The State Media Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress for the Edo State Governorship election has called out the PDP and its candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki, over shootings at the governor’s rally in Igueben, stating that the ugly incident affirms its previous allegation of the governor’s importation of guns and inclusion of buses full of armed thugs in his convoy.
According to multiple reports confirmed by several residents in Igueben and hospital records, chaos broke out on Wednesday, August 19, at the Igueben, around the residence of a PDP Chieftain, Chief Tom Ikimi, when armed thugs escorting the Governor Obaseki’s campaign turned on each other in a wild shooting that sent at least one person to the hospital with a leg riddled by bullets.
While confirming the shooting that left most scampering for safety, eye-witnesses and other sources in Governor Obaseki’s campaign trail said the thugs, sourced from neighboring states and handed deadly firearms secretly purchased by the Governor, had maintained a fractious relationship as some of them reportedly belong to rival cult groups.
Things got to a head on Wednesday when a batch of the thugs, traveling in a separate vehicle on Obaseki’s campaign trail, alleged that his group had greater notoriety for violence.
The claim provoked an angry reaction from the other group and both dueled in a frantic shooting that scared guests at the event, including Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa whose security agents moved quickly to protect him from being caught in the melee.
Reacting to the incident, the APC said their previous alarm on Governor Godwin Obaseki’s importation of guns and other ammunition and the hiring of armed thugs to intimidate and inflict violence on innocent Edo people who express rejection of the candidate on their campaign trail was confirmed by the shooting.
In a statement by Mr. John Mayaki, the Chairman of the Media Campaign Council, the APC said the shooting sent the whole community into a fear-filled silence and quietness, while quoting confidential sources that revealed the armed thugs responsible for the shooting routinely followed the Governor’s convoy in an Audi A4 vehicle and a Toyota Corolla.
He said: “Although condemnable in every sense of it, this incidence is not totally surprising when considered against the background of emerging and developing news in the past weeks. It is important to note here that we have called the attention of security agencies in Edo State, urging them to rise to the occasion and intercept the almost unbridled influx of firearms and strange groups into Edo State by the Governor.
“We have demanded that the Inspector General of Police, the DG of the DSS, and heads of the security agencies, commence an immediate undercover investigation into the convoy of Governor Godwin Obaseki with a view to identifying all arms-bearing personnel to ascertain their status and whether they have the authorization, under the arms regulation laws of the country, to bear arms and irresponsibly intimidate the public with the same in public.
“We condemn this violent act in the strongest terms and alert the Presidency, security agencies, international bodies, election monitoring groups, and all CSOs focused on election integrity to this illegality and wanton violence funded and orchestrated by Governor Godwin Obaseki and his PDP because if unchecked, they would soon unleash worse things on the innocent citizens of Edo State who are about on their civic obligations.
“As a party confident of victory, the APC wants an election, not a war. The same cannot be said for Mr. Godwin Obaseki who both lacks achievements and vision, and has since committed state resources to the orchestration of violence and acts targeted at undermining the election.”