Some unknown individuals suspected to be political thugs on Friday stormed the venue of a planned rally by Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Auchi, Edo State, destroying the entire arena.
The alleged thugs were said to have set alight the podium, hundreds of chairs as well as two vehicles in Iyekhe area of Auchi.
Oshiomhole, who visited the scene of the arson on Saturday, expressed his displeasure over the incident and declared that no political force in the state could halt his camp from achieving their goals.
He urged his loyalists to maintain the state of peace and not to retaliate, assuring them that God will intervene in the crisis.
The APC National Chairman also said he is not ready to get into any confrontation with political figures in his local base in order not to cause disaffection within members and lose elections in his unit or district.
He said: “When I was told that they burnt this place last night, I said they must be prepared to put more fire in other places because they can’t stop us. But don’t allow anybody to push you to any length that will provoke you to fight. Those who think they have power to fight should channel such energy against the opposition parties.
“What is happening here should reinforce our confidence in God, when God decrees peace, nothing can stop it, when God says it, no man born of a woman can stop it.
“I don’t want to be a national Chairman who will campaign across the country and will not be able to win his polling unit because politics is local. There are people who think that when they reach a high level, they forget the local. I was governor before now I am no longer governor, I am national chairman today, tomorrow I will no longer be national chairman. Let me tell those people in high places that the only permanent place is the grassroots. Politics is a game of numbers not a game for the powerful because on election day all have one vote.”
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Oshiomhole explained that President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to take some steps to correct the lapses observed in the electoral process before he leaves office so that the next election in 2023 would be free and fair.
“What that means is that anybody who wants to rig election is not in Buhari’s country and APC. Buhari said he will not rig election for anybody and want the electoral process where votes count in the country,” he said.
The Edo State chapter of the APC has dominated news headlines for the past few weeks as Oshiomhole, a former Edo State governor, and his successor, Governor Godwin Obaseki, have been at loggerheads over the control of the state party structure.