•It’s all lies, Obaseki committed to free fair election, governor’s aide fires back
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) yesterday, alleged that the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki had procured military and police uniforms, arms and ammunitions, for both the Edo State Security Network (Vigilante), known party thugs, cultists, and members of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) under the leadership of the newly elected state chairman of the union, Mr. Odion Olaye, with the plans for them to disrupt the House of Assembly elections slated for Saturday March 18, 2023.
However, in a swift reaction, the Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, dismissed all the allegations as tissue of lies.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Benin City, the state capital, chairman of the party, Col. David Imuse (Rtd) urged the State Police Command and other security agencies to remain vigilant so as to prevent the state government from using troublemakers to make the state ungovernable and to avoid a backlash from these criminals.
Part of the statement read: “In 2019, the enthusiastic people of Edo State profoundly expressed their desire to have a well regulated system of administration that shall continually endured the golden legacies of governance in the state and consequently, elected into the Edo State House of Assembly 24 members elect under the platform of APC.
“The people were very expectant and indeed hoping that, with the House of Assembly populated by men with robust knowledge, governance will be moderated in a very vivid, lucid and on a pedestal of Eldorado.
“No, Governor Obaseki did not only truncate these noble idea, but also unarguably denied the 14 members elect and their constituents the realisation of these democratic dividends by not inaugurating them as members of the Edo State House of Assembly.
“As at date, Edo is the only state without a functional legislature. March 18, 2023 is therefore seen by many Edo citizens as a golden opportunity to rewrite history of governance in the state and make the government accountable to Edo eople.”
“In line with this noble objective, and as a party, it is within our knowledge and now in public and political space, without contestation that Governor Obaseki, having being aware of his rejection and that of his party the PDP by Edo people, has now embarked on clandestine and ill moves to truncate and cause mayhem before, during and after the elections particularly in Edo South and Edo Central Senatorial Districts of the state.
“As a party, we have privileged and credible information indicating that the Edo State Governor has procured military and police uniforms, arms and ammunitions, for both the Edo State Security Network (Vigilante), known PDP thugs, members of secret cults, and NURTW under one Mr. Odion Olaye, with plans for them to disrupt the House of Assembly elections.
“Their modus operadi is as set out herein under amongst other: Those with military uniforms will be on patrol, pretending to be soldiers. Those on Mufti will queue up with voters. They will be armed by the Governor with procured and licensed pump action rifles. They are to destroy ballot boxes and other electoral materials in any unit where they are not winning especially during counting of votes.
“They have been given clear orders to shoot when necessary as the Governor has assured them of adequate protection.”
However, reacting to the allegations, Osagie said the state governor was committed to free, fair and credible elections in the state.
Also in his reaction, Olaye said the governor has never called him for such an assignment, adding that the APC had been the ones moving from one community to the other asking them to vote for them with the aim of impeaching the state governor.