The faction of Edo State Chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, loyal to the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, has alerted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of a sinister plot by the state governor, Godwin Obaseki to scuttle the party’s primary election scheduled for June 22, 2020, with inflated cases of COVID-19.
Lawrence Okah, factional state secretary of the party who signed the letter addressed to the chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, alleged that Obaseki had instructed the testing of fictitious 300,000 persons with the ultimate desire to announce fake positive results to serve as a foundation for the scuttling of the party’s primary election. Okah said: “It has come to our notice that the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has concluded plan to scuttle the primary election of the All Progressives Congress scheduled to hold on 22, June 2020. The pretext is that if held, the primary election will escalate cases of COVID-19 infections in Edo state.”
According to him, “The irrefutable information is that the Governor has directed that medical tests be carried out on fictitious persons of up to 300,000 (three hundred thousand). The plan is to deliberately increase the number of persons declared to be infected with COVID-19 as justification to lock down Edo State throughout the period scheduled for the primary election in the state.”
Condemning the governor’s action as a show of desperation, the part called on INEC, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, the Police, the Department of State Security, DSS and other security forces, to refrain from succumbing to his desperate antics at scuttling the scheduled primary election.
“Since the first (index) case of COVID-19 was announced by Edo State Government on 23 March 2020, the state has not carried out more than 238 tests. From the official record of the NCDC, as of Thursday May 21, 2020, a total of 238 persons have been tested for COVID-19 in the entire Edo State. Of this number, 119 are confirmed, 78 are on admission, 35 have been discharged and 6 have died.”
Furthermore, the party emphasized that “with the President’s COVID-19 Regulations made on 30 March 2020; 13 April 2020; and 27 April 2020 being in place, the authority of Governor Godwin Obaseki to make Regulations to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in Edo State is legally exhausted. It must be further noted that the President’s Regulations are made pursuant to the powers conferred on him by the Quarantine Act, a statute of the federal government made under item 54 of the Executive Legislative List in the 1999 constitution. In none of the extant Regulations made by the President is Edo State listed for lockdown.
“In view of the foregoing, any decision of Governor Godwin Obaseki to lockdown Edo State should be considered in serious conflict with the President’s Regulations. We, therefore, urge the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation to take proper note of these developments and protect our hard-earned constitutional democracy from being undermined by Mr. Godwin Obaseki.”
Okah informed INEC of the termination of Obaseki’s four-year tenure on November 11, 2020, and cited aspects of the constitution and the Electoral Act that mandated the conduct of a general election preceded by party primary to elect another governor of the state.
When contacted, the curt response of the secretary of the party loyal to the governor, Joseph Osagiede’ s curt was “Lawrence Okah is NOT THE APC SECRETARY, therefore I cannot respond to his utterance”.Follow Us on Social Media
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