By Lucky Isibor
Following the attack on Senator Matthew Urhoghide and a former woman leader of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Mrs Stella Evbuomwan penultimate week, the party has written a Save Our Soul (SOS) letter to the United States Embassy in Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commissioner, the British High Commissioner and the Senate President over alleged intolerance of opposition views by Governor Obaseki and the state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Copies of the letter which was signed by the state publicity secretary of the party, Chris Nehikhare and made available to news men in Benin City, urged the United States Embassy, the Senate and other embassies, High Commissions and other international bodies to call the APC to order.
The letter which was delivered by officials of the party who also met with officials of the various bodies said: “It has become expedient for the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to draw the attention of the Distinguished Senate to the use of thugs and unfair deployment of the agencies of state, particularly the police in the harassment, molestation, intimidation, brutalization, humiliation, arrest and persecution of leaders and members of the PDP in Edo state.
“We wish to state that our recourse to seeking The Senate’s attention and intervention is predicated on the fact that the general elections are around the corner and the orgy of intimidation, molestation, arrest and persecution of opposition members in furtherance of the grand design to undermine the process of a free and fair electoral contest as expected in a civilized democracy has begun”.
Giving graphic details of the attack on Senator Urhoghide, the party said it enclosed video clip showing a blow by blow account of the incident.
“On Friday, April 27, 2018, Distinguished Senator Matthew Urhoghide, senator representing Edo South Senatorial district, elected under the platform of PDP, was in the presence of Governor Godwin Obaseki attacked by APC youths as he disembarked from the plane that brought him from Abuja. After observing the attack, with a smirk on his face, the governor, Godwin Obaseki, climbed into his Jeep and gave a fist pump in approval and solidarity with his thugs for a mission accomplished. A former state woman leader and our youth leader were beaten up mercilessly by these rampaging APC youths and to add insult to injury, our defenseless youth leader was arrested by the police who witnessed the whole sordid episode. See attached video”.
While appealing to the Senate to call the state’s chief security officer to order, the party said the attack was carried out to put the PDP in disarray ahead the 2019 general elections noting that the ruling party has lost grip of governance.
“We see the disingenuous attack on Senator Matthew Urhoghide as a calculated attempt to throw the PDP into disarray and to manipulate the minds of our teeming supporters who are in the majority among the Edo electorate.
“The silence of the National Assembly, especially the Senate, will afford the APC led government the opportunity to step up the plot of harassment, arrest and brutalization of influential and uncompromising members of our party across the state by state sponsored thugs and policemen acting on the directive of the chief security officer of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki.
“There has been a failure in governance as Governor Godwin Obaseki has refused to take steps to stem the marauding herdsmen menace in the state. The maiming and killings of our people, especially farmers in the farms have risen astronomically mainly because of the policy adopted by Mr Governor. These killings are reaching an alarming level and we don’t want Edo state to become another Benue state. It is assuming a political and religious coloration which is a dangerous mix. Instead of Governor Godwin Obaseki to tackle this and provide adequate security for defenseless farmers and other citizens of the state, he is busy intimidating, harassing and brutalizing leading opposition figures in the state in a primitive political and unacceptable way.
“It is not a secret that the leaders of the ruling APC have lost the goodwill of Edo people. They are desperate as it is obvious they are losing Edo State. The leader of the APC in the State, Governor Obaseki, and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is contesting to be National Chairman of APC, have boasted that it is over their dead body that PDP wins the coming national and state assembly elections. Under the circumstances, it is already clear that the Government whose responsibility is to provide security and an environment for a free and fair election is ready to indulge in unwholesome practices, some of which have been activated.
“The grand design of the APC is to subvert the will of the people and if this is not checked it may spell grave consequences for the state.
“We therefore call on the National Assembly, especially the Senate and all promoters of democracy to impress it on the federal government which is in control of all the organs responsible for good governance and the conduct of elections to direct and ensure that the election is not compromised directly or indirectly, before, during and after. They should demonstrate good sportsmanship, having recently been a beneficiary of an election conducted by an incumbent.
In the meantime, the rampaging governor, his predecessor, the APC National Chairmanship aspirant and APC youths should be called to order,” the letter said.