By Jethro Ibileke
The clash by supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and those of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state, at the entrance of the palace of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II on Saturday, has resulted into bickering as well as accusation and counter-accusation between the two parties.
The state PDP alleged that the attack was sponsored by the APC and its leaders, while the APC alleged that the attack was sponsored by governor Godwin Obaseki and the PDP.
It would be recalled that supporters of the APC and those of the PDP clashed at the entrance of the palace of the Oba of Benin when governor Obaseki and PDP entourage visited the Benin Monarch for royal blessing.
Addressing journalists in Benin on Sunday, the chairman of Edo PDP campaign council, Chief Dan Orbih,
said the attack as an organised plan by APC to eliminate the entire leadership of the PDP and its elected governors who were at the palace and a strategy to drive fear in mind of the supporters of governor Obaseki and PDP so that on election day, they will be scared to come out to vote.
According to him, “The visit of governor Obaseki, PDP governors, PDP national chairman and members of national working committee was officially communicated to the palace and the various security agents in accordance with INEC guide lines.
“There was no official records stating that APC has any event scheduled either at the palace or anywhere in Benin.
“After the governor and PDP guest had left the palace, persons with PDP caps were attacked and their cars destroyed by those who were organised to carry out the attack.
“No amount of violence will stop Edo people who has resolved not to go back to the era where thugs take over the roads and markets, motor parks to harass people.”
Orbih who called on security agencies to ensure arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the attack, added that the attack was sponsored by the sponsors of the APC and its candidate in Edo state.
On his part, the vice-chairman of media and publicity committee of APC national campaign council, Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon, who admitted that his party supporters were protesting at the entrance of the Benin palace to express their rejection of Governor Obaseki, but were attacked by PDP supporters.
“Many of our supporters with gun shot wounds are receiving treatment, following the attack,” he said.
He alleged that supporters and members of the APC who wore Ize-Iyamu’s caps and T-shirts, were physically assaulted in the streets of Benin.
He further alleged that names of prominent leaders of APC have been compiled to be dealt with them so as to destabilise them during the governorship election.
He added that they have also a plan to arrest Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on the eve of the election on trumped-up charges, arraign him in court and deny him bail, in order to paralyze the APC
Obahiagbon therefore called on INEC, police, and other relevant stakeholders to prevail on the Obaseki to allow the rule of law and a level-playing field to prevail between now and the end of the state governorship elections.