In Edo, PDP, APC at war over suspicious plot to rig council election.
Strong indication has emerged that the People Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state are at a loggerhead over rumoured vote buying in the upcoming September 2, 2023 Local Government election.
According to Tribune, the state Chairman of Edo PDP, Tony Aziegbemi, revealed that the APC was planning to rig the election with N150 million earmarked for vote-buying.
“We are once again drawing the attention of the world and all lovers of democracy to the glaring fact that the APC is attempting to rig the Local Government elections scheduled for Saturday, September 2, 2023, by mobilising N150 million from the Niger Delta Development Commission to execute their evil plan to buy votes and rig the elections.
“It is regrettable and disturbing that at a time when Edo people are suffering as a result of the criminally neglected federal roads and the biting economic hardship supervised by the APC led Federal Government, the party is deploying NDDC’s resources to subvert the will of Edo People.”
“It is shameful that the APC-led federal government is using funds meant for the development of the oil-rich Niger Delta to buy votes. We are sure that the resort to this shameful tactic is because the APC is certain of defeat,” he added.
Aziegbemi said that the N150 million should be deployed by the NDDC to fix the failed federal roads in Edo State. And if they are desirous of winning the elections they should campaign and sell their programmes and candidates to Edo people.”
Reacting to the allegation, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Assistant Publicity Secretary, Ofure Osehobo, in a statement said the party was ashamed by the spurious allegations made by the beleaguered factional Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tony Aziegbemi, regarding a plot to rig and buy votes in the upcoming Local Government elections using N150 million from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“These allegations are baseless and unfounded, but coming from a decapitated body, it is understandable. The Edo PDP is on life support. Nevertheless, the Edo APC is committed to a free and fair election process, and we believe in the power of our people to choose the next crop of Local government leaders without any external interference or manipulation. But this is a far cry with the junta in Edo.
“The factional PDP Chairman’s statement regarding the use of NDDC funds is misleading and lacking in evidence. The NDDC operates independently and has its own budget and priorities. Any insinuation that NDDC funds will be used for illegitimate purposes is a blatant attempt to tarnish the reputation of the commission and the APC. But Mr Aziegbemi cannot understand this.
“We also find it ironic that the Edo PDP whose leader, for want of a better label, Governor Godwin Obaseki,has already written the results of the elections with PDP candidates as chairmen/councillors across the 18 local government areas is the party raising concerns.
“For the records the Edo APC calls on the PDP to retract it’s wild allegations. We believe that Edo people should have the opportunity to choose their leaders based on merit and cannot be swayed by false information and baseless accusations from a losers party like the PDP.
Also speaking at Edo South APC stakeholders meeting yesterday, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd), director of administration and finance in NDDC, described the PDP allegation as spurious, noting that there was no proof of NDDC involvement in the election.
He noted that the PDP was jittery over it’s impending loss at the polls, stating that the APC was ready to take the lead in the state starting with the LG polls on Saturday.
“What evidence do they have? They are already jittery that APC is coming out strong to take charge. The election has nothing to do with NDDC and I think they are already getting the feeling that there is an underground movement in the APC to come out victorious next Saturday. The more rumours they bring out, the ready we are to debunk them”, he said.
He urged the APC members not to be distracted by rumours, urging them to come out en masse on election day.