The Edo State chapters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were at each other’s jugular on Monday over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s alleged recruitment of thugs and cultists for the September 19 poll.

Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Azebamwan, accused the governor of appointing thugs and cultists into his government as special assistants and senior special assistants to be deployed to cause mayhem during the governorship election.

However, Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, said in its desperation the APC was trying to bully the good people of the state because “it is common knowledge that the APC is the party that is populated by known thugs and brigands in the many factions that exist within it.”

Addressing a press conference in Benin City, Azebamwan alleged: “Abusing state powers, and behaving in a manner already seen since his unfortunate emergence in 2016, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has begun massive recruitment of thugs and criminals, but this time, officially into government. He disguises these appointments as legitimate, in the guise of senior special assistants and special assistants. The people raised the first alarm months ago when the outgoing Governor began to dole out SA and SSA appointments in numbers never seen before. Independent verifications and revelations from the divided party that the Governor joined where majority of members are still smarting from his illegal imposition, have revealed that the most recent appointments which were furtively handed out, were given to cultists of notorious history and origin.”

He said Obaseki had caused crisis among cult groups in the state “hoping to employ their brutish and bestial tendencies and unleash it on his opponents and dissenters in the coming days”.

Countering, Nehikhare said: “To reconcile APC thinking that Edo State Government is giving out appointments to thugs and cultists to disrupt the elections when Edo people now call and hail the governor as the Thug and Godfather Slayer, is an obvious display of its desperation to try to bully the good people of our state.

“Governor Obaseki’s fight from the day he took over power was the conscious demobilization of thugs, cultist and their sponsors. This led to the protracted battle of wits that birthed the sacking of their national chairman, fragmentation of the party into small bits and the Governor leaving the prostrate party to the comfort of The Umbrella.”

“We understand the frustration involved in trying to put together a scattered broom but that is not an excuse to tell tall tales and fallacies.’’