Sunday, August 28, 2016 10:57 pm
The hitherto peaceful campaigns for the September 10 gubernatorial election in Edo state, is taking a violent twist, following accusations and counter accusations of attacks on their each other campaign trains by the two leading political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress.
In the latest of such accusation, the APC alleged that thugs loyal to the PDP attacked the campaign train of its candidate in the governorship poll, Godwin Obaseki, abducted five persons while 10 others were wounded at Illushi, near Ubiaja, in Esan South East local government area of the state.
APC also said two campaign vehicles belonging to the party were also damaged in the attack after a governorship rally in Illushi.
The party said those injured and hospitalized after the attack include Maleke Idowu, a popular artist in Benin and Senior Special Adviser to the Governor, Jonathan Orukpe, personal driver to the governorship running mate, and Sani Kamil, the Sound man, who were seriously beaten and the wind screen of their vehicle smashed.
The attack reportedly occurred at about 9pm on Saturday immediately after the rally. The victims were said to be packing their sound equipment when the armed thugs arrived.
According to Maleke, “We were beaten, molested and almost thrown into the River Niger by some of the thugs, who repeatedly shouted at us for daring to come to the area, which they claim have been secured for the PDP governorship candidate.
“Before they started, the thugs, one of them referred to as Lucky, took away our phones, and asked us to sit on the floor, it was when they heard that security agencies have been mobilized that they left and a woman from the community, assisted us to escape. We are looking for five of our boys right now and even their Hilux and a bus,” he narrated.
Speaking on the incident, the APC governorship candidate, Godwin Obaseki, who described the attack as shocking and desperation of the PDP, urged security operatives to fish out the perpetrators, even as he said the matter has been reported at the Divisional Police Headquarters at Ubiaja, Esan South East.
He disclosed that “there was an earlier threat that we should not come to IIushi to campaign but we said we must go to llushi. We got there, had a peaceful rally at Illushi and part of my convoy was waylaid and supporters abducted, taken into the bush, beaten, molested and some of them have been gravely hurt. We do not expect this level of violence from the PDP supporters at Illushi.
“I have always believed in peaceful campaign and despite this, I have appealed to our supporters to be calm, we are law abiding people. But the PDP must produce those abducted, that is criminal and wicked. We cannot be intimidated and you know what, they should not take our calmness for foolishness, it is a warning, Ize-Iyamu and others must know,” he said.
It would be recalled that the PDP had earlier also alleged that its campaign convoy was attacked at Jattu by suspected APC thugs in two vehicles last week.