The two leading political parties in the run up to the gubernatorial polls in Edo State on Saturday, September 19, 2020, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) have engaged themselves in allegations and counter allegations on harbouring of thugs in readiness for the epoch democratic event.
Firing the first salvo, was the APC which accused the PDP of harbouring thugs inside the state Government House.
“We have it on good authority that within the space of two weeks, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have ferried into the state, busloads of thugs from neighbouring PDP states”, the Edo State APC Media Campaign Council has alleged.
A statement by the APC Media Campaign Council said, “buses loaded with strange faces have been spotted entering Benin city, capital of Edo state. The buses with unidentifiable registration numbers have been increasingly sighted around Ring Road, making their way to the Government House, Benin as well as other major cities in the three senatorial districts of the state.”
APC maintained that “while their mission may not be immediately clear, intelligence report indicated that the manner and consistency of entry, the direction of the buses and the all-male occupants, justify reports that Governor Obaseki is definitely recruiting heavy-chested thugs and on a mission to set Edo State ablaze with violence.
“The buses, Toyota products, have been shipping into town the suspected thugs in droves who, according to credible intelligence gatherings, are now being camped at the Government House for preliminary briefing and training before dispatching them for the election.”
According to the APC: “So far, according to our findings, nearly a thousand thugs are being housed across sections of Government House in Benin, and at designated hotels across the three senatorial districts of Edo state. The only mission they have is to function as disruptive and destructive elements at polling centres during the election. Such a plan and a way to prepare for an election are unbecoming of a state governor. PDP may have a monopoly of violence, they may have such low morality as to do this type of thing, but the best thing for Edo is for all parties is to commit to open, clear, free, fair, transparent and violence free poll come 19 September.
“With the latest move, Obaseki has finally chosen a path of war against those he pledged to govern and declared an aversion for fairness and ethics of electoral duels. While his latest recruitments in a way confirms why his campaigns have become less frequent and more combative, and why contents of his speeches have turned ballistic, it further affirms his dependence on force as a measure of retaining power through the coming poll.
“The APC is hereby placing a shout out to well-meaning individuals in and outside of the state to prevail on governor Obaseki to send his thugs back whence they came, and counsel him out of a preparedness for war on Saturday, September 19. If he (Obaseki) has done well enough, he would not need to recruit thugs, as his programmes and projects would by now be campaigning for him. For refusing the people such projects as would make their lives meaningful, making the roads impassable, schools inhabitable, and gridlocking the hospitals, the only means to win the election is by brute force.
“Obaseki’s direct affront on the legislature and the people of the state, and the direct consequence of such is a denial of an undeserved second term. Why then will Obaseki not prepare to earn people’s rejection for which he has worked whole four years? Why does he want a short cut to electoral success?
“We hereby call on all relevant security agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Department of State Services to help curtail and contain Obaseki’s grand plots for violence and robbery during the coming Edo election.
“While APC will not join Obaseki in violence against the electorate, it shall make every necessary, civil and democratic move to deny him an opportunity for violence and killings during this election. All such moves as will abbreviate the collective wishes and desires of Edo electorate by Obaseki and any individual, within and outside the state shall be nipped in the bud.”
However, refuting the allegation the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Edo State, Chris Nehikhare said: “The accusations is so childish and outlandish that responding to it will be giving attention to the drab campaign been run by APC.
“We have more pressing and important issue to discuss and not the rants of a campaign struggling and grasping for oxygen!”