Edo 2020: PDP, APC Trade Words Over Violence

By Ikhili Ebalu Benin City

Following the bloody clash on Saturday, between supporters of All Progressive Congress, APC and the People's Democratic Party, PDP,  in Benin City, the Edo state capital, as the PDP flagged off its governorship campaign, the two main parties yesterday engaged in war of words calling on security agencies to apprehend perpetrators  of deadly attack.

Recall that thugs suspected to be loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki and the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu respectively clashed in front of the Oba of Benin palace where scores sustained various degree of injuries.

The clash happened immediately after Edo state governor , Godwin Obaseki left with other state governors, after paying  courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin 

But addressing newsmen yesterday,  the Vice Chairman of , Media and Publicity Committee, APC National Campaign Council , Hon Patrick Obahiagbon, alleged that Governor Obaseki "compounding intolerance for opposition and iron fist administration has turned the state to a theatre of war"

However, in their reaction, the  PDP also at a press conference, alleged that the APC sponsored thugs to eliminate the entire leadership of the PDP and it's visiting  governoors describing the attack  as a " political muting".  

Obahiagbon, also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Police and other stakeholders to prevail on Governor Obaseki to allow  "the rule of law and a level democratic playing field to hold supreme between now and the end of the Edo governorship elections. This is not too much to request of a sitting governor"
According to Obahiagbon: " It is no longer news that state-sponsored elements, acting under the clear direction of the edo state government, destroyed the APC’s billboards and other physical infrastructure and paraphernalia of partisan campaign" 

"That ignoble act of infamy was roundly and viscerally deprecated by our people at home and in the diaspora who are rightly and historically opposed to illegality, intolerance, and the oppressive dictatorship that the Edo State government, daily displays with impunity.

"Saturday the 25th of July, the Governor’s army of thugs and cultists descended on protesters at the entrance of the Palace of our great King, the Oba of Benin, and other parts of the Benin metropolis, sending many to the hospital with gunshot wounds because they dared to express their rejection we were made to understand of the out-going governor who instead of fixing the humongous problems bedeviling the state such as the payment of owed salaries and fixing the states challenging ecological issues inter alia, rather chose to invite "tax-collectors" to the State to further feast on the State's treasury"

"We are shocked that after that palace incident, APC’s supporters and all our party members wearing Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu's caps and t-shirts were physically assaulted in the streets of Benin and we have those willing to testify to this brazen act of unprovoked street assault. This is unacceptable to us as a party. How long more can we persuade our teeming party loyalists to hold back?

"These people, emboldened and funded by our state resources, are also plotting to set fire on the farm of Captain Hosa Okunbo because the Governor believes he is entitled to his support and will see to the destruction of his businesses and reputation if we won’t offer this support"

"On the back of conscripting renowned cultists and providing them official cover and funding for wanton violence under the guise of aides appointments, Mr. Godwin Obaseki is planning to use COVID-19 as a ruse to neuter grassroots leaders of our party, the APC on the eve of the gubernatorial election by abducting and detaining them in isolation centers—this way, disenfranchising them and forestalling the political force they would deliver in pursuant of APC’s victory"

While the ruling People's Democratic Party, PDP also at a press conference shorty after APC briefed alleged that the APC sponsored thugs to eliminate the entire leadership of the PDP and it's governor, describing the attack  as a " political muting".  

The National Vice Chairman, South-South and Chairman Edo 2020 Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih,  also alleged that  the assault on leadership of PDP was co-ordinated and sponsored by Edo APC to eliminate democratically elected PDP governor's that visited the palace of the of the Benin Monarch.  

While condemning that attack he warned that the party would not fold it hands and allow it members to be attacked and killed just as he called on security agent to investigate and arrest those behind it.

Orbih stated: "I want to place it on record that the visit was officially communicated to the palace and the various security agencies as PDP leaders visit that included the party's National Chairman, members of the National working committee, Governors of Rivers, Sokoto, Delta, and of course the host Governor Godwin Obaseki.

" I want to place it on record that there was no official APC event in the palace or anywhere in Benin that was so communicated in accordance with INEC guidelines. There was no official communication to the security agencies and the palace that APC was also going to have event at the palace.

"This action to my mind was aimed at throwing the country into crisis. The security breach must be investigated and all those connected with it must be arrested and tried in accordance with the laws.

"The APC organised attack at the Palace is in our view a political mutiny, against constituted authority, capable of causing interstate conflict and war between Edo state and the affected states of the Governors that were marked down for elimination
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