By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN â€” THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has absolved itself of the decision by Defence Minister, General Godwin Abbe, to withdraw soldiers serving in the Joint Task Force (JTF) set up by the state government to fight kidnapping and other violent crimes in the state.
The party, however, said it was in support of the move as it might be a result of a recent alarm raised by Governor Adams Oshiomhole during the Akoko-Edo House of Assembly re-run election, alleging that PDP was planning to use soldiers to cause mayhem and rig the election.
Oshiomhole had, weekend, expressed shock over the sudden withdrawal of JTF soldiers in the state and accused the former Chairman of PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, General Abbe and the Principal Secretary to the Vice-President, Chief Mike Oghiadome, of mastermin-ding the withdrawal.
The governor, who exonerated the vice-president from the plot, appealed to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the matter.
He also noted that the action of General Abbe was an attempt to over turn the decision of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua who approved the enlistment of the soldiers in the JTF.
However, the Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, who addressed newsmen yesterday, described the alarm raised by the governor as ironical, explaining that â€œbased on the possible out cry that the PDP is planning to rig the election with the military, the federal government has thought it wise to withdraw the soldiers in the JTF to avoid temptation.
â€œThat Adams Oshiomhole is crying over the withdrawal of the said soldiers goes to show that he is indeedÂ the one with the secret plans of rigging the election with the soldiers.
â€œThe governorâ€™s accusation that the PDP is bent on unleashing violence on the election day through the use of thugs is ironical.
â€œIncidents in Akoko Edo re-run, all the over twenty thugs arrested on the election day with sophisticated weapons that beats the imagination of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies, are sponsored thugs of the AC.â€
Orbih reiterated the readiness of the PDP for the election and urged Action Congress and Governor Oshiomhole to stick to their one man, one vote slogan in the forthcoming elections.