The party refuses to comment on a purported USAID poll
The Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Osun State has accused the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, of embarking on a smear campaign against Iyiola Omisore, its candidate for the August 9 governorship election.
In a statement, Sunday, the PDP said that the APC, and Governor Rauf Aregbesola, its governorship candidate, have concluded series of false stories, paid propaganda, and manipulated violence to divert attention from its rejection by the people of Osun state.
“Members of the public are aware of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s violent agenda as manifested in his creation of State Boys now unleashing violence, his directive to voters to go to voting centres with weapons and the regular sustained attacks on PDP supporters statewide,” the PDP said in the statement signed by Diran Odeyemi, its Director of Media and Strategy.
“We have refused to be drawn into this cycle of violence as our people are full in our support,” Mr. Odeyemi added.
Last week, TNS-RMS, a research firm, had released a poll in which it placed Governor Aregbesola in pole position to win the forthcoming election.
The two-phase survey by TNS-RMS, conducted over a period that stretched from June into the third week of July 2014, stated that Mr. Aregbesola was the candidate of choice by Osun voters with a 73 per cent lead over other candidates,
But the PDP rejected the poll’s outcome, describing it as “a careless hatchet job” by a firm sympathetic to the APC.
To counter TNS-RMS’s survey, the PDP had released a purported voters’ poll conducted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in which Mr. Omisore led the pack of other contestants with 58 percent tally, followed by Mr. Aregbesola, the incumbent governor, with 30 percent.
But the USAID quickly disowned the purported survey noting that “NO USAID poll was taken in Osun.”
“None of USAID Peace and Democratic Governance Implementing Partners ( P/DG IPs) support or plan to support any election related opinion polls in Osun,” the USAID Democracy and Governance Team said.
The PDP’s statement on Sunday was silent on the purported USAID poll, although it had earlier insisted, when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES, that the US agency did conduct the poll.
“Part of APC smear campaign is the false story published on a dubious online newssite to the effect that top officials of the RMS, a public affairs company based in Lagos, were arrested to prevent the firm from releasing the report of its opinion survey on Osun governorship election. The report is utterly false and a calculated attempt to smear Senator Iyiola Omisore,” the PDP’s statement said.
A few days before the Lagos based TNS-RMS released the result of its survey, operatives of the Department of State Services, also known as SSS, stormed its the corporate head office, held its staff hostage, ransacked its offices and premises and whisked away three of its personnel.
But the PDP had maintained that the SSS operatives’ invasion of the group’s office had nothing to do with the release of the results of the poll it had conducted.
“While we are not holding brief for security agencies, reports at our disposal revealed that security search on the RMS premises was prompted by actions and activities considered a security breach by the intelligence community,” the PDP said.
“It was gathered that officials of the firm were arrested in Enugu after they were caught taking pictures of barracks and other security facilities.
“The firm working on Guinness census is believed to have acted in manners that constitute security risk especially in this time of national counter – insurgency.
“Security agencies had followed up the arrest in Enugu with a physical raid of the Lagos headquarters of RMS to investigate further the motive of the firm for taken pictures of military and security installations. The arrest is thus purely a security measure without any connection to the governorship election in Osun state,” it added.
The PDP further said that its governorship candidate is not threatened by the “failed propaganda and information warfare” of Mr. Aregbesola.
“In this age of enlightenment, no amount of fake opinion survey can save a government already rejected by the people,” the PDP said.
“As Ekiti People were not swayed by such antics, so will the good people of Osun state not be deceived by such falsehood.
“The PDP candidate has traversed the nooks and crannies of Osun state with overwhelming acceptance by the people. He has used the two months of campaign to validate his eight point agenda targeted at making every votes count on August 9. We therefore have no time to waste on an incumbent clearly out of touch with the electorate.
“We urge our people to discountenance all false reports and rededicate themselves to the task of voting out of power this anti-people APC government,” it added.