By Simon Ebegbulem & Gabriel Enogholase
PDP Governorship Candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, yesterday, joined issues with Governor Adams Oshiomhole, over the governor’s allegation that the PDP was plotting to import thugs from neighbouring states to cause mayhem in the forthcoming election.
This came as the PDP distanced itself from the plot and rather, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, alleged that the governor had recruited a well known Niger Delta militant to recruit others ex-militants that would be used to perpetuate violence during the election.
At a meeting with the Assistant Inspector-General in charge of Zone 5, Benin City, Mr. Adeyinka Kolawole Sodipo, on Wednesday, Governor called on the Police to checkmate alleged plans by the PDP to import thugs from neighbouring states to cause mayhem during the September 10 governorship election in the state.
Urging the Police to provide a level-playing field for all parties to ensure a credible electoral exercise, Oshiomhole had said: “All we need is a level-playing field. We have information about people from other neighbouring states under your zone, who are planning to relocate to Edo for the purpose of the election, some were deployed in the state to register during the continuous voters registration exercise so that they can come and cause trouble on Election Day.’’
“We have a huge challenge in having to ensure that thugs are not imported from neighbouring states to cause mayhem and discredit the election. I believe that an enabling playing field can be achieved regardless of an individual or group that plots to undermine the process.”
The Governor, who chided the opposition party for calling on INEC to ensure that the election in the state is not ‘inconclusive’ said he takes the statement seriously, adding that the state has had no history of inconclusive election since 1999, insisting that the statement credited to the opposition party is indicative of their plan to disrupt the exercise and make it inconclusive.
Distancing itself from the plot, the PDP said: “In actual fact, it’s Adams Oshiomhole that is spoiling for violence! We have announced and drawn the attention of the security services to his many infractions and in his characteristic manner to divert attention from himself, the accused turns around to become the accuser.
“It is on record that renowned Niger Delta Militant Ayirimi Emami who is alleged to be helping Oshiomhole recruit ex-militants to perpetuate violence at the forthcoming gubernatorial election was seen today campaigning with the Governor of the outgoing party in Benin City.’’
The party alleged that Ayiri had been taken to PDP strongholds where violence will be required on the election day. ‘’Ayiri was taken yesterday to Egor LGA which is a sure LGA for the PDP and he’s to be taken to the Home town of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and other locations today,’’ it said.
Commenting on Oshiomhole’s allegation, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, in a statement through his Campaign Organization and signed by Mr. Braine Jatto, said that the governor had continued to level the same accusation against him and the PDP as a ploy to direct the security agents to beam their searchlights on the party and its faithful away from his “devious plans and vilify the opposition and its candidate.”
He continued: “It is worrisome that the governor was making a rehearsal of an earlier accusation he made that the Asari Dokubo-led Niger Delta Volunteer Force, NDVF, was being mobilized to disrupt and cause confusion on Election Day on behalf of the PDP….
“It is no gainsaying the fact that Pastor Ize-Iyamu and the PDP cannot be drawn or dragged into such heinous scheming, which has become the defining trade mark of Edo APC under the master puppeteer, who is mortally afraid of the glaring prospects of his anointed one losing the September 10 governorship election.”