The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo have clashed over alleged plots to rig the September 19 Governorship poll.
Edo PDP Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, at a news conference in Benin, alleged the immediate National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has colluded with a National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Dr Mustapha Leeky, to rig the crucial poll.
He said: “Dr. Leeky, working with Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu, is disrupting the process for engagement of the various ad hoc staff to be used by INEC for the September 19 election.
“The time-honoured tradition, which mandates all political parties involved in the electioneering process to submit names of persons to be used as ad hoc staff, is being abused by Dr. Leeky and his collaborators in the APC.
“Dr. Leeky has skewed the process to ensure it favours one party, whereby the final list released for training of the ad hoc staff has a ratio of 10:1 between the APC and all other political parties.
“It is unfortunate the APC has lost the hope of getting elected through the ballot and the members are working with Dr. Leeky and others in INEC to subvert the will of Edo people.”
PDP in Edo also stated that while it had confidence in the INEC as an institution, it was calling on the electoral umpire to rein in Leeky to have an election that would uphold the will of the people.
It urged the leadership of INEC to review the process of selecting ad hoc staff, demanding Leeky should excuse himself from the process.
But Edo APC Publicity Secretary Chris Azebamwan described the allegations as phantom and imaginary.
He said: “We can tell you authoritatively that the APC has not and cannot delve into the affairs of a statutory body (INEC) recognised by the electoral law to conduct elections in this country.
“This is another ploy by PDP and its governorship candidate Governor Godwin Obaseki to distract Edo residents and other Nigerians from the matter at hand.
“Obaseki is the outgoing governor of Edo State. He should be preparing his handover notes, instead of misleading the people, because he is aware of his obvious imminent defeat. So, there is no truth in the frivolous allegations.”
When contacted, Leeky told The Nation on phone the allegations were false.
He said the issues raised must be in the dream of whosoever imagined them.
Oshiomhole, reacting through his media aide, Victor Oshioke, described the allegations as irresponsible, frivolous and baseless.
He said: “Comrade Oshiomhole is busy selling the SIMPLE agenda manifesto of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to Edo people and he has no time to spend reacting to irresponsible, frivolous and baseless daily allegations coming from the PDP.
“It is now obvious to objective observers that PDP has nothing to tell Edo people about Obaseki’s wasted four years as governor.
“That is why Edo PDP members decided to relocate their campaigns to the party’s secretariat where the Publicity Secretary reels out daily press statements on imagined scenarios.
“PDP is known for rigging. So, members of the party (PDP) know all the ways they rigged previous elections.
“The only way Comrade Oshiomhole knows to win the crucial election is through campaigns, based on what the candidate will do, if he is elected. This is exactly what APC leaders are doing right now, across Edo State.
“As we speak, Pastor Ize-Iyamu; his running mate, Mallam Gani Audu; Comrade Oshiomhole and all APC stakeholders in Edo State are in Edo Central Senatorial District campaigning. Does that look like people planning to rig the poll?”
Oshiomhole also stated the election would be decided by Edo residents with their votes, not by worthless press statements and news conferences where baseless allegations are levelled against eminent politicians.