The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has fingered the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the series of attacks on its members and chieftains, planned to create a sense of insecurity so that it can force the hands of relevant authorities to shift the poll scheduled for September 19, 2020.
The party, in a statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Chris Osa Nehikhare, for its campaign council, said the resort to the underhand tactic was because the APC has discovered so early that its chances in the forthcoming election is slim, as repeated polls, even those sponsored by the APC, have shown that the PDP has 80 per cent approval rating among the electorate.
According to him, “While we have continuously restated our commitment to a free, fair and a non-violent process and contest, we are however saddened by the unfortunate events of violence and attacks on our members and supporters across the state.
“Our supporters have been targeted for intimidation, harassment and in some cases, gruesome attempts have been made on their lives and serious injuries and damage done to their person and properties.
“It has been our policy to play down these attacks as we have strong intelligence that the aim and recently, frequency of these attacks are to precipitate a situation whereby the election is postponed. Our party is ready for the election and enjoys tremendous support from the electorate, a situation our main opponent cannot stomach.”
He said, “On July 21, 2020, at 11.25pm, the residence of Hon. Damian Lawani, Commissioner for Youths and Sports, in Udaba Community, Ekperi, in Etsako Central Local Government Area was attacked. He reported the incident to the police and mentioned the names of the sponsors of the attack. As we speak, no single arrest or invitation has been extended to any of the people he alleged.
“On July 25, 2020, Governor Godwin Obaseki visited the Palace of our revered Monarch, His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare II in company of the Governors of Rivers, Sokoto and Delta states, as well as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, His Excellency, Prince Uche Secondus and other party leaders to pay homage to His Majesty and intimate him of the flag-off of his re-election campaign. Thugs suspected to be hired by leaders of APC ambushed the Governor’s convoy at the Palace gate. It was despicable and sacrilegious to say the least. Reports have been made to the security agencies and no arrests have been made.
“Also, on August 13, 2020, in Apana, Ward 10 Uzairue in Etsako West Local Government Area, Governor Obaseki and his campaign train was ambushed and attacked by hoodlums. It took the intervention of the security operatives attached to the Governor to chase the thugs after a heady gun battle. Another group of thugs had invaded the campaign venue, attacking villagers and other supporters who had converged to receive the Governor and his team.”
Others are “On August 13, 2020, a former Secretary to a local government, Hon. Robert Elamah and members of our party bore the brunt of the brutality of thugs who shot sporadically into his bedroom at his residence in Iraokhor, Etsako Central Local Government Area.
“On August 25, 2020, the Owan East Council Chairman, Hon. Andrew Osigwe and his family were targeted! Gunmen rained bullets on his property while his family was celebrating the birthday of one of his children. Even though no one was injured, severe damage was done to his house and vehicles parked in the compound.”
“Eleven people, mostly elderly were injured. Some seriously. Those currently hospitalized at Ibillo are FRIDAY OGUNSHOLA, AYENI SUNDAY, MONDAY KOMOLAFE, IDOWU OBAYENI, AUGUSTINA PAUL, SUNDAY IFEYOMI. As the APC campaign train left Ososo on the same day, more PDP supporters and members were shot at and three were injured, namely: Ovie Itomo, Michael Akele and Endurance Stephen.
He added that “On August 28, 2020, in Ekpe, Ward 3 in Akoko Edo LGA, PDP members and supporters were viciously attacked during a meeting by masked men who alighted from the last vehicle in the convoy of APC governorship candidate, who was campaigning in the area and opened fire on the gathering.
“On August 30, 2020, at Agbede in Etsako West Local Government Area, our people were attacked viciously in the residence of one of our leaders, Jah Usman. Eleven armed men broke into the compound and shot sporadically, destroying vehicles and inflicting injuries on about ten people. We are informed that at least two people have been arrested.
“Also, on August 30, 2020, armed men invaded the home of Hon. Paul Frank Aronokhale, Secretary to Etsako East Local Government Council. They beat up the gate man mercilessly and rained bullets on the building and cars parked in the compound.
For over 20 minutes, they kept on shooting and spraying the property with bullets from an assortment of sophisticated weapons in their possession. This is the second time in a month that there has been an attempt on the life of the SLG by hoodlums suspected to be APC thugs!”