By Simeon OSAJIE
Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) have alleged that the executive governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has procured military and police uniforms, arms and ammunitions, for both the Edo State Security Network (Vigilante), known PDP thugs, members of secret cult and members of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) under the leadership of the newly election state chairman of the union, Mr. Odion Olaye, with the plans for them to disrupt the House of Assembly elections slated for Saturday March 18, 2023.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Benin City, Edo State capital, chairman of the party, Col. David Imuse (Rtd) urged the State Police Command to remain vigilant so that the Edo state government troublemakers do not make the state ungovernable and also a call on other security agencies deployed to the state to be aware of their responsibility to avoid a backlash from these criminals.
Part of the statement reads, “In 2019, the enthusiastic people of Edo State profoundly expressed their desire to have a well regulated system of administration that shall continually endured the golden legacies of governance in the state and consequently, elected into the Edo State House of Assembly 24 members elect under the platform of APC. The people were very expectant and indeed hoping that, with the House of Assembly populated by men with robust knowledge, governance will be moderated in a very vivid, lucid and on a pedestal of Eldorado.
“No, Governor Obaseki did not only truncate these noble idea, but also unarguably denied the 14 members elect and their constituents the realization of these democratic dividends by not inaugurating them as members of the Edo State House of Assembly.
“As at date, Edo is the only State without a functional legislature.
“March 18, 2023 is therefore seen by many Edo citizens as a golden opportunity to rewrite history of governance in the state and make the Government accountable to Edo People.”
“In line with this noble objective, and as a party, it is within our knowledge and now in public and political space, without contestation that Governor Obaseki, having being aware of his rejection and that of his party the PDP by Edo people, has now embarked on clandestine and ill moves to truncate and cause mayhem before, during and after the elections particularly in Edo South and Edo Central Senatorial Districts of the state.
“As a party, we have privileged and credible information indicating that the Edo State Governor has procured military and police uniforms, arms and ammunitions, for both the Edo State Security Network (Vigilante), known PDP thugs, members of secret cults, and NURTW under one Mr. Odion Olaye, with plans for them to disrupt the House of Assembly elections.
“Their modus operadi is as set out herein under amongst other: Those with military uniforms will be on patrol, pretending to be soldiers. Those on Mufti will queue up with voters. They will be armed by the Governor with procured and licensed pump action rifles. They are to destroy ballot boxes and other electoral materials in any unit where they are not winning especially during counting of votes.
“They have been given clear orders to shoot when necessary as the Governor has assured them of adequate protection. The Governor has allegedly procured the NURTW under the leadership of Mr. Odion Olaye to transport election materials to unknown destinations where rigging can be carried out. This violent operation is to be ‘carried out especially in Eco Central.and Edo South.
“The People’s Democratic Party government led by Governor Godwin Obaseki is desperate and working hard to create chaos in a way that could spoil an election that should be peaceful and rancor-free.
“We know that the main objective of the governor is to get these fake security personnel and thugs to the designated polling stations in Edo Central and Edo South on the Election Day, to interrupt and terminate elections in the units that the PDP is losing in order for INEC to cancel the results.”
Going further, the statement added: “This contravenes the order of the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police that all thugs, vigilantes, poachers and fake state sponsored security services such as the Edo State Security Network are disqualified to be anywhere near any polling station and collation center on election day.
“With this information, we urge the State Police Command to remain vigilant so that the Edo state government troublemakers do not make the state ungovernable. It is also a call to other security agencies deployed in the state to be aware of their responsibility to avoid a backlash from these criminals.
“Finally, we would like to warm that if these thugs are allowed to express themselves, the state will come under severe pressure.
“We therefore urge heads of state security agencies not to give in to the state government financial incentives, which may reduce the election to one of Obaseki’s PDP versus the Edo people.”
Reacting to the allegation, the Edo State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr. Odion Olaye said the governor has not called him for such an assignment and that the APC has been the ones moving from one community to the other asking them to vote for the APC with the aim of impeaching the state governor.
Also refuting the allegation, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Strategic Planning, Crusoe Osagie said all their allegations were lies.
He said the state governor is committed to free, fair and credible elections in the state.