A statement issued by state Secretary of the party, Mr. Lawrence Okah, alleged that the state government has recruited the services of the governor’s Special Adviser on Security, Mr. Haruna Yusuf and former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto to recruit the armed thugs.
“We are aware that the state government has recruited the services of the governor’s Special Adviser on Security, Mr Haruna Yusuf and former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto to recruit these armed thugs. They have been mandated to disrupt the scheduled rally by importing armed thugs from Kogi and Delta states.
“We are raising this alarm so that the world will know that governor Obaseki intends to unleash mayhem on APC members in Edo State after he had perfected plans to join the PDP. We have informed him of the scheduled rally. His deputy has also been informed but they have vowed to disrupt any event that will boost the strength of the APC in Edo State. This claim that cultists are invading the state is arrant nonsense. We are holding APC rally and we have accordingly informed all relevant authorities.
“We appeal to the Inspector General of Police, the Edo State Police Commissioner and the DSS to provide security to our members on that day. We use this opportunity to appeal to the governor to toe the path of peace and avoid violence because no blood of any Edo man is worth the ambition of any body.
“We urge security agents to be at alert because since the preparation for this rally, our members are being harassed while many are being threatened and beaten across the state”, the statement said.
But Adjoto, when contacted on phone yesterday, denied the allegation, saying “It is unfortunate that such statement will come from Chief Lawrence Okah who is somebody I respect so much and I will be shocked if he actually said so. I am a man of peace, I am a stakeholder in this state and the governor is committed to absolute peace in the state. He recently held a security meeting where he preached peace especially in this yuletide season for peace in the state and we are committed to that. I am a man of peace and throughout my time as Speaker in the state, we maintained peace. If actually Chief Okah made this allegation against me, I will seek redress”.
Also reacting, the State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki denied knowledge of the rally.
In another statement, factional chairman of the APC, Anselm Ojezua, said the purported rally was provocative and capable of disrupting peace in the state.
He said the attention of the party has been drawn to an information being circulated by some unauthorised people to the effect that the APC in the state is receiving some new members on Friday 13, December 2019 at Garrick Memorial School, Ekenwan Road, Benin City.
He noted that neither the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who is the leader of the APC in Edo State nor other leaders of the party are aware of the purported declaration rally, adding, “It is therefore highly provocative and capable of creating breach of peace”.
Ojezua urged members of the APC in the state not to have anything to do with the event, saying, “The organisers of that event are sufficiently seasoned and experienced as politicians to know the proper procedure and tradition usually attendant to this sort of event”.