By Deborah Coker/Nefishetu Yakubu
Benin, July 26, 2020
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo on Sunday traded blames over Saturday’s clash among their supporters.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that supporters of both parties clashed on Saturday around Ring Road area in Benin, the state capital.
The PDP leadership and the National Campaign Council for the Sept. 19 governorship election in the state had visited the palace to infor the Benin Monarch, Ewuare II, about their presence and mission in the state.
Trouble started when some persons alleged to be supporters of the APC’s governorship candidate, Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu, booed Gov. Godwin Obaseki, leading to the clash that left some people injured.
In a reaction, Chief Dan Orbih, Chairman, South-South Caretaker Committee, PDP, condemned the violence and alleged that it was masterminded by the APC.
Orbih said, “I condemn the unfortunate incident that took place yesterday in the course of the official visit of governors and members of the PDP National Campaign Council, to the Palace of our Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, Ogidigan.
“I want to place it on record that the visit was officially communicated to the palace and the various security agencies.
“In the entourage were PDP leaders, the party’s national chairman, members of the national working committee, Governors of Rivers, Sokoto, Delta, and of course the host Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
“I want to also place it on record that there was no official APC event in the palace or anywhere in Benin, that was so communicated in accordance with INEC guidelines,” he said.
Also, the Vice Chairman of the APC National Campaign Council, Patrick Obahiagbon, condemned the clash at a news conference in Benin.
Also, the National Vice Chairman, Media/Communication Committee, Ize-Iyamu Campaign Council, Patrick Obahiagbon, at a news conference in Benin, accused the Edo Government and the PDP of being responsible for the violence.
“On Saturday, July 25, the governor’s army of thugs descended on protesters at the entrance of the palace of our great king.
“This sent many to the hospital with gunshot wounds, because they dared to express their rejection.
“Our plea to INEC, the police and other relevant stakeholders is to request the governor to allow the rule of law and a level democratic playing field to hold supreme,” he said
He alleged that the Edo Government, under the guise of flagging off its campaign invited “tax collectors” to deplete the resources of the state.
He added that with seven weeks to the governorship election, violence in the state was unacceptable and urged security agencies to rise up to thier responsibilities.