…As Okunbo distances self from incident
By Dirisu Yakubu & Ozioruva Aliu
THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo State, yesterday, engaged in a fierce war of words accusing each other of being responsible for last Saturday’s clash between their supporters that left many persons injured and several vehicles destroyed.
The clash happened at the entrance gate of the Oba of Benin’s palace when Governor Godwin Obaseki led other dignitaries to visit the monarch ahead of the flag-off of his re-election campaign.
The Vice-Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the APC National Campaign Council, Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon, in a press conference, alleged that the PDP was responsible for the clash and that the party and the governor were planning to arrest and detain the former National Chairman of the APC Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on the eve of the election and also set fire on the farm of billionaire businessman, Captain Hosa Okunbo for refusing to back the second-term agenda of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Obahiagbon said: “We are shocked that after that palace incident, APC’s supporters and all our party members wearing Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s caps and t-shirts were physically assaulted in the streets of Benin and we have those willing to testify to this brazen act of unprovoked street assault. This is unacceptable to us as a party. How long more can we persuade our teeming party loyalists to hold back?
”On the back of conscripting renowned cultists and providing them official cover and funding for wanton violence under the guise of aides appointments, Mr. Godwin Obaseki is planning to use COVID-19 as a ruse to neuter grassroots leaders of our party, the APC on the eve of the gubernatorial election by abducting and detaining them in isolation centers—this way, disenfranchising them and forestalling the political force they would deliver in pursuant of APC’s victory.
”Names of prominent leaders of the APC have been compiled to be dealt with, intimidated, harassed, terrorized, physically assaulted, and lacerated by state-sponsored goons.
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”Mr. Godwin Obaseki is also planning to continue his persecution of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole with trumped-up and inconsequential charges at the eleventh hour of electoral politics. Obaseki’s simple plan is to arraign Oshiomhole for a probe that has been revealed as nothing but a targeted political witch-hunt and then deny him bail on eve of election to paralyse the APC.”
But in a counter-press conference, the chairman Edo State PDP Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih alleged that APC planned to kill the governor and his entourage and cause an unimaginable crisis in the country just as he said the APC was not ready for the election.
Orbih said: “It is obvious that this Edo State election is now being personalised. Nobody is coming out to tell us the governor has not done well. All they are talking about is personal issues with the governor.
”In that visit, we had the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, members of the National Working Committee, the governors of River, Delta, Sokoto States and of course the host governor, Governor Obaseki. From what we have gathered so far, yesterday’s event was a well organised event to eliminate the entire leadership of the PDP in Nigeria and the democratically elected governors of the party who were all expected to be at that ceremony.
”That incident was capable of bringing interstate wars among the affected states that their governors were targeted to be eliminated in Edo state, I want to say that the incident was a political mutiny organised to eliminate constituted authorities in various states in Nigeria.
”We are calling on all the security agencies to swing into action, to bring to book those behind yesterday’s incident. We are aware that the incident was sponsored by the sponsors of APC in Edo State and the APC leadership. The only way to stop a recurrence is to make sure that those behind the incident are arrested and tried for mutiny.”
Okunbo distances self from incident
Meanwhile, business mogul, Captain Hosa Okunbo has condemned the unruly behaviour by a crowd of political thugs that booed Governor Obaseki and his entourage at the palace of the Oba of Benin on Saturday.
Okunbo who was linked to the degrading treatment meted out to Governor Obaseki in some reports however said on Sunday that a man of his standing would never be a party to any plot to humiliate Obaseki or any governor, past or present.
In a set-the-record statement, Okunbo condemned the incident, adding that his mission to the Oba’s palace on Saturday was completely apolitical.
The statement read: “There have been reports of an ugly and unfortunate booing incident that took place outside the palace of our revered Royal Father, the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, on Saturday, July 25, 2020, during the visit of members of the National Campaign Council of the PDP.
“The PDP entourage, including the Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, were reportedly booed while going in and out of the palace by a motley crowd of mostly young boys, according to media reports.
“Some members of the crowd who reportedly embarrassed the PDP team and the state governor were said to have been subsequently attacked allegedly by some gun-toting thugs and sustained varying degrees of injuries in the attack.
“While I condemn the booing of the governor and the PDP team, and the reprisal attack, I am particularly pained that some ungodly insinuations in some quarters have linked me with the unfortunate saga.”