Two weeks into the Edo gubernatorial election, the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressive Congress are still in catastrophe as the PDP has alleged a plot by the APC to manipulate the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
The state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare while addressing journalists on Friday has said the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu; former national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole; and a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mustapha Lecky, as the brains behind the plot.
Nehikhare alleged that the polling officers who were supposed to be National Youth Service Corps members had been changed, alleging that Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu were nominating Police Officers.
He alleged that Lecky was also engaged in influencing the engagement of persons, “with personal ties with Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu, to rig the election in favour of the APC during the polls and undermine the electoral process.
Nehikhare stated, “The time-honoured tradition, which mandates that all political parties involved in the electioneering process submit names of persons to be used as ad hoc staff is being abused by Dr. Lecky and his collaborators in the APC.
“While we have confidence in the INEC as an institution, we are calling on them to rein in Dr. Lecky and his likes, in order to have an election that would uphold the will of the people and one that they can be proud of.
“We hereby call on the INEC leadership to review the process of selecting these officials and request that Dr. Lecky excuse himself from the process as his activities have been revealed to be threatening the integrity of the process, which will taint the outcome of the election.”
However, the state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Azebamwan, described the alleged plot as a phantom and imaginary transaction.
He said, “This is a phantom and imaginary transaction. I can tell you authoritatively that the APC has not and cannot delve into the affairs of a statutory body recognised by the electoral law to conduct elections in this country. This is another ploy by the PDP and Governor (Godwin) Obaseki to distract Nigerians and Edo people from the matter at hand.
“Obaseki is the outgoing governor and he should be preparing his handover notes instead of misleading the people because he is aware of his obvious imminent defeat, so there is no truth in this frivolous allegation.”
Lecky described Nehikhare’s allegation as false, adding that he would not be a party to electoral malpractice. He added that, “It must be in the dream of whosoever imagined it,”
Meanwhile, Obaseki, who is the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State, has said that his administration was building institutions that would outlive individuals.
In his words, “Democracy will continue beyond us; institutions will outlive us. That is why this election is about building institutions”
Obaseki pledged to abide by the conditions of the peace pact reached at the instance of the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II.
He said the PDP and its supporters were committed to ensuring a peaceful and violence-free electioneering, adding that “we will continue to pursue peace, even in face of provocation.”
The PDP candidate urged his party faithful at Wards 6, 7 and 8 in Ighodefeyi, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the state to refrain from retaliation, no matter the level of provocation by the opposition party.
The governor also promised that his administration would train repentant Internet fraudsters (popularly known as Yahoo boys), on advanced Information and Communication Technology and vocational skills in its proposed technology park in the state.
Earlier, Obaseki’s running mate, Mr Philip Shaibu, said it was time for the youths to take their destinies into their own hands.