The National Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 19 Governorship election in Edo State yesterday, accused the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of destroying the campaign billboards of its Governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and his deputy Mallam Hani Audu in the state.
Besides, it has also petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Johnson Babatunde Kokumo on what it tagged as “criminal act” , adding that it would forward same to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
It said the billboards and campaign posters are located at strategic points in Benin City and beyond.
National Vice chairman of the APC Publicity Committee of the Campaign Council, Hon Patrick Obahiagbon at a press conference held in Benin City, the state capital described the action which he said came to the open on Thursday as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘criminal.’
But the Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, in reaction flayed claims that the government destroyed campaign billboards of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu, noting that the allegations are “belated antics of a routinely recycled politician who has nothing to offer to Edo people. He is crying wolf when no one is chasing him” .
Obahiagbon cautioned that the “outdoor billboards and indeed other campaign materials were duly paid for, designed and erected in full compliance with all legal requirements.”
He said, “We are convinced that this act of intolerance, carried out with impunity, foreshadows what the Edo state government has in store for the Edo voters and our supporters in the September 19 Election following the emergence of incontrovertible facts that Mr Godwin Obaseki is on his way to an embarrassing defeat.”
He disclosed that, “This unfortunate and criminal action happened on Thursday, the 16th of July, 2020, when the Edo state government allegedly expressly told one Mr Dave Giwa Amu who is parading himself as the Managing director of the Edo state Signage and Advertising Agency, to commence immediate removal and destruction of our billboards.”
The Campaign Council also pointed out that, “the Edo state Signage and Advertising Agency, purportedly led by the so-called Mr Dave Giwa Amu, an avowed supporter of the incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki, is an agency that is yet to receive the assent of the Edo state House of Assembly as the bill for its creation and operations is still being considered in the legislative chamber.”
According to Hon. Obahiagbon, “this agency, as of today, is unknown to to the laws of Edo state and is being weaponnized by the state government, an interested party in the election, to give itself an illegal, unfair, unethical, fraudulent advantage as we approach the polls.”
He said, “This is an egregious and opprobrious escalation of other recorded acts of abuse of office and disregard for the law on the part of the Edo state government.”
“It is unfortunate that as the chief executive of the state who is expected to commit to peace, rule of law and avoidance of rancour, Governor Godwin Obaseki has continued to heat up the polity with reckless and provocative comments, media blackmail and criminal actions of intolerance including the mass destruction of opponent’s campaign materials.”
Obahiagbon stated that the party and its candidate “remain confident that Edo people already know where to place their thumbs on the 19th of September and would not be cowed by the last kicks of a dying horse,” stressing that “we will nonetheless stop at nothing to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the state and that the governor is made to come to terms with the fact that all Constitutional powers have limits and responsibilities and that as it has been said by scholars, nobility commands responsibility.”
But the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Efe Stewart when contacted through phone and sms yesterday failed to react to the allegations.
Meanwhile, Crusoe Osagie, in a statement yesterday said the allegations are ludicrous and unfounded, stating that the tactic is true to Ize-Iyamu’s approach to politics, which has never won him any success in previous elections.
According to Osagie, “Anyone who knows Ize-Iyamu very well knows that this is his approach to politics. He raises the alarm and cries wolf when no one is chasing him. The state government has not removed any of his billboards. This is cheap blackmail to score lame political points.”
He added, “Ize-Iyamu is a politician that assumes relevance during every election cycle. This is what he does for a living and has no other job. It is not surprising to see these statements from him and his team. He should not be taken seriously, and his statements should be disregarded.
“He would go back to his cocoon after he has been defeated at the September 19, 2020 election and would most likely resurface after four years to repeat this cycle. So, we are used to his childish charades.”