In Benin, the Edo State capital begins peacefully as many began to throng voting centres and electoral officials and security men take position, as what is considered Nigeria’s most contentious gubernatorial election recent history takes place.
Reports say not less than 200 armed policemen have sequestered the strongman of Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike, in his hotel in Benin.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP and Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are expected to run neck-to-neck in what has become a do-or-die affair in the charged state.
The PDP is crying blue murder and unfair treatment because visiting Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are allowed free rein to move around in Benin.
Other watchers see the PDP outcry as alarmist, “because Governor Obaseki can drive into the hotel with his convoy and immunity, pick Wike up and drive him around, and go whereever he wants”.
PDP spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan laments the siege: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) protests the clampdown on its governors by security agents in Benin City, Edo state capital, ahead of Saturday’s governorship election.
“The national leadership of the party, in a press conference addressed by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, alerted the nation and the international community of the security siege on PDP governors in their lodging in Benin City.
“The party expressed shock that security agents were detailed to surround the lodging of our governors to harass and intimidate them, whereas APC governors, including the governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje, his Imo state counterpart, Hope Uzodimma as well as the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, are left free in the comfort of the residence of the sacked national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole in GRA, Benin City.
“Our party considers this siege as provocative and completely unacceptable as there cannot be two sets of laws for the citizens of our nation. In as much as the APC governors are given the liberty to stay in Benin City, our governors must not be harassed or stampeded to leave the state.
“At any rate, we are confident that our governors will not allow themselves to be stampeded.
“The PDP calls on all stakeholders in the Edo governorship election, particularly the security agencies, to work towards a peaceful, credible, transparent, free and fair election on Saturday” .
Also raising an alarm is Ambassador Akawor Desmond, Chairman Rivers State PDP chapter via Governor Wike’s official Twitter handle.
His comments: “Governor Ganduje and Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State are all in Benin, Edo State carrying out their assignment for the APC without any molestation or intimidation.
“And in a breach of the pledge they made security agencies have decided to harass and intimidate Governor Wike who has not done any wrong.
“Rivers People warn that we shall hold the IGP responsible for anything that happens to our Governor.