June 25, 2024

Edo Guber: Obaseki, PDP Behind Destruction Of LP Billboards – Akpata Alleges

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By Simeon OSAJIE

The Edo State Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in the September, 21, 2024 gubernatorial election, Barr. Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata today, Friday 7th June, 2024 alleged that Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Edo Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are behind the destruction of his campaign billboards located across the Benin metropolis.

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In a press conference in Benin City, on the incessant destruction/pulling down of his campaign billboards in parts of the state capital,  Akpata said you cannot rule out the fact that some persons in the state are taking advantage of the impasse rocking the party to perpetrate what he tagged as “heinous crime”.

According to him, “We (LP) are being targeted, and we must resist it.

Akpata alleged that the Obaseki led ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state colluding with some LGA chairmen in two local government councils were behind the destruction of his campaign materials and billboards, which he said amounts to vandalism.

Claiming that the opposition PDP were not comfortable with his (LP) campaign billboards visibility in the state, Akpata said the Edo LP members and supporters have been alerted to secure all its billboards to put to an end the malicious destruction of its campaign billboards which he called, “criminal and barbaric.”

According to Akpata, “In Oredo Local Government Area, two of my billboards were viciously vandalised, defaced, and ultimately torn down, with explicit threats of more removals to come. The situation is equally dire and unacceptable in Ovia North-East, where two more billboards bearing my visage and campaign messages were mindlessly destroyed by these merchants of antidemocratic forces. In Ikpoba Okha, my campaign team has received unambiguous threats that our billboards in that area will also be targeted for elimination.

“Let me be absolutely crystal clear: these are not the actions of a democratic government secure in its mandate, popular goodwill, and record of accomplishments in office. No, these are the desperate, last-ditch tactics of an intolerant regime terrified of the winds of change blowing across our dear state -a regime paralysed by the fear of the people’s burgeoning yearning for a new direction, a new vision, and a new era of progressive and inclusive governance.

“By resorting to the unbridled destruction of my campaign materials – materials that I have legally and legitimately paid for with hard-earned resources – Governor Obaseki and his handlers have clearly shown themselves to be anti-democratic forces intolerant of divergent voices, dissenting opinions, and the fundamental principles of pluralism that undergird any true democracy worth the name.”

Going further, Akpata added: “To the perpetrators of this undemocratic brigandage – the faceless, shadowy minions deployed to carry out these nefarious acts under the cover of darkness -let this serve as a solemn warning: We, the Labour Party, and indeed all well-meaning citizens of Edo State who cherish our hard-won democracy, shall not be cowed, intimidated, or browbeaten into silence. We shall unapologetically and robustly defend our constitutional right to freely campaign, share our vision, and interface with the good people of Edo State without let or hindrance.

“To the agents deployed to carry out these dastardly acts of impunity, I urge you to search the depths of your conscience and desist from further enabling this descent into the abyss of undemocratic totalitarianism. You are not just vandalising mere billboards; you are vandalising the sacred tenets and ethos of our democracy. You are urinating on the graves of the martyrs whose sacrifices paved the way for the democratic freedoms we enjoy today, albeit imperfectly.”

Reacting to the allegations levelled against State governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki and PDP, the state Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Mr. Chris Nehikhare said the state government condemns any form of vandalism and urges all parties involved to address such issues through proper channels.

“While we understand Mr. Akpata’s frustration, we encourage him to engage with the relevant agencies responsible for the management of signage to settle any outstanding bills or disputes. Threats of violence or disobedience have no place in our democratic process, and all parties should conduct themselves with decorum and respect for the law.

“It is essential that we focus on constructive dialogue and peaceful engagement rather than resorting to tactics that may incite division or unrest. The government remains committed to upholding the rule of law and will address any disruptive behavior, regardless of one’s status or affiliation,” he added.

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