In continuation of its defeatist campaign strategy hinged on blackmail, propagation of falsehood, and dangerous twisting of facts to incite violence and stoke division, the Edo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its underperforming candidate, Godwin Obaseki, who lacking achievements and an agenda, in collaboration with its national leadership of tax-collectors, sponsored an open letter asking President Muhammadu Buhari, not to meet with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu – the party’s candidate in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
By John Mayaki
The letter was purportedly written by ‘Concerned Edo State APC Stakeholders’.
Using its well-known, discredited and cowardly letter-writing tactic of putting its words into the mouths, or hands, of non-existent characters portrayed either as ‘concerned citizens’ or ‘stakeholders’ as the current case manifests, the interloping PDP argued, laughably so, that by meeting with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the president will “rubbish” his stance against anti-corruption because of N700 million case instituted in court by the EFCC, in which the candidate was named as a party.
According to the PDP, the case brought before Justice J.M. Umar of the High Court sitting in Benin City, with the suit No. FHC/BE21C/2016, against Pastor Ize-Iyamu and “four other accused persons” is enough reason for the president to turn his back on a candidate, who emerged as the state’s All Progressives Congress flagbearer, at a successful primary election that he, and the highest organ of his party, ratified. The meddlers also construed that on account of the above non-issues, the president should divorce himself from the candidate whom he had earlier asked all organs of the APC, at the state and the national level, to offer all the required support, within the ambit of the law, to win the election.
The first pointer to the ridiculous nature of the argument, and indeed the entire affair, is that the PDP, in the laboriously lengthy essay, carefully avoided naming all those accused in the said case. It instead settled on cloaking the identities of the “four other accused persons” in its shameful attempt to weaponize the case against Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a man whose soaring popularity and wide acceptance in the state is responsible for their jitters hence their sudden interest in letter-writing and literature.
The reason for this concealment, which is already uncovered by the people of Edo State, who have since ignored their childish tantrums, is because the four accused persons include Tony Aziegbemi, the current chairman of the Edo State chapter of the PDP; the man he succeeded in office who, interestingly, also serves as the chairman of the PDP Campaign Council for the Edo Governorship election, Mr. Dan Orbih.
Interestingly, the election of Tony Aziegbemi as chairman of the Edo PDP and the appointment of Dan Orbih as chairman of the Campaign Council of the PDP came after the filing of the N700 million suit by the EFCC. When taken to task on this by curious journalists and other interested persons, the PDP defended both appointments on the grounds that allegations and a court case are not evidence of wrongdoing because of the constitutional presumption of innocence holds that unless convicted by a competent court, accused persons remain innocent of all charges!
Besides, the PDP argued that the said sum, in any case, was sourced from private bodies, not the coffers of government, and it was distributed to its rank and file in the state, who have documents to show receipt and the expending of the sum.
Is it not curious that the same PDP cannot even appreciate that while offering a robust defence of its leaders Aziegbemi and Dan Orbih – that it had by so doing vindicated Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu?
We are here talking of controversies over the campaign funds for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan when he was seeking re-election in 2015, during which Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu also ran as the PDP governorship candidate.
Seen in that context, the open letter to the president would pass for mere political, though unintelligent, reactionary treatise to detract from the progressive strides of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the APC in the run up to the September 19 election.
While these faceless persons claim to write on behalf of Edo people at home and in the diaspora, it bears stating that their mendacious claims are undermined by the deluge of endorsements received daily by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from the people of Edo State. Noteworthy is that the endorsements cut across party lines to include prominent members of Obaseki’s family and government of which some have reportedly resigned, convinced of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s integrity and competence, and on the strength of his documented manifesto to move Edo State forward.
We are assured that the president is well-aware of the vicious, unprincipled, and mindless attacks by PDP hierarchs on innocent people and their reputation, having himself been a victim of their flexible principles and morality. Obviously, the president needs very little convincing on why their jejune demand should hit the dust, alongside the shameful insistence on dragging others into their campaign of calumny to hide the failure of their candidate. All of these, no doubt, stems from their approaching defeat in September.
This clarification is made to unsuspecting members of the public who may be tricked into believing the lies of the ailing PDP. It is a party of power-mongers pitted against themselves by their unrestrained ambitions, and still operating on the “do or die” politics it introduced into our polity.
- Mayaki is chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council