By Gabriel Enogholase, Benin
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Edo State chapter has condemned aÂ the statement credited to the former Chief of General Staff, Admiral Okhai Mike Akhigbe (rtd), that Chief Tony Anenih held a secret meeting with some people with a view to fomenting trouble in todayâ€™s bye-election in Etsako-Central State Constituency.
In a statement in Benin yesterday by the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Nosa Adams, the party said â€œ such an unguarded and provocative utterances as capable of destabilizing the area from a supposed leader of the party, as very unfortunateâ€.
The party said that it wouldÂ Â not have â€œordinarily reacted to such an unguarded and provocative statement, but coming from Admiral Akhigbe who was a former number 2 citizen of this country who ought to know the security implication of his statement.
It added that it would therefore not fold its arms and allow him to cause trouble during and after the election.
According to the party, â€œFor the avoidance of doubt, Chief Anenih as a National Leader of the PDP has been very busy campaigning in all nooks and crannies of the local government, preaching peace, unity and the need by all parties involved in the election to eschew violence during the election.â€
â€œAgain, if not for the preaching to PDP members in Akoko-Edo Local Government to eschew violence and vote according to their conscience during the Akoko-Edo Constituency II, bye-election, a lot of blood would have been shed during that election as the Action Congress took advantage of this timely warning by the national leader to rig the election and wreck havoc on the peopleâ€.
Chief Anenih, it added had never been involved in any secret or open meeting aimed or fomenting trouble as Admiral Akhigbe was quoted to have said. It wants Akhigbe to tell the whole world, the venue and place where the secret meeting was there to have been held otherwise he would be held responsible for whatever happens during the election.
The party spokesman continued that for some time now, the PDP has no record of Admiral Akhigbeâ€™s membership of the party as he has been doubling PDP member in Abuja and AC membership in Edo State. The party also warned that while it takes Chief Anenih days to campaign in the local government only for Akhigbe to come out at night to be addressing some pressmen to denigrate the party.
The party called on PDP members and the public to discountenance the statement credited to Akhigbe and go about their normal business during the duration of the election today
In a similar reaction, a Benin based pro-democracy group, â€œThe Rainbow Caucusâ€ lamented over the statement credited to Admiral Akhigbe. In a statement in Benin yesterday, the president of the group, Mr. Okharedia Ihimiekpen, said that for the past one week, his group and other pro-democracy groups has monitored the campaigns of all the parties involved in todayâ€™s election and Chief Anenih was in Fugar on 15th January 2010, at a rally opposite Admiral Akhigbeâ€™s house.
And on Thursday, 21st January 2010, he was at Ogbona, Ekperi and all the nooks and crannies of Estako Central in his campaigns with a huge mammoth reception.
The statement added that Admiral Akhigbe who is claiming to be a leader in Fugar and Estako Central was nowhere to be found only to come to Benin City at night to started talking with some newsmen.
Admiral Akhigbe should concern himself with the positive development of his people and refrain from making unguarded and provocative utterances that may lead to the breakdown of law and order, he added.