Tony Osauzo, Benin
Signs that the September 19 gubernatorial election in Edo State is heading for violence emerged yesterday, with the All Progressives Congress (APC), raising the alarm, alleging destruction and removal of its outdoor billboards and campaign posters and those of its candidates, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his running mate, Mallam Gani Audu, which were erected at strategic points in Benin City and beyond.
Addressing journalists in Benin City yesterday, the vice-chairman of the Publicity Committee of the APC National Campaign Council, Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon said: “This unfortunate and criminal action took flight on Thursday, when the Edo State government, expressly told one Mr. Dave Giwa Amu, who is parading himself as the Managing Director of the Edo State Signage and Advertising Agency, to commence the immediate removal and destruction of our billboards.
“It is pertinent to note that these outdoor billboards and indeed other campaign materials were duly paid for, designed and erected in full compliance with all legal requirements,” Obahiagbon said.
He said his party, the APC, had submitted a petition to the state Commissioner of Police, Johnson Babatunde Kokumo, and INEC on the incident.
But reacting to the allegation, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, denied claims that the government destroyed campaign billboards of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu, saying that the allegations were belated antics of a routinely recycled politician who has nothing to offer to Edo people.
In a statement, Osagie said the allegations were ludicrous and unfounded, stating that the tactic is true to Ize-Iyamu’s approach to politics, which has never won him any success in previous elections.
“Anyone who knows Ize-Iyamu very well knows that this is his approach to politics. He raises the alarm and cries wolf when no one is chasing him. The state government has not removed any of his billboards. This is cheap blackmail to score lame political points.