Ahead of the Edo state 2020 off-cycle Governorship Elections, numerous forms of violence have been reported in several local government areas of Edo State in the last 24 hours ranging from Physical violence, Economic violence to psychological violence.
There was violence in some parts of Estako west and Central local government areas of Edo state, where armed thugs alleged to have been sponsored by the opposition All Progressive Congress. The armed thugs staged an attack on different communities shooting sporadically and destroying the campaign billboard of Peoples Democratic Party, Gov. Obaseki, and his Deputy, Philip Shuiabu.
An eye witness at Estako Central Local Government Area said “I saw two Toyota Hilux with one small car with armed men yesterday afternoon, the came out and destroyed the billboard, people ran for their life’s when the saw them with guns shooting the billboard”
Another eye witness further added that ” at about 6 pm, I saw the vehicle drive down the road to make a U-turn and immediately the got here, three men came out with three pump action guns, the came to the billboard and began shooting sporadically and everyone ran for their lives”. “I believe they were hired by the opposition party. The government should empower us with security to guide us because the plan on intimidating us as they know they cannot win, they want to scare us away from voting in our the candidate of our choice ” he added.
About 6 other Local Governments were also affected by these thugs.
The situation has since been put under control and residents of the community insist that there will not be coerced to vote any other candidate except the candidate of their choice in the forthcoming September Governorship election.
It is worthy to recall that in the September 2016 election that the present Governor of the State and candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, Gov. Godwin Obaseki had contested on the platform of the All Progressive Party and won the election but in his last year in office, He had issues with his Boss and former APC party Chairman, Comrade Adams and was disqualified from contesting this 2020 race on grounds of issues surrounding his NYSC certificate because of discrepancies in his name. This leads to his exit of the APC and immediately found solace in the hands of the opposition, PDP who welcomed him with open arms and gave him the ticket and made him the flag bearer of the party.
Violence has been a big problem in the electoral sphere in Nigeria. A good example of an election characterized by serious violence was the Kogi off-cycle election held in November 2019 where about 100 plus distress calls where made in a day reporting different forms of violence of which physical violence was the highest form of violence reported.
One would begin to wonder if 100 plus distress calls can be made in 24 hours, then truly the election was characterized by serious Violence and this should serve as a wake-up call to security agencies as this is a clear Early Warning Signal and should not be ignored. Security agencies should put modalities in place to help mitigate the violence before it gets out of hand.