As political parties participating in the September 19 gubernatorial election in Edo State intensify campaigns across the 192 wards in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party Youth Assurance Movement has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is fine-tuning strategies to rig the poll, while Governor Godwin Obaseki, the PDP candidate is coasting to victory on the back of huge grassroots’ support.
National Coordinator of the group, Prince Asunogie Tajudeen, who spoke to journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital on Friday, urged “the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to remain above board as millions of Nigerians, home and abroad, are closely monitoring the events leading to the poll.”
Tajudeen noted: “We are constrained to inform Nigerians and friends of our dear state, Edo, that there is a grand plot by the APC to subvert the will of Edo electorate in the September 19 gubernatorial election.
“Our sources within the APC fold, have informed us of this plot and as democrats, it is our obligation to share this information with Nigerians, home and abroad and all the relevant stakeholders in the Edo 2020 election.”
He added: “We have also been reliably informed that leaders of the APC made frantic efforts to bribe officials of INEC in Edo State to help them rig the poll, but this was rebuffed by the INEC officials. We learnt that the sacked national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, has vowed to do everything humanly possible to ensure Obaseki doesn’t return as governor, even if he wins at the poll. So their next plan is to take the bribery game to the Federal Capital Territory Abuja and ‘penetrate INEC from above’. We appeal to the leadership of INEC to play by the rules and allow the will of Edo voters to prevail on September 19.”
According to the PDP youth group, “From the daily feedback we have been receiving from the PDP’s ward-to-ward campaigns, we can report that Governor Godwin Obaseki is coasting to glory as thousands of Edo people have continued to endorse him for a second term.
“While Obaseki has penetrated the hinterlands to meet with the people at the ward level, commissioned projects executed by his government and assured them of the greater things to come after being re-elected, the APC has only put up appearances in some selected local government headquarters and communities.”
He stressed: “The half-hearted campaigns of the APC, often trailed by unknown persons allegedly ferried into Edo State from Kogi State and elsewhere, confirmed our initial fears that the APC and its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, have a plan up their sleeves to subvert the will of the people.”
The group maintained that “Nigerians are not unaware of some of the rigging strategies deployed in the past, such as; postponement of elections, days to the poll; cancellations of polls where the party seeking to rig is not popular; the use of violence to intimidate people so that voter turnout will be low in some places, amongst others.”