May 31, 2012

Edo guber poll: PDP accuses ACN of arms build-up

AHEAD of the July 14, governorship election in Edo State, National Deputy Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Sam Jaja, yesterday, in Benin, accused the Edo State Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, of massive arms build-up.

He also denied rumours that President Goodluck Jonathan was supporting ACN governorship candidate, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, against PDP candidate, Major-Gen Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), saying, “The President, as a person, is a member of PDP and product of PDP. For anybody to say that the President would not support his party in any election in this part of the country, that fellow must be telling the greatest lie any person has ever told.”

Jaja, who addressed newsmen in Benin after leading a 19-man special fact-finding delegation of PDP to assess the state of the party in Edo State, said: “In the course of going round, we found out that ACN was building an army they called vigilante groups with a view to destabilising the state. They had built up arms and ammunition and by the grace of God, they will not see the light of day.”

He accused ACN of planning to use thugs to rig the election, adding that people in ACN in the state were only accusing PDP to divert attention from their plans.

However, Edo State ACN Chairman, Mr. Thomas Okosun, has denied the allegation of arms build-up , saying that his party had never believed in the use of arms or force to win elections.

He said: “We believe in fairness to win election; that is why we preach one man one vote. The PDP people are the ones who believe in rigging election and the use of force. I don’t know where they got that impression from.”

Meanwhile, Jaja, explaining why the special committee was constituted by the leadership of the party, he said that the party was worried by the rumour in the state, and that the delegation was mandated by the national Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to ascertain the veracity of allegations that PDP was an orphan in Edo State, and that President Jonathan was supporting Oshiomhole for the July election.

He said: “The rumour was so peddled that people believed it could be true. We came to find out how it had affected the fortune of PDP in Edo State.”

He insisted that Edo people voted overwhelmingly for PDP in 2007, as the ACN government in the state was the product of the court. “This is what we want to challenge on July 14. If the people truly voted for PDP in 2007, they will repeat it on July 14.”