Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the governorship candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19 election in Edo State, on Thursday, has denied appealing to Godwin Obaseki to rejoin his party after the just-concluded election.
A section of the media, (excluding PREMIUM TIMES) had reported that Mr Ize-Iyamu appealed to Mr Obaseki, winner of the election and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to return to the APC at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mr Ize-Iyamu reportedly had a closed-door meeting with Mai Mala Buni, the APC caretaker chairperson, and Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi State in Abuja on Wednesday, after which he was said to have addressed the media.
But John Mayaki, the director of communication and media of the Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation, said Mr Ize-Iyamu never had any interaction with the media in Abuja.
He added that a video that went viral, in which Mr Ize-Iyamu was alleged to be addressing journalists, was recorded about three months ago.
He blamed a section of the media for lending themselves to the fabrications.
Mr Mayaki said, “We warned several times that the media should beware of fabrications from Mr Obaseki and the PDP camp, but a section would not listen. That is why they have reported that the election was free and fair, and that is why they have said our candidate appealed to Mr Obaseki to come back to APC. The video in reference is from three months ago, not after the election but doctored by Governor Obaseki media handlers to seek undue legitimacy.
He also wondered if the newspapers that reported the falsehood were being sponsored by Mr Obaseki and the PDP, adding, “as it seemed implausible that they believed the story. This is even more so when reporters in Benin City would report Mr Ize-Iyamu who is currently in Abuja where the various media organisations are also domiciled – this is to tell you the intention behind the video, the suspicion inherent in it, and the reports you see.
“Mr Ize-Iyamu was reported in the stories as speaking from Abuja, but it was the Benin reporters that covered the story. Were the reporters transported to Abuja? Do these media agencies believe the stories they carry? Obaseki and the PDP have a way of leaking false news to the media and the media has to be sensitive and professional in receiving this news.”
Mr Mayaki also warned that there is a fake Twitter account purporting to belong to Mr Ize-Iyamu, which has been disseminating false information.
“I only wish that this section of the media had been more professional during the elections; they were not and what is done is done. They don’t know how violent and anti-democratic it was in several parts of Edo State, including Egor in Benin City, and so they reported that the elections were free and fair. At least, going forward, let them verify all news before passing it on. It is the basic ethic of the profession,” Mr Mayaki warned.
Chris Nehikhare, state publicity secretary of the PDP, in a swift reaction said his party had no hand in the old video clip that went viral on Wednesday.
“We have no hand in the video that was released to the public yesterday. Rather we are asking them (APC) to come and join in the PDP. I have seen that video before. It is an old video that was released when Mr Ize-Iyamu first joined the APC,” Mr Nehikhare said.