Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu yesterday traded blames over the bloody attacks by suspected political thugs loyal to both camps of the PDP and the opposition APC in Benin City, the state capital.
The groups had clashed in front of the palace of the Oba of Benin, HRM Oba Ewuare II shortly after leadership and governors of the PDP paid a courtesy visit on the Benin monarch in his palace as part of activities to mark the flag-off of the governorship campaign of the PDP, that held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin – City.
But the Edo State Government yesterday condemned the attack on its guests, notably governors and other very Important Persons (VIPs), at the Oba’s Palace, sequel to the flag-off of the campaign. Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, in a statement, said the thugs were sponsored by the APC, its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the sacked National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who he said had in the past few days engaged thugs to cause mayhem in the state.
But, the Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, in a statement said the governor had instructed his thugs to attack the people as retribution for their public booing of his arrival with various chants labelling him a thief and rejected candidate and for spurning his rally allegedly attended by tax-collectors and mobilized thugs.
Osagie said: “We are appalled by the deployment of thugs to the sacred grounds of the Oba’s Palace by the APC, Ize-Iyamu and Oshiomhole to harass guests who are in the state for the flag-off of Governor Obaseki’s campaign and had visited the palace to pay obeisance to His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin.
“While we respect the boundaries of politics as it relates to the Palace, it is reprehensible that the APC, its candidate and their enablers would sponsor thugs to desecrate the palace, which is a clear case of desperation to score cheap points.
“This conduct is not a trait of Edo people and is condemned in the strongest possible terms, as we are courteous and welcoming to guests. It is obvious that these persons were mobilised for this task by those who have no regard for the palace nor want the progress and development of the state,” the statement said. He urged PDP supporters not to retaliate, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari is a law-abiding President.
However, Mayaki accused the governor and his loyalists of destroying their own billboards at few locations in the state as a gimmick to deflect responsibility and get a reprieve for the alleged organised destruction of APC billboards after the party filed a petition with the Police and other relevant agencies.
“It is sad that Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the outgoing Governor of Edo State, has, today, Saturday, July 25, displayed the same traits of intolerance and penchant for violence that made the people of Edo State unanimously reject him,” he said