The Media Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki for allegedly blackmailing teachers and sportsmen in the state to support his re-election campaigns ahead of the Sep 19 governorship election.
The APC Council disclosed on Wednesday, that it has been receiving credible reports from various teachers across the state, detailing how the governor has been making forceful attempts to force them to join him for campaigning rallies or forfeit their pay.
Meanwhile, some people in the Sports Commission also claimed that they were forced through text messages to attend a rally that was reportedly organised to drum support for the PDP candidate.
A statement released by the APC Chairman of the Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki disclosed that: “Obaseki has introduced desperation and blackmail into our body polity. He is now coercing teachers under state pay to canvass for his rallies in the buildup to the September 19 elections.
“This report was revealed after aggrieved teachers in the state cried out protesting the threat to withhold their monthly payments if they resisted the imposition. Teachers were compelled to attend the rally dressed in Edo BEST blue t-shirts.
“They were also mandated to attend the rally with their teachers’ tabs. Other members of the school non-teaching staff were also given colour-coded uniforms to appear in. It was reported that if teachers were absent from the rally they would be denied their pay.”
However, Obaseki’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie reacted to the allegation and described it as claptrap. He said the governor and his team have no reason to intimidate people to support him because his work can speak for him.
“The governor does not need to coerce teachers to support him. That is preposterous. No such thing happened. Obaseki’s following is organic and real. There is no such thing as threats for anyone to support the governor.
“The strongest supporters of the governor are teachers, whose lives and careers have been transformed by the governor’s reforms. As against what obtained in the when teachers were ridiculed, we have made them more marketable, improved their skills, and introduced them to more exciting ways of teaching and learning,” he said.