The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday reacted to claims by the state’s Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, that a former national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, was planning to dislodge the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in the state through the court.
The candidate of the PDP in the September 19 governorship election in Edo, Godwin Obaseki, and his running mate, Mr Shaibu, was declared the winner of the exercise having polled 307,955 votes to defeat Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC who had 223,619 votes.
Although the APC and its governorship candidate, Mr Ize-Iyamu did not challenge the result of the election at the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal, the APC candidate, however, continued with two pre-election matters at the High Court challenging the eligibility of Mr Obaseki and his deputy, Mr Shaibu, to contest the September 19 election.
Mr Shaibu on Sunday alleged that Mr Oshiomhole was plotting to overturn PDP’s victory at the September 19 governorship election through the judiciary.
The deputy governor had alleged during an empowerment programme for Afemai youth in Ogbona and Jattu, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state, that Mr Oshiomhole said at a public function in his Iyamho residence during the Yuletide that he was instrumental to the Supreme Court victory of Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State and will do the same to upturn the popular victory of Mr Obaseki in Edo State.
Mr Shaibu’s media aide, Ben Atu, further reiterated in a statement that Mr Oshiomhole was making unguarded utterances to indict the integrity of the judiciary.
The deputy governor, however, reaffirmed his confidence in the judiciary and President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the nation’s democracy and the collective will of the Edo people.
But reacting to the allegation in a statement on Monday, Chris Azebanmwan, the state publicity secretary of the APC, said though weighty, the allegation was false.
Mr Azebanmwan said the deputy governor was engaging in a smear campaign against Mr Oshiomhole.
He said, “The statement which he (Philip Shaibu) credited to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is a blatant falsehood as no such words emanated from the elder statesman.
“It is a smear campaign that is aimed at tarnishing the pristine image of the immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the vain hope it would pit the judiciary against the legal reliefs sought by the APC.”
The Edo APC spokesperson challenged Mr Shaibu to produce a video or audio clip of the event to buttress his allegations against Mr Oshiomhole.
“I challenge Philip Shaibu to provide an audio or video clip of the occasion where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is alleged to have made such a statement.
“Instead of this puerile and infantile attempt at diverting attention from the substance of the matter in court which centres on forgery and perjury, Philip Shaibu is well advised to address his mind to shoring up their defence.
“Philip Shaibu conveniently lost sight of the fact that the issue in contention borders on forgery and perjury. APC did not go to the Federal High Court to challenge the outcome of the September 2020 election.
“The Nigerian public is too informed and discerning to be hoodwinked with fake allegations and sensationalism,” he said.
Mr Azebanmwan said he agreed with the position of Mr Shaibu that the judiciary could not be swayed.
“We agree with Philip Shaibu that the Nigerian judiciary ranks amongst the best and most diligent in the world and will not be swayed or distracted by antics such as being irresponsibly orchestrated by Philip Shaibu,” Mr Azebanmwan added.
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