The Edo State Media Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 19, 2020, governorship election has accused Governor Godwin Obaseki and his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of unleashing violence on the people in Benin City following a confrontation in which the governor was “booed and embarrassed” while trying to gain entrance into the palace of the Oba of Benin.
The Chairman of the Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, in a statement issued on Saturday, said the governor instructed his thugs to attack the people as “retribution for their public booing of his arrival with various chants labelling him a thief and rejected candidate and for spurning his rally allegedly attended by tax-collectors and mobilized thugs.”
He also accused Obaseki and his loyalists of destroying their own billboards at few locations in the State as a gimmick to deflect responsibility and get a reprieve for the alleged organised destruction of APC billboards after the party filed a petition with the Police and other relevant agencies.
“It is sad that Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the outgoing Governor of Edo State, has, today, Saturday, July 25, displayed the same traits of intolerance and penchant for violence that made the people of Edo State unanimously reject him,” the statement said.
“Booed by the people at the entrance of the Palace of our great Oba for handing the State to the PDP tax collectors who are unconscionably feasting on our collective patrimony, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, as an act of revenge, instructed the thugs and cultists he has spent the past few weeks recruiting in the State and beyond to attack the people with dangerous arms.
“This criminal and heartless action not only affirms our repeated warnings that Mr. Godwin Obaseki fully intends to prosecute the election with violence and thuggery, but it also shows his lack of empathy, conscience, and respect for the lives and dignity of the people he was elected to serve.
“His thugs have presently invaded the State Capital, unleashing mayhem to anyone perceived to be critical of the failed Governor or supportive of our party and candidate. After converging at the venue of the Governor’s campaign flag-off, they have poured into the streets, vandalizing properties and causing panic. We have heard unconfirmed reports of fatal injuries.
“Furthermore, as a way to avoid responsibility and expected sanction for the undemocratic and criminal destruction of our billboards, the Governor’s thugs are going around the city, deliberately pulling down their own billboards in an orchestrated gimmick meant to portray the false impression of “violence on both sides” when in truth, the desperate Governor, in cahoots with his PDP godfathers, are the ones threatening the peace of the State.
“We condemn this action in totality and demand immediate intervention by the Police and other security agencies. Our party, the APC, has built an effective campaign on the strength of our documented manifesto. Tellingly, on the back of four years of no achievement, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has neither a plan nor record of office to show, hence the resort to violence and thuggery.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police and all well-meaning Nigerians to immediately rein in on Mr. Godwin Obaseki and begin the arrest of his recruited thugs who are committed to causing chaos and violence in a bid to prevent the people, who have already voiced their rejection of Obaseki, from participating in the election freely and without intimidation.”