By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disagreed over a purported shooting by alleged rival cult groups in the entourage of Governor Godwin Obaseki when he went on a campaign at Igueben in Igueben local government area of Edo Central Senatorial District.
As a result of the alleged incident, APC has demanded investigations into the incident and its previous allegation that the government was importing arms and thugs as escorts into the state.
The Chairman, Edo State Media Campaign Council of the APC, John Mayaki, in a statement alleged that multiple reports confirmed by several residents in Igueben and hospital records indicated that chaos broke out on Wednesday, August 19, at Igueben, around the residence of a PDP Chieftain, Chief Tom Ikimi, when armed thugs escorting the Governor Obaseki’s campaign turned on each other in a wild shooting that sent at least one person to the hospital with a leg riddled by bullets.
“Things got to a head-on Wednesday when a batch of the thugs, travelling in a separate vehicle on Obaseki’s campaign trail, alleged that his group had greater notoriety for violence. The claim provoked an angry reaction from the other group and both duelled in a frantic shooting that scared guests at the event.
Mayaki, said the shooting sent the whole community into a fear-filled silence and quietness while quoting confidential sources that revealed the armed thugs responsible for the shooting routinely followed the Governor’s convoy in an Audi A4 vehicle and a Toyota Corolla.
“Although condemnable in every sense of it, this incidence is not totally surprising when considered against the background of emerging and developing news in the past weeks.
“It is important to note here that we have called the attention of security agencies in Edo State, urging them to rise to the occasion and intercept the almost unbridled influx of firearms and strange groups into Edo State by the Governor.”
He requested for an undercover investigation into the convoy of Governor Godwin Obaseki with a view to identifying all arms-bearing personnel and ascertains their status.
But a statement by Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser, Media and Communication Strategy, to Obaseki noted there was no shooting.
He said “APC has resorted to the propagation of falsehoods after feedback from the field confirmed that their gubernatorial candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu stands no chance in the September 19 poll.
“They have since called off their abridged and lacklustre campaigns and have now decided to populate the media space with outright falsehoods.
“There was no heavy shooting in Igueben during the PDP’s rally. The Edo State Governor has been warmly received by his people in Edo Central Senatorial District, known PDP stronghold, with assurances from the people that they will vote en masse for Obaseki.”
He added: “APC leaders sent their thugs to attack the Governor’s convoy in front of the palace of the Omo N’ Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II; APC’s thugs again attacked the governor’s convoy in Apana, Adams Oshiomhole’s ward.