Adeyinka Adedipe, Benin
BARELY 16 days to the Edo State governorship election, the National Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress, has raised the alarm over an alleged plot by its Peoples Democratic Party counterpart to buy votes.
Specifically, the APC accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of obtaining approval from a faction of the State Assembly to borrow N1.5bn from commercial banks for this purpose.
The allegation was contained in a statement issued in Benin on Thursday and signed by the Chairman, Media Sub-Committee of the APC campaign council, John Mayaki.
Mayaki said, “After depleting the treasury of Edo State with his constant illegal withdrawals, most notably the N15bn payment to the PDP leadership of tax-collectors for his re-election ticket on the platform of the divided party, the outgoing Governor Godwin Obaseki is now finalising plans to obtain a N1.5bn loan from a commercial bank for the sole purpose of vote-buying on the 19th of September.”
He also alleged that the Governor Nyesom Wike-led PDP campaign council had temporarily relocated to Benin “to perfect the PDP’s vote-buying plans” in Edo State.”
Mayaki said, “Mr. Nyesom Wike, who desperately wants his newly-acquired stooge to remain at the helm for another four years so he can serve him well in a mulled ambition further down the road, has directed that other PDP governors commit more funds to a designed vote-buying plot and relocate temporarily to Benin City to monitor the disbursement of the funds and execution of the illegal plan.”
Reacting to the allegations, the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, dismissed the claims by the APC.
He said, “There is no iota of truth in this claim. How do you buy votes? We have never undertaken such an enterprise and have always relied on our popularity and the people of Edo State for support to win elections.
“The PDP National Campaign Council from inception of the campaign has always said they will give logistic and moral support to the party in Edo State for this election.”
He added it was not a crime for like-minded governors to support one of their own.
Also, the Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Efe Stewart, said, “The people are with Governor Obaseki. His imminent victory can be likened to a child that has been born, whose pregnancy cannot be aborted.”