and National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said the APC was one plotting violence to suppress the will of Edo people.
“Already, the APC’s plot against the people of Edo has been exposed by their attack at the Oba Palace and the barefaced desecration of the values, which the people of Edo state hold in the highest esteem.
“While we understand that Adams Oshiomhole and the APC candidate, Ize-Iyamu, are distraught because of their rejection by the Edo people, resorting to acts of violence just to embarrass the state and derail the election has worsened their case. We have made our position known and it is left for the security agencies to investigate and bring the perpetrators to book,” he said.
“The PDP won’t join issues with anyone given that Edo is traditionally a PDP state. When Adam Oshiomhole was governor of the state; he credited his achievements to the economic wizardly and managerial efficiency of Godwin Obaseki. If today, he has chosen to jump in the bed with a man he once described in the worst of adjectives, we leave him to have a reckoning with his conscience,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki has warned of stiff penalties against perpetrators of violence ahead of the poll.
Condemning the July 25 display by thugs at the gate of the Palace of the Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin, Obaseki, who spoke to journalists in Benin City, warned that intent on disrupting public peace that he is determined to carry out his primary responsibility of maintaining order and protecting lives and property as the Chief Security Officer of the state.
His words: “With heightened political activities, we are witnessing a very disturbing increase in the incidence of violence, vandalism, and thuggery in the state. The government will not stand idle and watch thugs overrun the state, cause chaos, and go scot-free, without consequences.”
In the same vein, the destruction of billboards and vehicles with insignia of certain political parties will not be taken lightly, as the democratic process would not be undermined with intimidation and violence to cow voters.”
“I want to assure the citizens of Edo State, that the State Government has the capacity to enforce its laws, to maintain order and secure lives and property”, Obaseki added.