Okowa, Oshiomhole clash over poll violence allegation

Oshiomhole said governors funded thugs to perpetrate violence during polls...

Adams Oshiomhole [Premium Times]

What Oshiomhole had said: Oshiomhole, who is also Deputy Director-General of the Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, of All Progressives Congress, APC, had blamed governors for electoral violence witnessed in past elections. He said this at a citizen dialogue session in Abuja, on Tuesday, October 04, 2022.

Oshiomhole, who noted that governors funded thugs to perpetrate violence during polls, urged political leaders to support the efforts of security operatives to ensure the 2023 elections are violence-free.

The APC chieftain also called for synergy among the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, political leaders, and security agencies.

Oshiomhole had said: “When I was a governor and I mean this (you can ask former President Goodluck Jonathan), I did say at a meeting at the villa that sometimes governors contribute to election violence because AK-47 is not as cheap as buying akara.

“When you see many young men who are unemployed wielding AK-47s, who is providing them? So the political leadership has a responsibility, and we need to take that responsibility.

“If 500 voters choose to resort to violence, how many policemen do you want to deploy? Let us accept that as political parties, we agree that in the course of campaigning, at every point, we must emphasise that this election is about freedom to choose and that what is more important is the process, not even the outcome.

‘’We must also know that we (political leaders) have a role to play. If I go to my polling unit and say ‘it’s not a do-or-die affair, let the people vote freely’ and Dino (Melaye) says the same thing in his unit, our followers will not resort to violence.”

Okowa's response: In replying, Okowa of Delta State said he does not know what Oshiomhole was talking about.

Okowa, who is also the presidential running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2023 elections, said governors never participated in electoral violence. However, he added that, maybe, Oshiomhole speaks out of his experience during his tenure as governor of Edo State.

“We don’t perpetrate electoral violence,’’ the Delta governor said.

Speaking through his Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, Okowa said: Perhaps that was what he did when he was governor.

“I think Oshiomhole is in a better position to explain that. Oshiomhole is a former governor. I don’t know whether he perpetrated electoral violence when he was governor.

“Oshiomhole should think of managing the abysmal performance of the APC, rather than trying to distract us with such accusations; he should come to the right lane.”

What you should know: Contacted for their views on the matter, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, declined comments saying that it does not play politics

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