BENIN CITY – Civil society groups in Edo State have raised the alarm over the rising incidence of violence ahead of the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial election, alleging that the All Progressives Congress (APC), its sacked National Chairman, Comr. Adams Oshiomhole and the party’s candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, were stirring violence across the state with the intention of causing fear and voter apathy in order to action their plans of rigging the forthcoming poll.

The groups while speaking to journalists in Benin City noted that the heightened political tension in the state is a ploy by the APC to ensure low turnout of voters as it will give them the ample opportunity to rig the election.

The Director General, No Sidon Look, Mr. Portrait Peterson said: “The widespread violence in Edo State is alarming and it is consequently causing fear and tension among residents. This is a threat to a peaceful, credible, free and fair election in the state and the government and its agencies must quickly swing into action to remedy the ugly situation, restore peace and sanity in our land and protect Edo electorate.

“With more than a month to the election, these selfish politicians have been mobilising youths to destroy billboards of other candidates and attack supporters and loyalists of perceived political enemies. They attacked the family residence of the Commissioner for Youths, Hon. Damian Lawani, leaving several of his family members injured. What of the attack on guests, notably governors and other Very Important Persons (VIPs) at the Oba’s Palace in Benin City, prequel to the flag-off of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s campaign for re-election? If these are happening now, what then will happen on election day?

Peterson continued: “We say no to the shenanigans and resort to violence by the APC, its sacked National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole and the party’s candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu. They have obviously realised that they cannot win the election in a free and fair contest and have resorted to violence to scare voters on the election day and sustain voter apathy in order to rig the election.

“We urge all youths to say no to violence and get ready with their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to secure their future. We are not a political group but we believe in the continuous development of Edo State, which Governor Godwin Obaseki has relentlessly pursued in the last three years and eight months. A vote for Obaseki is a vote for the well being of the majority of Edo people. A vote for Obaseki is a vote for the future of Edo State. Edo is not Lagos. This state doesn’t belong to one man.”

Also, Secretary of the Forum for Progressive Governance and Accountability, Ohunyon Festus Egbenososa, called on the relevant agencies of government to stop further deployment of thugs in the state and protect Edo people from harm.

He noted: “What we have seen in the last few days is enough to say that they are stirring violence to scare the people on election day in order to rig the election. But I assure them that Edo voters will resist them and their antics.”

“We’re calling on the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police and the state government to swing into action and save Edo people. We cannot continue to allow our youths to be used as tools by these selfish politicians to perpetuate violence.”