By Jethro Ibileke
The All Progressives Congress, APC and the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC have described the latest allegation by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that they are plotting to frustrate the September 19 Edo gubernatorial election as cheap blackmail.
Edo chapter of PDP had in a statement issued on Thursday by its publicity secretary, Chris Nehikhare, in Benin urged the National Electricity Regulatory Company (NERC), to sanction BEDC if it goes ahead to cut off power supply to collation centres to allegedly enable the opposition APC rig Saturday’s governorship election.
The party also alleged that the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has deployed private jets and helicopters to move money from Lagos to Edo State, to rig the poll in favour of his party.
He said: “We want to use this medium to call on the National Electricity Regulatory Company (NERC) to sanction Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), if they go ahead with orders issued by the management, which is in bed with the APC, to cut off power supply to the collation centres across the state at critical times on Saturday, September 19, with a view to compromise the election.
“We are alerting BEDC and its management that we are aware of their plot and Edo people would vehemently resist the role of cooperates in attempting to undermine their will in this election.”
The Edo PDP spokesman described as vexatious, alleged plot by Tinubu to deploy huge money to swing voters.
“We once again bring to the notice of the general public, lovers of democracy and other stakeholders in the forthcoming Edo State governorship election holding on Saturday, September 19, 2020, plots by the All Progressives Congress and the leader of the party in Lagos, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to deploy private jets and helicopters to move money from Lagos to Edo State to rig the poll in favour of the APC.
“Edo electorates were on Tuesday awaken to a vexatious broadcast by Tinubu, where he insulted the intelligence of all Edo people by asking them to overlook the developmental strides made by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor and hand him the treasure of the state to extend his empire to our dear state.
“We have it on good authority that Tinubu, working in cahoots with the leadership of the APC in Edo State, has gone a step further from the inciting broadcast by sending down helicopters and private jets loaded with money in an attempt to buy our state and annex it as a part of his fiefdom.
“We want the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), observers and other stakeholders in the electoral process to take note of this move and ensure necessary actions are taken to avert the sinister plot to subvert the will of Edo people come Saturday, September 19.
“Edo people are, by this notice, alerted to the plot to trample on their power of choice and lock them in perpetual servitude to the whims and caprices of a Godfather in Lagos.
“Come this Saturday, we urge our people to send a strong and unequivocal message to the Godfather in Lagos and his minions in our state that we are still the same people that fought off slave masters and charted a course for ourselves as the Midwestern Region,” Nehikhare said.
But in his reaction, the head, corporate affairs, BEDC, Mr. Tayo Adekunle, described allegation of plot to cut off power supply to collation centres as cheap blackmail.
“It is a cheap blackmail, there is no iota of Truth in it. BEDC is purely a business entity, as such, we remain apolitical. Even the product we distribute is a universal product and we remain neutral,” he said.
APC State Publicity Secretary, Chris Azebamwan, described PDP’s allegation against Asiwaju Tinubu, as baseless and ridiculous that should be discontenanced.
According to him, “PDP started by issuing a statement that Tinubu has issued a directive to all the twenty local governments in Lagos State to contribute funds in Edo State.
“Tinubu is not the governor of Lagos State, he has no authority over local governments in the State. In any case, local government are now autonomous from the State.
“It simply illustrates how desperate the PDP is to engage in negative propaganda because it has no political manifesto to sell to the Edo people. So, the allegation should be discountenanced. It is a ridiculous and baseless allegation.”