Barely one month to the epic governorship battle in Edo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, said that it had uncovered massive production of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in the homes and offices of key leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Although the PDP, which is the ruling party in the state, failed to mention the specific locations where the cards were being produced and the names of the APC leaders involved in the alleged crime, it said that relevant security authorities have been briefed on the ugly development.
But the APC stated that there is no truth in the allegation, accusing the PDP of planning to create an atmosphere for the postponement of the September 19 in the face of looming defeat.
Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, who made the allegations during a press conference in Benin City, the Edo State capital, said the party was confident it would defeat the APC and its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, during the September 19 polls.
Nehikhare described the ugly development as a clear indication that the APC, the opposition party in the state, was not ready for the forthcoming governorship election. He alleged that rather than prepare for a free and fair contest, the APC had continued to stoke violence with the sole aim of having the election postponed.
The PDP said: “We need to alert the general public that we are aware of the criminal printing of PVCs by APC in some of its offices here in Edo State. I am saying this, not because we are worried that they can use it for elections, but because of the criminal aspect of it and the security agencies have been alerted. Unfortunately, they are not doing anything about it.
“We told them the address where this is taking place and the people doing it, but nobody has been arrested and that is why we are raising this alarm.
They have discovered that they cannot win a free and fair election and they are trying all manners of ways to subvert the will of Edo people. “Their intention is to have the election postponed because they know they will be defeated.
However, we are confident of winning because of the performance of Governor Godwin Obaseki.” In a swift reaction, APC Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Azebamwan, described the PDP’s allegation as a mark of ignorance, stressing that it was a ploy by the PDP to distract Edo people in order to rig the governorship election.
“It is a mark of ignorance for PDP to accuse leaders of APC of criminally printing PVCs. Any politician who does that will be wasting his/her time and money, because INEC’s card readers will reject the fake PVCs.
“PDP leaders are trying to distract and deceive Edo people and other Nigerians about their plot to rig the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, but it will be an exercise in futility.
Edo residents and other Nigerians should ignore the antics, propaganda, misinformation and disinformation of Chris Nehikhare and other members of PDP,” he said. He stated that contrary to what the PDP want Nigerians to believe, it is their leaders that want the election to be postponed.
According to him, the party is not on the ground in Edo State.
“They know that APC’s governorship candidate, Ize-Iyamu, is very popular, with huge followership across the 18 LGAs of the state and he will win the September 19, 2020 election with a wide margin, while Godwin Obaseki will experience a humiliating defeat.
“So, PDP leaders are preparing the ground for their eventual defeat, in order to be able to accuse APC leaders of rigging the election. No truth or merit in the senseless allegation.
Do not forget that PDP’s thugs were responsible for the July 25 gunshots at the palace of Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, and last Thursday’s shootings at Apana in Etsako West LGA of Edo State, but they attempted to blame APC members, in order to cause confusion,” he said.