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Edo 2020: PDP says admission of Villa leaked video confirms clampdown plots

Edo 2020 PDP says admission of Villa leaked video confirms clampdown plots

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council for the Edo Governorship Election said the admission by the Buhari Presidency that the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, met at the Presidential villa, during which, as shown in the trending leaked video, they discussed the arrests of certain individuals ahead of the September 19 election has confirmed the nation’s worst fears.

In the video, Oshiomhole was seen walking briskly alongside  Gambari at the presidential villa and muttering, “arrest…deal with and the whole… will change,” Mr. Gambari responded saying “we will go beyond”.

Reacting to the viral video, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, dispelled the allegations.

“It is very important to strongly dispel misguided messaging amongst commentators, rights activists, advocates and journalists who have been reacting to a trending short video clip, alleging that the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and Chief Adams Oshiomhole, the former All Progressives Congress, APC chairman had hatched a plan to arrest opposition individuals ahead of the September, an election in Edo State,” Shehu said.

READ ALSO: Edo 2020: PDP protests clampdown on its governors by security agents

He described the video as “an ingenious patchwork of mischief, extracted from an innocent conversation focused on the emerging incidents of violence in the run-up to the election.

“It is equally a fact that various political parties campaigning in Edo have leveled accusations of violence against one another. In such a heightened state of uncertainty, responsible leadership must ensure that elections are conducted in a peaceful manner and if warranted, judicious use of law enforcement to protect lives and properties of citizens is mobilised thus preventing criminal elements from subverting the democratic process.

But the PDP said the video speaks volumes that the Buhari Presidency is trying to rationalize the plot by the godfather of the APC candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu,  Oshiomhole, who was captured on the trending video, plotting to use compromised security operatives to clamp down on certain unnamed Nigerians to achieve political suppression and rig the Edo governorship election.

The party stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, addressed by its National Publicity Secretary and  Secretary, Publicity Sub Committee National Campaign Council on Edo Governorship Election, Kola Ologbondiyan.

Ologbondiyan noted that the Presidency and the APC cannot post a denial because they have been caught and exposed by the Nigerian people, who generally detest their lies, propaganda, underhand methods, resort to violence, and rigging of the election.

He said: “By describing the discussion by Oshiomhole and Prof. Gambari, in which Oshiomhole was heard finalizing a plot to clampdown political rivals, as “an innocent conversation”, the Buhari Presidency has further exposed its complicity.

“This convoluted admission by the Presidency speaks more of the conversation that must have held behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Nigerians were further alarmed by the admission that Oshiomhole, the face of the APC campaign, was at the Presidential Villa for discussions on “emerging incidents of violence in the run-up to the election” as well as the “use of Law enforcement”, in an election in which he and the APC have displayed desperation to grab power at all costs.

“The question is: when did Oshiomhole become the National Security Adviser (NSA). When did Oshiomhole become a service chief? Is Oshiomhole holding any statutory position in the government or even in the APC, as a party, to warrant a security meeting with the President, if the meeting was not for ulterior partisan purposes on the Edo election?

“This development also points to the obvious fact that the security architecture of our nation has been abandoned by statutory officials and now vested in political hooligans as well as characters like Oshiomhole for suppression of innocent Nigerians and rigging of elections.

“If the meeting was indeed focused on genuinely curbing violence, as being claimed by the Presidency, why were leaders of other political parties and other stakeholders in the Edo governorship election not invited? Why was this meeting centered on the arrest and clampdown of political rivals?

“Our National Campaign on Edo State Governorship Election is worried by the discussion between Oshiomhole and Prof. Gambari because of the history of electoral violence that has characterized elections under this administration.

“Already, our National Campaign has been made aware of plots by Oshiomhole to design fake military, police, and other security agencies’ uniforms for APC thugs with the view of using them to unleash violence and clampdown on traditional, faith-based and community leaders in Edo state on trumped-up charges.

“While our National Campaign understands the pedigree of Prof. Gambari, we want to however caution him not to allow his record of service to be tainted with the violence being perpetrated by the APC in Edo as well as Oshiomhole’s repeated calls for clampdown on the Edo people, ahead of the election. The world is watching!

“Furthermore, it is ludicrous for the Presidency to conjure “facts” on parties leveling accusations of violence against one another while pretending towards the attack on the PDP leaders at the Oba’s Palace in Benin, which has been in the public domain.

“To date, the Presidency has said nothing over the meeting held between the APC candidate, Ize-Iyamu, and some thugs, where he was seen on a viral video, giving instructions to them to break electoral laws and use violence to rig elections for him.

“As at the moment, nobody has been arrested or questioned by the security agencies and nothing has been heard from the Presidency on that callous invitation to public violence.

“Recently, the campaign train of our candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki had suffered several attacks from APC thugs. In these attacks, Governor Obaseki was firmly defended by the people of Edo state, who had vowed, in their majority, to re-elect him because of his performance and personal integrity.

“Despite these attacks and the outcry by the people of Edo state against Oshiomhole and the APC, there has been no investigation or arrest of culprits, neither did the Presidency condemned such nefarious acts.

“How can a Presidency, under whose watch a police helicopter was deployed to fire tear gas canisters at the electorate, as witnessed in the Kogi election, pretend to be supporting the will of the people?

“How will a government who watched the members of its party burn an innocent PDP woman leader, Mrs. Salome Abuh to death, in Kogi State, without any forms of reprimand, claim to detest electoral violence and expect the public trust?

“How will Nigerians believe such gibberish when it is on record that in spite of the manifest electoral violence, vandalism and horrible manipulation by the APC, the Buhari Presidency had always come out to congratulate power grabbers, such as it did in Kogi, Kano, Ekiti, Ondo, Imo, elections among others.

“However, in this Edo election, the PDP wants to assure the APC and their leaders that the people of Edo will never allow the Kogi, Kano, Ekiti, or Osun scenario to play out in their state.

“Let it be known, and clearly too, that the PDP is standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Edo state to resist Oshiomhole’s fake Police and other fake security operatives they are planning to import into Edo for the September 19 election”.

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