The build-up to the September 19 governorship election in Edo state has for months been characterized by political violence and blame game between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Apart from the parties bickering over anything they can use to tackle each other, the parties’ candidates have also been trying their best to choke each other with allegations and counter-allegations.
The war of words between the parties started in June after the APC screening committee in Edo State disqualified Governor Godwin Obaseki from participating in the party’s primary election due to discrepancies in his credentials.
Days after his disqualification, Obaseki joined the PDP to get the party’s ticket, while Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who was the PDP’s flag-bearer in 2016, emerged as the candidate of the APC for the governorship election.
However, since the parties announced their candidates, both parties tend to have deployed verbal attacks as part of their campaign strategy to endear themselves to the people of Edo state.
Here’s the timeline of the endless attacks between the APC and the PDP.
Obaseki and Oshiomhole throw jabs over disqualification
Before Obaseki dumped the APC for the PDP, there had been a political battle between him and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, over alleged violation of the party’s constitution and abuse of power.
But days after the APC screening committee disqualified Obaseki from participating in the party’s June 22 primary election, the governor made it known that Oshiomhole was the architect of the allegation the committee used against him.
During an interview on Channels Television on Sunday, August 2, 2020, Oshiomhole said the APC’s decision to deny him its ticket was right because Obaseki is not qualified to contest for the election.
Oshiomhole also said the governor’s secondary school certificate was forged and that he could not have qualified for university admission with the quality of his result.
APC and PDP trade blames over violent attacks in Edo
On Tuesday, July 25, 2020, gunshots rocked the PDP campaign rally and 10 people reportedly sustained injuries.
The incident marked the beginning of the blame game between the APC and the PDP as both parties traded blames.
According to Chris Nehikaira, the PDP spokesperson in the state, the attack was carried out by “some elements loyal to the APC who tried to disrupt the visit of the governor to the palace”.
But while speaking on the attack, the Vice Chairman of the APC National Campaign Council, Patrick Obahiagbon, accused the Edo government and the PDP of being responsible for the violence.
Again, APC, PDP tackle each other over community shooting
The two parties were not done accusing each other when another shooting marred the PDP campaign rally at Apanam in the Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State in August.
Three people were reportedly injured during the shooting that was said to have been carried out by political thugs.
However, while the PDP accused the APC of hiring thugs to disrupt the campaign rally, the APC said some youths loyal to the PDP, who were caught destroying its campaign posters were responsible.
Obaseki seeks to end Oshiomhole’s political career
Governor Obaseki is not only seeking re-election on the platform of the PDP, he also wishes to use the party to end the political career of Oshiomhole, his predecessor and rival.
In August, during his ward to ward campaign tour across the 10 wards in Esan North East Local Government Area, the governor vowed to relegate Oshiomhole by bringing an end to godfatherism in the state.
Ganduje Vs Obaseki
Barely a month after Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State was appointed by the APC to head the party’s campaign in Edo State, the governor launched a verbal missile at Obaseki, describing him as a governor who failed woefully in the area of human development and infrastructure in Edo State.
Ganduje further maintained that the alleged poor performance of Governor Obaseki would prompt the people of Edo to cast their votes for the APC candidate.
Responding to this, Obaseki said Ganduje has no moral right to assess any governor in Nigeria because of the “baggage of the viral video of him stuffing dollars collected from contractors.”
He therefore advised the Kano State governor to clear the baggage hanging from his neck before poking his nose in the affairs of another state.
Ize-Iyamu accuses Obaseki of violence in Edo
Shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Friday, July 7, 2020, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu distanced himself from the violent attacks in Edo, saying Obaseki should be held responsible for every attack in the state.
He said the governor has been beating the drums of war in the state because of the immunity he enjoys.
Ize-Iyamu also accused Obaseki of sponsoring students in the state to disrupt his party’s campaign rally.
Obaseki vows to deal with Edo lions
While speaking during his campaign at Opoji, his ward in Esan Central Local Government Area on Sunday, August 23, 2020, Obaseki vowed to deal with the lions that are planning to disrupt the forthcoming election.
The governor also told his supporters that he had received intelligence reports on why he should suspend his campaign in the area but he decided not to succumb to threat.
PDP cries out over alleged plot by APC to rig Edo election
Two days after the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II expressed his displeasure concerning the political tension and rising violence during a peace meeting with political gladiators in the state, the leading parties in the upcoming election failed to sheath their swords.
On Friday, September 4, 2020, the State Chairman of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare accused Pastor Ize-Iyamu and Oshiomhole of conniving with the Independent National Electoral Commission, to manipulate the governorship election.
He said Lecky has been nominating people “with personal ties with Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu, to rig the election in favour of the APC”.
Obaseki, Shaibu determined to end Oshiomhole
As the governorship election nears, Obaseki and his Deputy Philip Shaibu affirmed their determination to ensure that Oshiomhole, the former governor of the state, becomes a forgotten politician in Edo.
While addressing supporters and party members in Oredo local government area on Saturday, September 5, 2020, Obaseki said Oshiomhole will be buried politically because he does not respect the people of Edo State.
On the same day, the Deputy Governor said he’ll defeat Oshiomhole even in his ward.
Shaibu also claimed that he introduced the former National Chairman of the APC to politics and organised his first-ever political meeting that brought him into power.
Edo Deputy Governor’s wife accuses Oshiomhole of threatening her life
On Thursday, September 10, Maryann Shaibu, the wife of Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, accused Adams Oshiomhole, of threatening her life.
In a petition dated September 8, Mrs Shaibu alleged that Oshiomhole threatened to deal with her during a campaign event, adding that the threat has diminished her capacity to campaign for her husband, for fear of being harmed.
Ize-Iyamu says Obaseki misused his chances for re-election
As the gubernatorial election draws closer, the APC and its candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu in their campaign continue to portray Obaseki as a governor, who does not deserve a second term because he ‘did nothing for Edo people for almost four years.’
During his ward-to-ward campaign at Ogwa, Esan West and Amahor, Igueben Local Government Areas of the state on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Ize-Iyamu said Obaseki missed his chance of re-election when he betrayed the trust of people of the state.
Speaking at the campaign rally, Oshiomhole described Obaseki as a failed governor.
He said, “Today, you are complaining of lack of good roads, no teachers, no water because he failed to continue with my work.”
APC, PDP bicker over rumoured resignation of Edo PDP chairman
A week before the election, the parties had the time to have a go at each other over the rumoured resignation of Dr Tony Aziegbemi, the PDP chairman in Edo state.
According to Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, the APC was responsible for the rumour, saying the APC resorted to fabrications to sway Edo electorate.
Reacting to the allegation, the Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Committee, John Mayaki, said he was not aware of the rumoured resignation.
He however said Aziegbemi does not need to resign because he “will go down in history as a party chairman that couldn’t deliver his candidate to victory.”
Obaseki accuses Oshiomhole of borrowing recklessly
During the Edo Governorship debate organized by Channels Television on September 13, 2020, Governor Obaseki accused Oshiomhole of leaving Edo in debt.
While answering a question about the state’s debt profile, Obaseki said the Oshiomhole-led administration was responsible for the state’s debt burden.
Tinubu and Obaseki cancel each other
On Tuesday, September 15, 2020, what appeared to be the mother of all attacks against Obaseki from the APC camp surfaced on social media with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the party, playing a lead role.
In a short video, Tinubu called on the people of Edo state to reject the governor in the forthcoming election because he doesn’t know what it means to be a democrat.
But hours after Tinubu’s comment became a trending topic on social media, Governor Obaseki fired back, saying the politician’s plan to extend his godfatherism and political empire to Edo state won’t work.