By John Mayaki
In continuation of its defeatist campaign strategy hinged on blackmail, propagation of falsehood, deference to subornation and mischievous, dangerous twisting of facts to both incite violence and stoke division, the Edo State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its eleventh-hour underperforming candidate, who lacks achievements, character and an agenda in collaboration with its national leadership of tax-collectors, sponsored an open letter asking the President, H.E Muhammadu Buhari, not to meet with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the party’s candidate in the September 19 Governorship election in Edo State. The letter was purportedly written by ‘Concerned Edo State APC Stakeholders’.
Using its well-known, and discredited, 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 the said 700 million naira case instituted in court by the EFCC, in which the candidate was named as a party to.
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” represents enough reason for the President to turn his back on a candidate, who emerged as the state’s All Progressives Congress flagbearer, at the successful primary election he ratified. The meddlers also construe that on account of the above non-issues, the president should divorce himself from the candidate whom he asked all organs of the APC, at the State and 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, having undergone the stress to commission the writing of the laboriously lengthy essay to police and direct the associations of the President, carefully avoided outlining details when it came to naming all those accused in the said case, and instead settled for the concealing “four other accused persons” line that reveals its contradiction each time it attempts to shamefully weaponize the case against Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu whose soaring popularity and wide acceptance in the State is responsible for their jitters and 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 Mr. Tony Aziegbemi, the current Chairman of the Edo State Chapter of the PDP, and 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.
The election of Mr. Tony Aziegbemi as the Chairman of the Edo PDP and the appointment of Mr. Dan Orbih as the Chairman of the Campaign Council of the PDP came after the filing of the 700 million naira suit by the EFCC, and 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 which 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.
Summarily, the PDP, in its own argument and robust defence of its leaders, Mr. Tony Aziegbemi and Dan Orbih, had already vindicated Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. This is further corroborated by the fact that although the case was for an alleged improper practice that took place in 2015 over the campaign funds of President Goodluck Jonathan when he was seeking re-election, the PDP, in 2016, unilaterally elected and backed Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as its Governorship candidate.
Even for a toddler, it is clear that the turn-around today, and the open letter to the President, is a political, though unintelligent, reactionary attempt to cause setback to the progressive strides of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the APC to victory on the 19th of September having won the goodwill of the people of Edo State.
Although these faceless persons claim to write on behalf of Edo people at home and in the diaspora, the mendacious claim is exposed by the deluge of endorsements received daily by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from the people of Edo State across the world, including prominent members of Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s government and family, who are resigning in numbers never seen before, because they are convinced of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s integrity, competence, and documented manifesto to move Edo State forward.
We are confident that Mr. President is well-aware of the vicious, unprincipled, and mindless attacks on innocent people and their reputation by the PDP, having been a victim of their flexible principles and morality himself. Therefore, he needs very little convincing on why their jejune demand, alongside the shameful insistence on dragging others into their campaign of calumny to hide the failure of their candidate, stems from their approaching defeat on the 19th of 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 and poisoned our polity with due to its unforesightful methods.
Mayaki is the Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council