By Bisi Olaniyi, Southsouth Bureau Chief
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo and a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole are in a war of words over alleged planned intimidation of Edo’s voters with soldiers and stockpiling of arms.
Edo PDP, through its Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, at a news conference in Benin, accused Oshiomhole, an ex-governor, of using soldiers to intimidate voters in Benin City and Auchi.
It also accused Oshiomhole of stockpiling arms in his house at Iyamho hometown in Etsako West Local Government Area for the election next Saturday.
It asked security agents to search the Iyamho house of the former governor while urging the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, and President Muhammadu Buhari, to call Oshiomhole to order.
The PDP said: “The September 19 governorship election in Edo State is not a do-or-die affair for Governor Godwin Obaseki, who will emerge victorious.
“We want free, fair and credible election. PDP members and the teeming supporters of the party should not engage in violence. APC leaders are planning to disrupt the election, because they know that the party’s governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, will lose.
“APC members are showing desperation. That is why Oshiomhole is intimidating Edo voters with soldiers, who are likely to be deployed from Kogi, Ondo and Lagos States. It is provocative and unacceptable.
“If the soldiers intimidate Edo voters on Election Day, the people will react. We are asking officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and personnel of the security agencies to stay within their oaths of office they swore to and do the right thing on Election Day, to ensure transparency and credibility.”
But Oshiomhole, while reacting through his media aide, Victor Oshioke, described members of Edo PDP, especially the spokesman, as ignorant and mischievous.
Oshioke said: “It is sad that Chris Nehikhare either lacks understanding of how the Nigeria military is administered or he only addressed the press just to be heard, not to pass credible and worthy information.
“Military movements anywhere in the country are on the strict orders of relevant military authorities. No civilian has the power to use soldiers against anyone, for whatever purpose or reason.
“So, the claim that Comrade Oshiomhole is using soldiers to intimidate voters when the first vote has not even been cast is a chunk of black lie. What is clear is that Edo PDP leaders have been intimidated and embarrassed in the last couple of weeks by the massive followership which the APC’s governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is recording across the state.
“It is obvious that PDP’s Godwin Obaseki will lose the governorship election on September 19, 2020. So, they (PDP members) are already rehearsing the excuse they will adduce their loss to.
“Let it be on record that Comrade Oshiomhole will not under any circumstance intimidate voters, because he is the architect and still a strong believer in one man, one vote philosophy.
“If PDP leaders across Edo are intimidated by the presence of different security agents in the state, it can only be because they fear that such security personnel will frustrate their plans to perpetuate violence and deny Edo people the right to vote for the candidates of their choice.”
Oshiomhole also stated he had never procured arms for any purpose and he would not do so now or in the future, for any purpose.