Edo 2020: APC Raises the Alarm over Arms Buildup

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Ifeanyi Okowa
  • Accuses Obaseki of 2016 plans to dethrone Uromi monarch

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aided by Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa of importing arms and persons believed to be thugs into the state with the intention to scuttle the electoral process, because they believed that the PDP and Governor Godwin Obaseki would lose the election.

Addressing a press conference in Benin City, Acting Chairman of the APC, Col David Imuse (rtd) also noted that Obaseki’s alleged desperate schemes and deployment of do-or-die tactics in seeking second term alongside his deputy, Mr. Philip Shaibu, was the reason for the tension.

He also carpeted Okowa, whom he accused of bringing thugs into the state in order to cause mayhem during the election.
Imuse said, “In the past days, we have seen and experienced a dangerous build-up of firearms and violence in Edo State by the governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who no longer needs a diviner to tell him that he has been rejected by the people.
The Edo APC boss, further pointed out that Okowa, whom he alleged shot his way to a contrived victory in Delta State, has begun to lend his hand to Godwin Obaseki, with the supply of thugs and gangs charged with the mission of unleashing violence and rigging the election.

“Acting under the marching orders of the tax-collecting leadership of their umbrella party, they are executing a do-or-die approach where they must either forcefully impose themselves on the people of Edo State for another term or burn the whole state to the ground, making a sorry scene and an ungovernable entity.

“This manifested on Wednesday, August 19, in Igueben local government area, when Okowa suspiciously attended a single ward political event allegedly with an army of thugs with the objective of contributing to their militarisation of the state and to spread panic and intimidate voters,” adding that, during the confusion, an innocent bystander, Mr. Ernest Otoide was shot, which caused him to be hospitalised and in the process brought avoidable sadness and pain to his family.

Imuse disclosed that some suspects with dangerous firearms have been arrested and transferred from Area Command, Irrua to the police command headquarters in Benin City even as he wondered if the unfolding violent crimes must continue to prevail, because of non-negotiability of the governor’s second term bid.

But in a swift reaction, Okowa, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, said he did not know when Delta became more volatile than Edo when it comes to elections.

“I don’t know when Delta became more violent than Edo. When PDP governors paid a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin and violence broke out after they left, was it Okowa that was responsible?” he asked.

Ifeajika said Imuse should be thankful to God that nothing happened to his principal, insisting that Okowa has no history of violence throughout the periods he has been contesting election and would not start now.
“He should be thankful that our governor was not harmed. The governor has visited Edo State many times and there was no violence. Okowa as a person has not been known for violence and since he has been contesting elections, he has not been associated with violence.

“Everybody knows Okowa as a peaceful person. The violence is in Edo and will remain in Edo. Before now, in the build-up to the election, Edo has been in the news for violence. So, what happened in Igueben is part of that violence. They should leave Okowa alone,” he said.

Also, the Edo State PDP Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, said it was obvious that Imuse lacked content, “So they now sit down and concoct stories. The allegations are baseless and lack foundation.

“We are the ones that should be complaining, because of their inclination to fraud and violence. All we keep saying‎ is that they are trying to create situation of anarchy and chaos to force a postponement of the election.”

Meanwhile, the APC Media Campaign Council for the Edo governorship election has accused Obaseki of plans to dethrone the Ojuromi of Uromi, HRH Anselm Aidenojie II, when he accused him of trying to block his emergence as the next governor of the state by allegedly backing the PDP in 2016.

Condemning Obaseki’s ‘divisive message’ at the Palace of the Ojuromi of Uromi, the APC campaign council accused the PDP candidate of seeking to turn the people against each other in order to earn sympathy votes.

Obaseki, at his visit to the monarch earlier this week, made references to his 2016 dethronement and charged the King, and the people of Uromi, to rescue Edo State from the grip of ‘destructive people’.

But in a swift response, Mr. John Mayaki, Chairman of the Edo APC Campaign council, said the Governor and his corrupt party of tax collectors are the destructive people strangling the state and the people.

Mayaki said the Governor has resorted to a vile and ignoble political campaign strategy to divide and turn the people of Edo State against each other using a combination of desperate rhetoric, promotion of falsehood, and poor revisionism of recent and past events to misrepresent reality and cast himself as an innocent victim, when in actual fact, he is the aggressor and mischief-plotter as he has been for years.

“Rather than regale the people of Uromi with an account of what his administration has managed to achieve in the last four years, Mr. Godwin Obaseki went there with a divisive message seeking to breed bad blood in continuation of his ignoble strategy to poison the well of the campaign with hatred and intolerance.

“Mr. Godwin Obaseki has been rendered sleepless by the united stance of Edo people to put him out of his misery and end his unfortunate reign on the 19th of September hence his desperate adoption of depraved tactics to engender confusion and chaos by dividing the people along ethnic and religious lines with targeted falsehood.

“Obaseki’s unpalatable references to the 2016 saga involving the respected Ojuromi of Uromi is uncalled for and disgraceful especially, as he was the one, who recommended and forcefully fought for the dethronement of the monarch over alleged involvement with the PDP during the heat of the 2016 electioneering campaign.

“As the Chairman of the Economic Team before he emerged the APC candidate in 2016, Obaseki undoubtedly had the ears of the Comrade Governor and it was he who consistently pursued the sanctioning of the Uromi monarch, when he accused him of trying to block his emergence as the next governor of the state by allegedly backing the PDP.

“Otherwise, why did it take Governor Obaseki one year after assuming office before restoring the monarch into his position, if he was indeed sincere and not approving of his initial suspension cum deposition? It is simply deceitful and fraudulent for the Governor to attempt to distance himself from a decision he recommended, because he is now desperate for votes.

“It is equally shameful that Mr. Godwin Obaseki continues to drag ancient and respected traditional stools into his divisive politics. We expected a decent and sensible campaign from him and his party of tax collectors, but we are nonetheless unsurprised at the descent into the gutter, because after four years of abject failure, they have nothing noteworthy to sell to the people,” he stated.