Blame Game as APC, PDP Tango over Violence Threat

Obaseki Recruiting Criminals as Political Aides – APC

Oshiomhole, Okunbo Planning Mayhem – Obaseki

Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has accused the state governor, Godwin Obaseki who is the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the scheduled September 19 governorship election in the state of recruiting alleged thugs and cultists into government under the guise of senior special assistants, and special assistants. The APC also raised the alarm that these alleged thugs and cultists had been acquiring weapons and engaging in initiation of new members which had been responsible for increasing violence in the state. The party said the governor intends to use the alleged criminals to unleash violence and mayhem on the people.

Addressing journalists at a press conference on Monday, state publicity secretary of the APC, Chris Azebamwan lamented that as political parties were strategizing and developing various means to secure victory at the polls, unfortunately, the PDP now represented by Obaseki “following the conclusion of a fraudulent negotiation which sadly involved billions of Edo people’s money, are beginning to go beyond acceptable means and measures”.

Pointedly accusing Obaseki of abuse of state powers, and behaving in a manner already seen since his unfortunate emergence in 2016, the APC alleged that Obaseki had begun “massive recruitment of thugs and criminals, but this time, officially into government. He disguises these appointments as legitimate, in the guise of Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants”.

However in its reaction, the state government in a statement issued by Crusoe Osagie, special adviser to the governor on media and communication strategy, shifted the blame to the APC. Osagie alleged that “Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the sacked former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Captain Hosa Okunba, a Benin billionaire, are the ones sponsoring thugs in the state with a view to undermine the will of the people in the forthcoming September 19, 2020 governorship election in the state”. He further alleged that the duo held a meeting on July, 19, 2020, “where they perfected plans to recruit thugs to disrupt the forthcoming September 19 governorship election in the state, having discovered that they cannot win the election in a fair contest.”

The APC publicity scribe however posited that “The people raised the first alarm months ago when the outgoing Governor, nearing the termination of his infamous tenure, began to dole out SA and SSA appointments in numbers never seen before. Independent verifications and revelations from the divided party that the Governor joined where majority of members are still smarting from his illegal imposition, have revealed that the most recent appointments which were furtively handed out, were given to cultists of notorious history and origin.

“To achieve maximum results, Governor Godwin Obaseki has ensured there is a spirit of competition ignited in these confraternity groups. Obaseki draws from this deep well of violence and brutality in these groups, hoping to employ their brutish and bestial tendencies and unleash it on his opponents and dissenters in the coming days before, during, and after an election he is certain to lose because the people have rejected him”. The party said it would once again be writing a petition to the Police and other security agencies, as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to intervene and protect the election against what it described as the “criminality and desperation” of the governor and “his immoral party of tax-collectors”.

Expressing concern that Edo State already has cause for worry, “a valid reason to be afraid now, and not even tomorrow,” the APC said “This is because the violence and chaos have already begun. These cult groups, in a bid to show superiority and prove their mettle, have gone into unrestrained acquisition of weapons and initiation of new members. As it is, we are not sure that in the next two weeks, there will be an Edo youth who is not coerced into this evil association. No thanks to Obaseki, who in his desperation has incentivized violence, brutality, providing funds and backing for crime, thievery, and thuggery with public funds.

“In their initiation grounds, energized by the rare and unusual motivation provided by state funds, there are now reports of shootings and killings either out of unresolved feuds, or in the bid to test the potency of their local bulletproof charms. This is the madhouse and anarchy Godwin Obaseki has unleashed on our State. Shall we fold our hands and continue to watch these things go unchallenged”.

Asserting that the party had seen the “intolerant and undemocratic soul of the PDP and Obaseki,” Azebamwan noted that “It manifested in their unthinking destruction of our party billboards, and this breathless propaganda aimed at throwing mud on our deeply thought out manifesto”.

In the usual blame game by both parties, Crusoe Osagie, Governor Obaseki’s media aide said in his statement that Oshiomhole, Okunbo, and their allies had resorted to violence after discovering that they cannot win the governorship election in a fair contest. According to him, “It has come to our notice that the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and a Benin billionaire, Captain Hosa Okunbo, held a meeting on July, 19, 2020, where they perfected plans to recruit thugs to disrupt the forthcoming September 19 governorship election in the state, having discovered that they cannot win the election in a fair contest.

“In the meeting held at (an address in the) GRA, Benin City, they met with these thugs, gave them targets and paid them in advance to cause trouble and undermine the will of the people during the elections. He is actively supporting and sponsoring the warlords, thugs and ill-intentioned politicians that are scheming to dislodge Governor Godwin Obaseki so they can have free access to the state’s treasury. The people are not deceived any longer with Okunbo’s repeated denials that he is not involved in politics”.

Osagie said that the state government would act within the ambit of extant laws to neutralise the plots by Oshiomhole and Okunbo. “We are therefore calling on security agencies to quickly intervene, investigate and reign in Okunbo in his quest to set the state ablaze and foist an unpopular candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, on the people through violence and thuggery. The Edo State Government would, however, not rest on its oars in exploring all legal options to fish out these merchants of violence and destruction and bring them to justice,” the government threatened.

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