•Edo APC, PDP bicker over alleged impersonation of party agents
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has assured Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, of a level-playing field in the forthcoming governorship election in the state, promising that the police would be neutral in its operation.
THISDAY learnt that the governor met with IGP on Monday on the escalating violence in the state with the fears that the police might take sides with his main challenger, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A source close to the meeting said Obaseki and his team thanked Adamu for accepting to see them.
According to him, “Obaseki thanked Adamu for providing security for them throughout his statewide campaign. He reported about 11 cases of violence in the state during the campaign and he accused APC of being behind the violence.
“He begged IGP to provide enough security during the elections and pleaded with him not to take sides.”
It was further learnt that Obaseki complained about Capt. Hosa Okunbo, a billionaire businessman backing Ize-Iyamu, saying the businessman was smearing his name and pleaded with IGP to rein him in.
IGP reportedly assured him that he would ensure that the police engage the electoral assignment professional, explaining that the force had made adequate arrangements to secure the election.
Meanwhile, Edo State chapters of APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have engaged in a war of words over an allegation by APC’s campaign council that the agents of the ruling party were impersonating members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to rig the September 19 governorship election.
In a statement yesterday, the Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, called on the people and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to thwart the alleged plot by the state government and PDP to rig the election.
But in a swift reaction, PDP said APC had run out of narratives and now resorted to juvenile innuendos.
Quoting unnamed sources, Mayaki alleged that some civil servants in the state were impersonating NYSC members in Owan West, Owan East and Akoko Edo Local Government Areas of the state.
Mayaki said one of the sources stated that only a few corps members turned up for the election duty and that at least 30 per cent of people currently undergoing training are state civil servants who have graduated over five years ago.
He accused PDP of being behind the plot, alleging that the same fraud was witnessed in Oredo Local Government Area, where 300 NYSC members who were trained did not apply through the portal.
“The mission of these agents, it was disclosed, is to perpetuate the governor’s anti-democratic agenda during the elections.
“We condemn this unwholesome development and call on INEC and other bodies with election supervisory mandate to prevail on the emerging rigging style of the PDP. All Edo citizens must be vigilant to quell any attempts to pilfer their mandates,” Mayaki stated.
But PDP in a statement by its Publicity Secretary in the state, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, said he would not dignify APC with a response, adding that the party has no chance of winning the election.
“There is no gainsaying that APC’s rigging plans have suffered a devastating setback as Aso Rock has told them that Edo people will determine their fate.
“Their much taunted federal might is a mirage! Instead of APC to be drafting a memorable concession speech, they are busy contriving rigging plans of PDP. All these allegations are baseless and should be ignored,” Nehikhare said.