A frontline governorship aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has boasted that neither Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State nor any other person can stop his governorship ambition.
Ize-Iyamu, a one-time Secretary to the State Government, stated this in statement while responding to a statement credited to the Edo State Commissioner for Information, Prince Kassim Afegbua.
Afegbua, had, in the widely circulated statement, counseled Ize-Iyamu to be more concerned about clearing himself with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over alleged complicity in the N700 million former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign fund for Edo State.
It will be recalled that Ize-Iyamu was guest of the EFCC at the zonal office of the anti-graft agency in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. He was released on an administrative bail Wednesday afternoon.
The statement reads: “I read with amusement the statement of the Edo State government signed and circulated in the media by the Commissioner of Information, Prince Kassim Afegbua.
“The Commissioner, in the statement said I should rather be more concerned with defending myself at the EFCC over a N700million naira campaign funds collected to prosecute the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I want to say emphatically that I am not afraid to go to the EFCC over any matter, not to talk of my role in the presidential election in Edo State. Those with clear conscience fear no probe.
“Let me say it for the record that I am aware of the funds that came to PDP Edo State for the presidential election and I did not take a kobo from it. Those who collected the said money for the election signed for it and are available; and so are the records.
“The word I have for those who desperately hope that I will not contest the forthcoming gubernatorial election is that they will be disappointed. I have a God who is insurmountable and my hands are clean.
“Harassment from any quarter will not deter me from speaking on issues affecting Edo State. So also will the antics of a desperate state government not stop me in my resolve to champion the change of leadership by democratic means.
“Kassim my good friend has a duty to defend his boss the Comrade Governor but his job is made difficult by the non-performance of the government in critical sectors of the State like agriculture that I mentioned in my town hall meeting. The Wells Carlos Farm project, for example, was initiated when we were in government. The land was given then for agric purpose. Why then should this government claim credit for a project they neither initiated nor contributed to?
“Presco Oil Company is a company which predates this government. The biggest support they have ever got from government was when we were in office. It was at that time that hectres of land was approved for them by the state government and the company became a public liability company. Is it not shameful that for lack of performance, the state government will claim Presco as one of its achievements?
“The government, having failed woefully in the industrial sector, attempted shamelessly again to lay claim to attracting the two Chinese Companies located at the Benin Bypass. This is a blatant lie. The governor visited there only recently and was shocked at their existence.
“We know the people who invited the Chinese companies to the State and they are not in government. What influenced the location of the companies was the strategic Bypass constructed by the then PDP federal government when Chief Tony Anenih was Minister for Works.
“If it is true as claimed by the State government that a special furniture company has been established in Edo North where the governor comes from, why was the multi-million naira furniture supply to the new Edo University, Iyamho given to two companies in Lagos? What a shame that confirms what I said in my lecture at the Emporium, Benin City.
“The Dangote Cement initiative is good but if we may ask, what happened to the governor’s announcement on the occasion of his second term inauguration that his friend Dangote was going to establish a fertilizer factory at Agenegbode that will employ ten thousand workers? What happened to the much touted Shoprite at Sapele Road, Benin City?
“Come to think of it; when the Comrade Governor was following Dangote around African countries to commission, not laying foundation stones of cement factories, did he not realize that he was a governor of a state that desperately needed industries or those raw materials needed by cement factories abound in his state? It took consistent criticism for him to realize that industry is the key to the progress of Edo State. How sad.
“I want to say it unequivocally that no amount of blackmail, harassment or witch-hunting can stop us from crying out over how our state has been mismanaged and plundered by a government we expected to do a lot better than previous ones”.
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