Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin, Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have traded blames over Saturday’s violent clash at the Palace of Oba of Benin which left many persons injured.
While the APC said the violence was sponsored by the PDP and aimed at subverting the September 19 governorship election, the PDP said it was engineered by the APC to eliminate the governors who came to campaign for their colleague, Godwin Obaseki.
In a statement by the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, the party said the assault on the Oba’s palace was worrisome and a desecration of the Oba.”
He said: “The disturbing images and reports of the destruction of property and violence meted on hapless victims during Saturday’s campaign of the PDP Edo State governorship candidate, Godwin Obaseki in Benin City, the state capital is a glimpse into the “do or die” plot the PDP plans to unleash in the lead up to the September 19 governorship election.”
Also addressing journalists in Benin, yesterday, Vice-Chairman, Media, and Publicity Committee of the APC National Campaign Council, Patrick Obahiagbon alleged that the Edo State government has perfected a plan to detain former Governor of the State, Adams Oshiomhole, over trumped-up charges on the eve of the election and also burn down a farm belonging to a business magnet, Captain Hosa Okunbo, for allegedly not supporting the second-term bid of Gov Obaseki.
He further accused Obaseki and the PDP of unleashing thugs and cultists on the protesters, who he said, were expressing their rejection of the PDP.
“Information has reached us from sources in Obaseki’s government that the governor has plotted and perfected a criminally initiative aimed at subverting the will of the people.
“Having read the handwriting on the wall that he faces a monumental defeat and electoral opprobrium on the 19th of September, Obaseki aims to illegally strike what he deems the head and important political leaders of our party with the hopes of subverting the election. Names of prominent leaders of the APC have been compiled to be dealt with, intimidated, harassed, terrorized, physically assaulted, and lacerated by state-sponsored goons”, Obahiagbon said.
Meanwhile, the PDP said the violence at the Palace was sponsored by the APC. It accused the APC of plotting to eliminate the entire leadership of PDP and the attending PDP governors.
In an address to journalists in Benin, the state Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih, described the incident as unfortunate, saying the visit was officially communicated to the Palace and the various security agencies.
He said, ”I want to place it on record that the visit was officially communicated to the Palace and the various security agencies as the PDP leaders visit included the National Chairman, members of the National Working Committee, governors of Rivers, Sokoto, Delta states, and of course, the host, Gov Obaseki.
“There was no official APC event in the Palace or anywhere in Benin that was so communicated in accordance with INEC guidelines. There was no official communication with the security agencies and the palace that APC was also going to have an event at the palace.
“The APC organised attack at the Palace, is in our view, a political mutiny, against constituted authority, capable of causing inter-state conflict and war between Edo State and the respective states of the visiting governors that were marked down for elimination.”
Orbih, who is the South-South National Vice Chairman of the PDP urged the security agencies to investigate and bring those connected with the incident to book and described the assault on the palace as an abomination.