The camps of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State and a socio-cultural group, Binin Renaissance, yesterday engaged in war of words over bribery allegations in efforts to prosecute the September 19 governorship election in the state.
The leadership of the PDP in the state said that the APC in what it described as a “desperation of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves to win Edo State at all cost,” have decided to allegedly ‘raid’ NEXIM Bank and bleed it to the outrageous tune of $500 million.”
Similarly, members of the Campaign Organisation of APC candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu, yesterday challenged Governor Godwin Obaseki to confess the amount of dollars he allegedly paid to the PDP in exchange for the party’s ticket instead of distracting the people of the state with videos involving Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State.
Meanwhile, a socio-cultural organisation, Bini Renaissance, had accused the PDP and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, of allegedly plotting to discredit the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and accuse the Nigerian Police of bias.
Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Mr. Chris Nehikhare said: “This outrageous sum of $500 million, we were informed, would be converted to a loan and the burden of repayment placed on Edo people, adding that; “The APC Federal Government has not been able to establish “anything” in its five years in power, but has been responsible for the decimation and crippling of the many it inherited.”
But, the APC Director of Communication and Media of its Campaign Organisation, Prince John Mayaki, also asked Obaseki to reveal the amount of state funds he allegedly wasted on his ‘ill-thought and treacherous Oshiomhole-must-go’ project.
Mayaki said: “It is unfortunate that Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who he described as ‘the outgoing Governor of Edo State,’ has continued in his ways, chief of which includes the abuse of office and utilisation of state purse and agencies to pursue personal ambitions.”
Besides, the Publicity Secretary of Bini Renaissance, Mr. Timothy Omofuma, alleged that the “jittery PDP” is moving ahead with a plan to harm the reputation of INEC and the police with premeditated and sponsored breaches in the bodies’ servers and other operational processes.
The organisation said: “In a desperate move to maintain relevance, as his name had been fast leaving the lips of Edo people, and his significance fading in their minds, he has compelled the state agency to display a disputed video involving Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State.”
Mayaki said, “This irresponsibility and desperation flout all the principles of decorum, decency, and honesty enshrined and expected of a gubernatorial personality. It shows, clearly that Obaseki lacks character and good spirit. As an aspirant seeking a second term, Obaseki further casts himself in the negative light with this thoughtless act.”
He noted that; “Since his emergency cross-carpeting to the PDP, and his imposition as the party’s candidate, the party has been consumed by much ado, chagrin, wrangling, and bad blood. This is simply because of what both party members of the PDP and independent observers have said: Obaseki, in the usual PDP style, had rained dollars, hence buying the party’s candidature in the hands of taxpayers and at the expense of longtime aspirants.”
But Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, when contacted yesterday on phone for comments on the allegations, did not answer calls to his cell phone.
According to Mayaki, “The question is no longer if it happened as it has been corroborated by the best person to corroborate it; the precious Nyesom Wike of the loquacious and venomous order. The contemplation is now in the area of the real amount expended and what part of public fund bore that brunt.
“Instead of providing answers to this, and the amount of state funds he wasted on the Oshiomhole-must-go project, he actively pursued for nearly two years at the detriment of governance in Edo State, Obaseki is seeking means to deflect attention from himself and distract the people with other inconsequential matters.”
The media aide to the APC candidate said: “Offered with a platform such as a screen at the heart of Ring Road in Benin City, the syate capital, one would have thought that the governor would display his achievements and records in office to the people. That he settled to use such a platform for cheap blackmail reveals the failure of his tenure and the kind of campaign he intends to run.”
“Mr. Obaseki and the PDP have run out of wits and their campaign of calumny, bitterness, and division, as opposed to one driven by fact-based records and policy discussions governed by civility will only strengthen the resolve of Edo people to reject them in September,” he stated.
Members of the Renaissance group said PDP was also plotting to infiltrate INEC’s data base with supporters while recruiting former militants from Niger-Delta and other surrounding states as part of plans to manipulate the outcome of the Edo governorship election.