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APC, PDP Supporters Clash In Edo As Loyalists Fire Sporadic Gunshots Around Benin Monarch’s Palace

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…Edo NUJ Tasks Political Parties To Eschew Violence

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja

There was apprehension at the kingsquare popularly called Ring road on Saturday when supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party clashed ahead of the September 19 Edo governorship election.

Supporters of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Godwin Obaseki engaged in a shoot out around the Benin Monarch’s palace, Oba Ewuare.

It was gathered that APC supporters and the PDP were chanting solidarity songs while their governorship candidates were inside the Benin monarch’s palace for a function.

Trouble started when Governor Godwin Obaseki was said to have stormed the palace of the Oba of Benin,and youths of the opposition APC in the state, raised a song to apparently disparage the governor and his entourage.

In a reprisal, the PDP youths who were at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium for the Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Council for the 2020 Governorship Election flag off, immediately arrived the Benin Airport road and roads linking the Oba’s palace including the Plymouth road, where they engaged in a free for all.

Youths and supporters from both the APC and PDP sustained various degrees of injuries, while motorists scampered for safety as some motorists who were unlucky had their vehicles vandalised in the heat of the confrontation.

Vehicles branded with the PDP and APC campaign logo were spared in the attack as they tried to navigate through the Benin Airport road and the kingsquare.

It took the timely intervention of security agencies present at the palace and other team of police attachment on the convoy of the VIP’s who include Edo billionaire, Capt Hosa Okunbo and the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to halt the violence.

Speaking with The Guardian at the scene of the violence, some youths blamed the fracas on the alleged support for a particular governorship candidate by a prominent Benin Business mogul, who was in the palace accompanied by the governorship candidate when the crisis erupted.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) had prior to the violence on Friday tasked political parties contesting in the September 19 governorship election in the state as well as other stakeholders to eschew all forms of violence and embark on issue based campaign devoid of mudslinging.

Chairman of Edo NUJ, Sir Roland Osakwe and Secretary, Mr. Titus Akhigbe in a communique issued at the end of its Congress urged politicians in the state to play the game according to set rules as well as embark on issue based campaigns in order not to cause mayhem in the state.

Osakwe also advised journalists to be professional in the discharge of their duties by reflecting the views of all political parties.

“The NUJ calls on politicians in Edo state to play the game according to the set rules in order not to cause mayhem in the state. We advise politicians, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo state to observe the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Covid-19 protocols in order to stem the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic in the state as they carry out their campaigns.”Osakwe said.

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