Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, has raised the alarm over the recent fire incidents in public places in the state, especially markets, accusing the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), of resorting to arson as a campaign tool ahead of the 2023 general elections.
In a statement, Osagie said the APC had deployed arson as one of its campaign tools during the 2020 governorship election in Edo State, during which prior to the 2020 election about five market fire incidents occurred in Benin metropolis with the APC drawing political points from the unfortunate incidents.
“For specifics, in 2020, there were fire incidents in Oba market; Uwelu spare parts market; EDPA building; Santana market; Oliha market and Oka market, among others. The APC, at the time, campaigned with these incidents,” he said.
According to him, “We are seeing a familiar trend in Edo State today as the elections are drawing close. It is indeed curious that since the elections in 2020 till date, we barely had fire incidents in markets. But today, out of the blues, we now have reports of fires in markets. Before you know it, the spokesman for the APC campaign in Edo State is out there crying blue murder that markets are on fire. What manner of witchcraft is that? When did they start caring for Edo people, when we know what they are after is the peoples’ patrimony. The faux tone of care and concern is overused and suspect.
“It is pertinent that we take these matters seriously. It is suspicious and not even circumstantial that the APC is the one reporting these fire incidents. We dare say that they must know about the cause of the fire. It is and has always been a campaign tool for them because they are primitive in their campaign strategies.
“We call on the relevant security agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police Force, to investigate these incidents and invite the leadership of the APC in Edo State to answer serious questions as to what would have been the cause of the fire and how they happen to be using them as a campaign tool.”
The governor’s aide called on Edo people to take particular notice of the antics of the APC and how they have now descended to destroying their markets and livelihoods to score cheap political points.
“We want to let Edo APC know that we are very well abreast of their antics. This trend, we are sure, will not end with just markets. There will be more targets. They would migrate even to public buildings. The security architecture is being placed on high alert in anticipation of these desperate moves.
“We are sure that Edo people are watching and would again express themselves quite strongly at the polls as they had done during the 2020 elections. It is also clear that the APC have not learnt their lessons from what transpired at the 2020 elections.”