The crisis rocking Edo state All Progressives Congress (APC) continued on Friday as a group Concerned Edo Citizens Forum, (CECF) has cautioned political parties against the adoption of direct primary to select its candidate for the September governorship election citing the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement signed by Convener and Secretary of the group Comrade Roy Oribhabor and Barr. Osamwonyi Ibude while commending President Muhammadu Buhari on the manner the pandemic is being tackled advised citizens to maintain and abide by government guidelines in stemming the spread.
“As Concerned citizens, we are seriously worried about the political activities in Edo state because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s on record that this deadly virus has no respect for status and positions hence our worries.
“We hereby call on all political parties in Nigeria contesting for the gubernatorial election in Edo state to consider the mode of primaries that will help reduce the spread of coronavirus and also reduce the potency accordingly”.
But the faction of the APC in the state loyal to the party’s national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) detailing alleged plans by Governor Godwin Obaseki to scuttle the party’s primary election slated for next month with inflated cases of COVID-19.
According to Lawrence Okah, the State Secretary of the party who signed the letter addressed to INEC’s Chairman, Governor Obaseki has instructed the testing of fictitious 300,000 persons to announce “fake positive results to serve as a foundation for the scuttling of the party’s primary election scheduled to hold on 22nd of June.
“The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has concluded plan to scuttle the primary election of the All Progressives Congress scheduled to hold on 22, June 2020. The pretext is that if held, the primary election will escalate cases of COVID-19 infections in Edo state.
“The irrefutable information is that the Governor has directed that medical tests be carried out on fictitious persons of up to 300,000 (three hundred thousand). The plan is to deliberately increase the number of persons declared to be infected with COVID-19 as justification to lock down Edo State throughout the period scheduled for the primary election in the state.”
The party condemned the governor’s actions as a show of desperation and called on INEC, NCDC, Police, DSS and other security forces to refrain from succumbing to his desperate antics at scuttling the scheduled primary election.
But the Secretary of the faction loyal to Obaseki, Pastor Joseph Osagiede said “Lawrence Okah is not APC secretary, therefore, I cannot respond to his utterance”