By Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Edo State, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, engaged in a verbal duel yesterday over the governorship election in the state, with the main opposition party accusing the APC and its candidate of plotting to rig the election.
But in a response, Ize-Iyamu described as shameful and lack of tact, PDP’s decision to field the incumbent Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, it had roundly condemned as a non-achiever as governor, as its candidate.
PDP yesterday upbraided the APC for plotting to use fabrications in a section of the media to arm-twist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to manipulate the election to favour Ize-Iyamu.
The party said in sponsoring fake reports that PDP leaders were putting pressure on INEC’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on the election, the APC had exposed its hopelessness over its rejection by the Edo people and was seeking to blackmail the commission.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, “Whereas we understand APC’s despondency over the soaring popularity of our party and candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki, the APC is worsening its woes by sponsoring fabrications against the expressed will of the people of Edo state to re-elect Governor Obaseki in the September election.”
He added that the APC by now should know that people will resist any alleged by the party to rig the election.
“Our party counsels the APC to blame nobody but themselves for having a discredited nomination process and being stuck with a blighted candidate, who has now become a symbol of a direct affront by corrupt political godfathers and cabal to the will, ability and liberty of the people of Edo state to chose their own leader,” the PDP said.
According to it, the APC should blame itself for presenting a candidate who was exposed by the party’s former national chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, as a person of questionable character, a treasury looter, acid bather, rusticated student; a politician, who is only good for “night meetings” and unfit to hold office as governor of Edo State.”
PDP explained that the APC should also hold Oshiomhole responsible for indicting its candidate as a “fake pastor” that started carrying the Holy Bible because he could not practice as a lawyer.
Also, the main opposition party said it was disgraceful 73 days to the election, all the APC could offer was blackmail against PDP leaders, after its plans to derail the election had been exposed.
“It is common knowledge among Nigerians that characters being paraded by the APC as the face of their campaign in Edo State were foisted into office through rigging, bloodletting and manipulation of election results,” it stated.
The PDP, in reference to Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, who chairs the APC campaign committee for Edo State, said Nigerians knew how the “Gandollar” election was driven by mercenaries from neighbouring countries who disrupted electoral processes and inflicted injuries and pain on the people.
Ize-Iyamu described as shameful and lack of tact, the PDP’s decision to field Obaseki it had condemned as a non-achiever as governor of Edo State.
In an earlier statement issued by Mr. John Mayaki, the Director of Communications and Media, of his Campaign Organisation, Ize-Iyamu said it was confusing that “today, the PDP is singing Godwin Obaseki’s praise, claiming he is the almighty, the saint, the blameless after parading him as a failure who deceived the courts and INEC with counterfeit credentials.
According to him, “The same PDP dragged Obaseki before a Federal High Court, pointing out the inconsistencies in his academic records, seeking judicial order to stop him from assessing the corridors of government.
“Today, the PDP says Obaseki has initiated programmes and policies in Edo State when only a few weeks ago, before their tax collectors were settled, the party branded the embattled governor a complete failure who reversed the growth and development of Edo State.
“The naked truth is that the PDP has neither plan nor strategy for winning this election or to lead Edo State. They, therefore, resort to the only one thing that works for failures: excuses and mudslinging.
“Although yet subtle, what PDP is doing is simply the use of an opponents’ negative publicity to show its lack of content, vision, ideas, and as a shield for the internal wrangling ongoing in the party.”