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YIAGA identifies 13 LGs in Edo as trouble spots, urges peaceful polls

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• APC alleges PDP govs planning vote buying
• Judge withdraws from suit challenging Ize-Iyamu’s eligibility

Ahead of the September 19, 2020 Edo State governorship election, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa has identified 13 of the 18 councils in the state as potential hotspots of violence.

YIAGA board member, Ezenwa Nwagwu, while presenting its first Pre-Election Observation (PREO) report, listed Etsako West, Etsako East, Etsako Central, Owan West and Akoko-Edo in Edo North Senatorial District among the flashpoints.

In Edo South, Nwagwu noted that YIAGA’s report listed Oredo, Orhionmwon, Egor, Ovia North-East and Ikpoba-Okha, while Esan Central, Esan North-East and Esan West were fingered in Edo Central.

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According to him, the two dominant parties in the race – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) – are guilty of violent rhetoric and other acts. He cited the PDP rally in Apana Community, Etsako West, where the two parties clashed.

Nwagwu further disclosed that Gender Based Violence (GBV) was recorded in Orhionmwon, Oredo, Ikpoba/Okha, Etsako Central, Owan West, Esan West and Ovia North-East councils. He maintained that there had been a surge in cult activities, attributing it to a subculture of violence built around helmsmen, thugs and cult members.

Blaming the situation on the belief that elections could not be won without violence and the support of thugs, he said the situation was direr because of the proliferation of weapons, which was evident in the free use of firearms at campaign venues.

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YIAGA’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo, urged security agencies to curtail the use of firearms and other weapons and sanction culprits.He charged them to neutralise existing security threats in Edo to enable the electorate vote in a peaceful and secure environment.

MEANWHILE, APC has alleged that PDP governors were planning to fund vote-buying in the state.In a statement on Wednesday, the Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, John Mayaki, said the plan was decided at a secret meeting recently.

“But they will receive the biggest shock of their lives on September 19,” Mayaki stated.He called on security operatives and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to strengthen their operations and protect the integrity of the ballot.

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THE, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has withdrawn from the suit challenging the qualification of Osagie Ize-Iyamu as APC candidate in the election.

The judge opted out of the suit yesterday following the second petition filed against him by one of the lawyers representing APC.

Taiwo, who was close to tears when announcing the receipt of another petition against Ize-Iyamu, regretted that his (judge) integrity had been maliciously called to question.

“It was disturbing to receive a petition from a party in the suit seeking the transfer of the case. The contents of the petition are wicked and unsubstantiated. It is very disturbing that counsel would write this petition and even back it with an affidavit,” he said.

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