The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Tuesday abandoned its scheduled campaign rally in Etsako-West local government area of Edo State, alleging plot by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to attack its members in Uzairue, incidentally where the state deputy governor hails from. The PDP consequently shifted its campaign to Owan East local government area.
State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Osa Nehikhare, who spoke on behalf of the party’s Campaign Council, said: “We have received information that leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC have decided to confront and attack members and supporters of the PDP in Etsako West Local Government Area, where former APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole hails from.”
According to Nehikhare, “We have taken this decision, not because we are timid as a party, but because we do not want to expose thousands of our members and supporters in that part of the state to harm. Our candidate and Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki is a peace-loving leader who places huge premium on the safety of citizens. We had planned going to Uzairue and Auchi but the APC has just released its campaign schedule that shows that they will be at same places too, so that they can launch their planned attacks on us.”
Nehikhare said, “We learnt that the APC campaign team was humiliated and driven out of Esan land, in Edo Central Senatorial District on Monday, by our traditional rulers there. But what we do not understand is why the APC will want to take their frustrations on our members by planning to attack us in Oshiomhole’s local government area.”
However, there must have been some disagreement somewhere along the line. This is because the APC said to have been planning an attack has said that the two parties met over the clash and had agreed to resolution, which though was not made known. The publicity secretary of the APC, Chris Azebamwan dismissed the PDP’s position which he said was contrary to a parley the leadership of both parties had when they discovered a clash in their campaign schedules in Owan-East local government area. He said that the APC could not have had such a plot after such a meeting for cordial campaigns.
Azebamwan said “I will be surprised that Chris Nehikhare will issue such a statement. The secretary of the APC, Lawrence Okah, and his counterpart in the PDP, were able to broker a meeting between the two chairmen just yesterday (Monday) when it was discovered that the two parties have rallies in Owan East on the same day. That is the level of conversation we reached before today. If a party has such intentions as being alleged by the PDP, will we broker such a meeting? It is obvious that the PDP knows what will befall it on September 19th and that is they are bringing this kind of issue. It is either Chris is not on the same page with his chairman, or he wants to be seen to be active by spreading falsehood”.
could the PDP decision have been informed by another factor? Some reports point to a likely rift between the deputy governor and the local traditional institution. A reliable source close to the traditional head of the area, the Ogieneni of Uzairue, Kadiri Omogbai IV hinted that the deputy governor had had a disagreement with the monarch when he attempted to settle the rift between him and Oshiomhole last year. The Ogieneni, according to the source, had suggested that the peace meeting be held at the country home of the immediate past governor of the state being the elder of the two but this did not go down well with Shaibu.
When a few days ago, therefore, the deputy governor reportedly visited the monarch to inform him that the PDP would be holding a rally in his domain on Tuesday, mum was the word from the royal father. After a discomfiting pin-drop silence, the Ogieneni was said to have stood up and withdrew into the inner chambers of the palace.
The deputy governor could, however, not be reached to react to report of the face off with the monarch.