Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council for the Edo 2020 Governorship Election, Nyesom Wike, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot be standing his administration’s anti-corruption fight on the head.
He is, therefore, challenging the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its supporters to show evidence where President Buhari announced that he has endorsed a man who is facing corruption charges.
News portals at the weekend were awash with reports that President Buhari endorsed Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the governorship candidate of the APC.
The President reportedly gave the endorsement on Friday when he received Ize-Iyamu who was led to the Presidential Villa in Abuja by the APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.
He presented the party’s flag to the APC candidate in the presence of two other governors elected on the party’s platform.
They are Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State.
Apparently shocked by the news of the endorsement, Kick Corruption Out of Nigeria (KCON), an anti-graft group, immediately petitioned President Buhari, over the APC governorship candidate.
The petition was submitted on Saturday, 24 hours after President Buhari allegedly endorsed Ize-Iyamu at the President Villa, Abuja, noting that the president must have endorsed Ize-Iyamu without knowledge of his alleged corruption trial or has surrendered the battle for partisan exigencies.
Ize-Iyamu is allegedly being in a Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, the Edo state capital, with former Edo Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen; ex-Edo People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Dan Orbih; incumbent chairman, Tony Aziegbemi; and Efe Erimuoghae-Anthony as defendants.
KCON spokesman, Lawrence Chukwu, has, however, declared the photograph of Buhari giving Ize-Iyamu the APC flag as “a tragedy and an indication that once you are on the side of powers that be, you can continue to steal the country blind.”
The petition said the fact that Governor Ganduje was beside Buhari and Ize-Iyamu demonstrated that corruption is being celebrated in Nigeria’s number one office and residence.
The group accompanied the petition with Ize-Iyamu’s charge sheet, witness statement, banker’s statement, bail application, cash officer’s statement and bank MD’s statement.
The petition also accused the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), of exerting influence on the Federal High Court to frustrate the Ize-Iyamu’s case.
Wike berated the former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, for his continued claims that Governor Godwin Obaseki is not a graduate even when the University of Ibadan has affirmed that he graduated from the institution.
Wike who is also the governor of Rivers State, challenged Oshiomhole to present his academic certificate to Edo people rather than advising them to shun a candidate he claimed to be the brainbox of his administration’s achievements.
“The certificate claims about Governor Obaseki by the former APC National Chairman is a non-issue because he is the best candidate for Edo State. It is unfortunate that we are in a country that somebody that does not have a certificate will question the one that has’’, Wike says.
According to Governor Wike, Oshiomhole does not have the moral standing to tell Edo people not to vote for Governor Obaseki, pointing out that the purported issue of secondary school certificate does not hold water.
While reacting to comments by Oshiomhole during the flag off of the APC Governorship Campaign in Edo, he added, “Oshiomhole has trade test which is not an academic qualification. I challenge him to show the world his academic qualification.
“This same man he said has three credits was his brainbox when he was in government. So is it not better for Edo people to support a man that has three credits than to follow someone whom he said was a cultist and fake pastor who destroyed the manhood of his fellow man.
“Oshiomhole is trying to tell Edo people whatever he decides is what will be and this is an opportunity for Edo people to say no. His claim that if APC losses the election they will secure the mandate through the courts is a total confirmation that the Party cannot win the Edo election through the ballot box.
“Securing victory through the courts will be null and void as there are still Judges in Nigeria with conscience who cannot dance to the tune of the APC”, he said.
He said the absence of the President and Vice President at the flag-off of the APC Governorship campaign is a confirmation that he does not have their support.
On the comments by the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu that the action of Governor Obaseki on the Edo State House of Assembly crisis was wrong, Governor Wike stated that he was surprised at his comments.
“Tinubu is one man that I have great respect for so when I read the papers, I was taken aback. It is unfortunate that members that were not inaugurated can turn around to illegally impeach people.
What Governor Obaseki did is what any chief security officer should do. It is justifiable in order to avoid chaos”, Wike says.
Meanwhile, the Rivers governor says his position as Chairman, PDP National Campaign Council for Edo 2020 Governorship Election will not affect the governance and development of the state.
He made this known while speaking to journalists after his routine inspection of on-going projects under his administration’s urban renewal programme.
Governor Wike who inspected the Real Madrid Academy, Port Harcourt, Woji Road at the New Government Reservation Area and Rebisi Flyover expressed happiness with the level of work done at the various project sites.
“Campaign doesn’t mean that you only go outside. We have our own strategy of campaigning. We are liaising with the Edo Local Campaign Organisation on our winning strategies.
“So it does not affect governance and the building of infrastructure to develop the state. The campaign is not distracting me because I am focused on delivering on the promises I made to Rivers people”, he says.
Governor Wike said the August 2020 deadline for the completion of the Real Madrid Academy is sacrosanct.
He, however, stated that government is yet to decide on the September resumption date for academic activities in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Real Madrid Academy is almost ready. So, we believe that with the level of work done so far the August deadline will be achievable,” he said.
Governor Wike also expressed happiness that Julius Berger Nigeria PLC would complete Rebisi Flyover by November this year, three months ahead of February, 2021.