From Tony Osauzo, Benin

The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, drew the attention of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police to alleged threatening of violence by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the September 21, 2024 Governorship election.

The party in a statement signed by its State Acting Chairman, Emperor Jarret Tenebe, said the threat “is a clear indication of the desperation of the PDP, which is losing grounds.

“In particular, we call on the security agencies to immediately arrest one Rev Olu Martins, who claims to be a preacher during the day but is actually a vandal at night.

“In a viral video as the Deputy Director General of the Asue Akintunde Ighodalo Campaign Council, Rev Olu Martins is seen calling for the vandalization of campaign materials of opposition parties and threatening any opposition to the PDP candidate”.

The statement also said the PDP Deputy Director General in the viral video openly asked a well known cultist, Director of Operation of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s ‘police’, the Edo State Security Network (ESSN) to attack anyone who fails to embrace the PDP and its fading candidate.

“In the event that the security agencies fails to rein Olu Martins and his irks in, the alternative is a call for anarchy.

“We also urge the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take note of all these infractions, surrounding the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration in the state, where the PDP through the 18 Local Government Council Chairmen has decided to register minors. These are obvious threats to the peace of our state.

“We will not endure any form of violence or cultist activities perpetrated or sponsored by the state.

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“On our part, we shall continue to work towards ensuring a peaceful and free election. However, our civility can only be guaranteed in an atmosphere of egalitarianism”, the statement added.

The APC also frowned at and condemned the recent blanket banning of the Okaighele, a traditional leadership group in Edo South communities, by Governor Godwin Obaseki on the pretence of a wholesale accusation that they are cultists.

The party explained that the historical origins of Okaigheles in Edo South were rooted in the traditional administrative structure of the Benin Kingdom.

“They are a segment of the age-long Benin traditional administrative structure, which includes age grades and senior sons and known to all Edo people.

“Their functions includes assisting the Odionwere (village head) in the daily administration of the domain, ensuring peace and harmony in the communities.

“Interestingly, the Oba of Benin Palace has already confirmed that Okaigheles are not a new phenomenon in Benin and have been part of the traditional system for centuries.

“They are responsible for maintaining law and order in line with Benin native laws and customs.

“We are aware that Governor Obaseki’s decision to ban them unilaterally without recourse to the Benin Palace and the traditional authority that appointed them in the first place or even the State legislature is informed by his plan to give free space to the cult-infested Edo State Security Network (ESSN) to subvert the September 21, 2024 Governorship election”, the APC alleged.

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