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The Peoples’ Democratic Party in Edo State has raised concern alarm over an alleged plot by the Edo State Government to pressure the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone Saturday’s elections in eight local government areas of the state.
It listed the targeted local government areas to include Orhionmwo, Uhunmwode, Ovia, Esan North-East, Esan South-East, Akoko-Edo, Etsako East, Estako West and Estako Central.
The Edo PDP said the plot was leaked by some covert members of the ruling All Progressives Congress and officials of INEC.
Spokesman of the Edo PDP, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, who spoke at a press briefing in Bénin City voting would be postponed in the eight local government areas to a later day due to what would be termed “logistical problems”.
Nehikhare said the aim was to have stand-alone elections in these local government so that the federal government could unleash their agents of intimidation and harassment to full effect.
Describing the plan as barbaric, evil, and a recipe for chaos that would lead to unprecedented people’s revolt and reaction, Nehikhare said Edo people would not accept, condone or tolerate any display or exhibition of “deliberate incompetence” as excuse to sabotage the general elections.
Nehikhare also raised alarmed that on plans to arrest and detain some PDP leaders ahead of the election over alleged money laundering charges.
He said the PDP would resist any plot for officials of the state to go near any polling unit under the guise of being a security officer.
According to him, “The logistical problem excuse is a lame one that will not fly. The election must hold simultaneously with other elections and no cooked up excuse or reason will be acceptable!
“It’s also appropriate to alert Nigerians that we are aware of the plot by DSS and the Police to arrest our leaders with the aim of removing them from circulation the Wednesday before the elections and thus destabilizing our supporters and members.
“The intimidation and harassment of our leaders is unacceptable, tyrannical and exposes the desperation of this government to hold on to power even as it is clear that Nigerians have rejected them!
“We call on all Nigerians and the international community to condemn this act and prevail on the government to organize a free, fair and transparent election devoid of government intimidation and harassment. It is clear and unfortunate that they are paying lip service to a free and fair election.”
But Governor Godwin Obaseki advised the PDP to go to the streets and villages and campaign to the people instead of raising defeatist alarm.
Governor Obaseki described the allegations as baseless and unfounded.
Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said there as son such plan to postpone elections in any local government areas the State
“These are signs of failure on the part of the PDP. Governor Obaseki is campaigning in different villages.
“They are putting up alibi in the background knowing fully well that the people have rejected them. The PDP will meet defeat at the polls. The PDP should of and campaign instead of dishing out false information.”