The government of Edo state has accused Adams Oshimhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), of holding a political gathering in Benin, the state capital, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a way of curbing the spread of the virus, health authorities had warned against mass gathering.
In a statement on Friday, Osarodion Ogie, secretary to Edo state government, said Oshiomhole was insensitive and his actions undermine the efforts of the government in fighting COVID-19.
Oshiomhole, a former governor of the state, has been at loggerheads over political differences with Godwin Obaseki, the incumbent governor.
“The coronavirus pandemic has not only shut the global economy and disrupted the world as we know it, it has led to the loss of over 200,000 lives globally, with Nigeria having its fair share of casualties,” the statement read.
“It is then most despicable of Comrade Oshiomhole to show such insensitivity by spitting on the graves of these people; endangering the lives of millions of Edo people and undermining the efforts of government at the state and national levels to halt the deadly campaign of this invisible enemy.
“Comrade Oshiomhole on Thursday, April 30, 2020, organised what some media outlets have come to term as ‘APC faction’s mock primaries’ in Benin City. The meeting was organised by a group of dissidents who make up the EPM with the active backing of Comrade Oshiomhole, who, it was reported, drew up a delegates list for the exercise.
“It must be noted that the gathering was held in a house of a member of the EPM, with the attendants numbering over subsisting directives on public gatherings as prescribed by the national and state governments.
“For Comrade Oshiomhole to organise this sort of gathering at this dark moment of our history as a nation, he has not only shown disregard for the health and safety of Edo people and Nigerians in general, but also proved that he has no regard for the hard-won reputation of our great party.”
The government said the organisers of the event were directly associated with Oshiomhole and had effectively brought the name and integrity of the party to disrepute.
With the alleged action, Edo government said it was also clear that the chairman of the ruling party had no regard for President Muhammadu Buhari and the collective efforts of the various agencies of government to protect and safeguard Nigerians in these dire times.
“It is most instructive of the kind of person that Oshiomhole is that at this time that federal and state governments are seeking for security operatives to enforce directives on safety and other public health precautions, he is deploying policemen and soldiers to a location to hold a political gathering. These security operatives should have rather been at borders and other strategic points serving the people and doing right by the thousands of health workers who are in the frontlines serving as shields against this unraveling enemy,” the statement further read.
The government urged the police and army to investigate the use of their men for “this illegal assignment when there is a national emergency of the kind we are faced with.”
The government also called on Buahri to call Oshimhole to do away with acts that show disregard for and divide the APC.