THE Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress on Thursday alleged that the Edo state government was planning to use its Edo State Vigilante Network to intimidate the opposition and manipulate Saturday’s elections.
The APC made the allegation in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Peter Uwadiae, on Thursday.
The party alleged that there was a secret move by Governor Godwin Obaseki to use the Edo State Vigilante Network to “intimidate, harass and cause mayhem during and after the elections, particularly in the rural areas of the state.”
It said, “It must be noted with serious concern that the Electoral Act 2022 did not and never envisaged the use of vigilante personnel for security duties during elections. For the avoidance of doubt, the only security agents contemplated in the Act for security duties during elections is the Nigeria Police Force.”
But the Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, described the claim by the APC as a false alarm.
He said, “How can we be accused of such an intention in an election that we are going to win? The APC just sit down and cooks up stories; they don’t have evidence to back up their claim, besides we are so confident we are going to win. Why should we disrupt an election that we are going to win?”
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said, “We have said that there is no quasi-security outfit that will participate in the election; only the Nigeria Police and other sister security agencies (are allowed by law).”
The Managing Director, of Edo State Investment Promotion Office, Kelvin Uwaibi, while addressing journalists on “The 2023 Presidential Elections and Possible Impact on Businesses in Nigeria,” urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Federal Government, and other stakeholders to collaborate in order to hold credible and peaceful elections in February and March.
Uwaibi noted that distorted elections anywhere in the world negatively impact the business environment, resulting in job losses and an unproductive economy.