Allegations false says Okowa
By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City
The crisis and the build-up to the Edo state governorship election got messier on Friday, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aided by Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa of importing arms and persons believed to be thugs into the state alleging that the intention is to scuttle the process because they believed that the PDP and Governor Godwin Obaseki would lose the election.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Acting Chairman of the APC, Col David Imuse (rtd) not that Obaseki’s alleged desperate schemes and deployment of do or die tactics in seeking for second term in office alongside his deputy, Mr. Philip Shaibu, was the reason for the tension.
He also carpeted the Delta state Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa who he accused of allegedly bringing thugs into the state in order to cause mayhem during the election.
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He said, “In the past days, we have seen and experienced a dangerous build-up of firearms and violence in Edo State by governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who no longer needs a diviner to tell him that he has been rejected by the people.
Imuse further pointed out that Okowa, who he alleged shot his way to a contrived victory in Delta State, has begun to lend his hand to Godwin Obaseki, with the supply of thugs and gangs charged with the mission of unleashing violence and rigging the election.
“Acting under the marching orders of the tax-collecting leadership of their umbrella party, they are executing a do-or-die approach where they must either forcefully impose themselves on the people of Edo State for another term or burn the whole state to the ground, making a sorry scene and an ungovernable entity.
“This manifested on Wednesday, August 19, in Igueben local government area when Okowa, suspiciously attended a single ward political event allegedly with an army of thugs with the objective of contributing to their militarization of the state and to spread panic and intimidate voters,” adding that during the confusion, an innocent bystander, Mr. Ernest Otoide was shot which caused him to be hospitalized and in the process brought avoidable sadness and pain to his family.
Imuse disclosed that some suspects with dangerous firearms have been arrested and transferred from Area Command, Irrua to the police command headquarters in Benin City even as he wondered if the unfolding violent crimes must continue to prevail because of non-negotiability of the governor’s second term bid.
But Chief Press Secretary to Okowa, Olisa Ifeajika, said: “I don’t know when Delta became more violent than Edo.
“When PDP governors paid a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin and violence broke out after they left, was it Okowa that was responsible? We should be thankful that our governor was not harmed. The governor has visited Edo State many times and there was no violence. Okowa as a person has not been known for violence and since he has been contesting elections, he has not been associated with violence.
“Everybody knows Okowa as peaceful person. The violence is in Edo and will remain in Edo. Before now, in the build up to the election, Edo has been in the news for violence. So, what happened in Igueben is part of that violence. They should leave Okowa alone”, he said.
Also, State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, said it was Obvious that Imuse lacked content “so they now sit down and concoct stories.
“The allegations are baseless and lack foundation. We are the ones that should be complaining because of their inclination to fraud and violence.
“All we keep saying is that they are trying to create situation of anarchy and chaos to force a postponement of the election”, he said.