By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party National Campaign Council for the Edo Governorship Election Wednesday said the admission by the Presidency that former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole and the Chief of Staff to Mr. President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, met at the Presidential Villa, “as shown in the trending leaked video,” has confirmed its fears of plot to manipulate the Edo state governorship election.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, secretary, publicity sub-committee of the campaign council, Kola Ologbondiyan said “It speaks volumes that the Buhari Presidency is trying to rationalize the plot by the godfather of the APC candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Adams Oshiomhole, who was captured on the trending video”.
According to him, “by describing the discussion by Oshiomhole and Prof. Gambari, in which Oshiomhole was heard finalizing a plot to clampdown political rivals, as “an innocent conversation”, the Buhari Presidency has further exposed its complicity.”
The text of the press conference read: “This convoluted admission by the Presidency speaks more of the conversation that must have held behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Nigerians were further alarmed by the admission that Oshiomhole, the face of the APC campaign, was at the Presidential Villa for discussions on ’emerging incidents of violence in the run up to the election’ as well as the ‘use of Law enforcement”, in an election in which he and the APC have displayed a desperation to grab power at all costs.
“The question is: when did Oshiomhole become the National Security Adviser, NSA. When did Oshiomhole become a service chief? Is Oshiomhole holding any statutory position in the government or even in the APC, as a party, to warrant a security meeting with the President, if the meeting was not for ulterior partisan purposes on the Edo election?
“This development also points to the obvious fact that the security architecture of our nation has been abandoned by statutory officials and now vested in political hooligans as well as characters like Oshiomhole for suppression of innocent Nigerians and rigging of elections.
“If the meeting was indeed focused on genuinely curbing violence, as being claimed by the Presidency, why were leaders of other political parties and other stakeholders in the Edo governorship election not invited? Why was this meeting centered on the arrest and clampdown of political rivals?
“Our national campaign on Edo State Governorship Election is worried by the discussion between Oshiomhole and Prof. Gambari because of the history of electoral violence that has characterized elections under this administration.
“While our national campaign understands the pedigree of Prof. Gambari, we want to however caution him not to allow his record of service to be tainted with the violence being perpetrated by the APC in Edo as well as Oshiomhole’s repeated calls for clampdown on the Edo people, ahead of the election. The world is watching!
“Furthermore, it is ludicrous for the Presidency to conjure ‘facts’ on parties leveling accusations of violence against one another while pretending towards the attack on the PDP leaders at the Oba’s Palace in Benin, which has been in the public domain.
“Till date, the Presidency has said nothing over the meeting held between the APC candidate, Ize-Iyamu and some thugs, where he was seen on a viral video, giving instructions to them to break electoral laws and use violence to rig elections for him.
“As at the moment, nobody has been arrested or questioned by the security agencies and nothing has been heard from the Presidency on that callous invitation to public violence.
“Recently, the campaign train of our candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki had suffered several attacks from APC thugs. In these attacks, Governor Obaseki was firmly defended by the people of Edo state, who had vowed, in their majority, to re-elect him because of his performance and personal integrity.
“Despite these attacks and the outcry by the people of Edo state against Oshiomhole and the APC, there has been no investigation or arrest of culprits, neither did the Presidency condemn such nefarious acts.”