For calling on the people of Edo State to reject him at the polls on the ground that he’s facing what he called a “criminal trial” over the controversial N700 million 2015 campaign funds of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, on Saturday lampooned his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Isaiah Osifo, a doctor of political science, describing him as a “political jobber” lending himself to be used by the state governor, Godwin Obaseki. Ize-Iyamu is Obaseki’s main challenger in the imminent governorship election.
Osifo, a lecturer in the department of political science, Igbinedion University, Okada, had at a press conference in Benin City on Thursday, criticized the choice of Ize-Iyamu, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, as the APC candidate in the September 19 governorship election in the state, being one of those standing trial for campaign funds disbursed to the state chapter of the party during the 2015 general elections.
Also facing prosecution for alleged money laundering charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are the former and incumbent state chairman of the PDP, Dan Osi Orbih, and Tony Aziegbemi respectively. Late Tony Anenih, erstwhile leader of the party was also being prosecuted. His name was however struck out after his demise. Osifo said the emergence of Ize-Iyamu showed that the leadership of the APC was not interested in good politics and morality. He said “The ‘Act’ and ‘Intention” of his choice was morally reprehensible and disrespectful to the collective good conscience of all the good people of Edo State.
According to the LP candidate, “The minimum the Edo people should ask for is to improve on the current level of verifiable development in the state and vote for a candidate with abundant evidence of political, administrative and academic credentials required for a reasonable and responsible development in Edo State. Out of the 14 political parties contesting the governorship election in the state, it’s only APC that is taking Edo people for granted. How can they produce a candidate being prosecuted for a criminal act? We are calling on Edo people to partner with all other parties, except the APC.
“APC lacks morality as they are ready to rig the poll and carry out electoral malpractice. A party that is going for a free and fair election will not present a disabled candidate. APC is presenting a disabled candidate for the 2020 governorship election and will do all, including rigging to win the poll”.
Upbraiding the LP candidate, Ize-Iyamu accused him of being Obaseki’s lackey who was only regurgitating scripts handed to him by his paymaster. In a statement, John Mayaki, the director of communication and media of Ize-Iyamu campaign organization, berated Isaiah Osifo for availing himself to be used as another mouthpiece for the PDP’s smear campaign and deliberate spread of misinformation, and wondered why Osifo skipped the names of Dan Orbih and Tony Aziegbeni, Edo PDP leaders who were both party to the court case he baselessly harped on.
He said: “We found it incongruous that as a PhD holder,… Dr. Isaiah Osifo willingly sacrificed his integrity to join in the ignorant smear campaign of the PDP which unfortunately equates being named to a case where no court pronouncement has been made as evidence of wrongdoing. It is even more surprising, yet revealing of intent, how in his empty tirades in a press conference fully funded by Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the outgoing Governor of Edo State who facilitated the controversial emergence of Dr. Osifo as Labour Party’s candidate, the so-called Professor conveniently left out Dan Orbih and Tony Aziegbemi, erstwhile and present Chairman of the PDP, who are both parties to the court case he dubiously tagged a criminal prosecution”.
Mayaki noted that “As recent as June, Dr. Isaiah Osifo was a member of the PDP where he indicated interest in the party’s ticket as he routinely does every four years to enjoy momentary news mentions and proceeds of negotiations. His late-hour exit for the Labour Party was facilitated by Governor Godwin Obaseki who refunded the party’s original sole aspirant the nearly one million naira he spent on forms and single-handedly installed Osifo to carry out his bidding, one of which he displayed in the shameful press conference.”
Urging Edo people not to heed the words of “political jobbers and businessmen who only surface every election cycle to blackmail desperados like Mr. Godwin Obaseki into either purchasing their voice or silence,” Mayaki stated that “Dr. Isaiah Osifo knows that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is not in the business of offering payment for support, hence his submission to Obaseki…” He said “The problem with people like Osifo is that they have no true mind of their own and they do not care how their actions affect the democracy of the state, especially the chances of mushroom parties growing into a relevant force. Political jobbers like Dr. Isaiah do the biddings of the highest bidders, and as Obaseki is the reigning moneybag with Edo people’s money, Osifo’s mouth is full of his words which he mindlessly regurgitates”.
According to Mayaki, “The concerted attack on the person of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, even to the point of planting charlatans in mushroom parties to portray a false cross-party alliance, only shows that Mr. Godwin Obaseki is running scared and he knows what is now obvious to everyone that he stands no chance at the polls on the 19th of September. We want to assure him that he cannot avoid what has already been destined for him”.