PRESS RELEASE – Delta PDP to APC: ‘You’re heartless’, debunks claims against commissioner, accountant general

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Delta PDP Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza.

The Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in Delta State has debunked claims of any financial sleaze in the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, describing the statements of the All Progressives Congress (APC) released in quick succession as “heartless campaign against truth and justice.”

The PDP state publicity Secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza in a statement today, April 8, 2020 while also describing the APC statements as unnecessary distraction at a time when Deltans, the nation and the global community is faced with the challenge of coronavirus.

Full text of the PDP statement reads:

PRESS RELEASE

08th April, 2020

DELTA APC AND ITS HEARTLESS CAMPAIGN AGAINST TRUTH AND JUSTICE IN A TIME OF GREAT DANGER TO THE HUMAN RACE

The Delta State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP has responded to the recent press release by Mr. Sylvester Imonina, Publicity Secretary of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC in the State, describing it as a heartless campaign against truth and Justice and an unnecessary distraction at a time when Deltans and indeed the nation and the global community is faced with one of the greatest challenges to the existence of mankind; the Corona Virus.

Reacting to the APC Press Release titled: “Sack Appointees Whose Interests Are Against Deltans – APC Charges Okowa,” the Delta State PDP Publicity Secretary Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza wrote thus: “We wish to place on record that the PDP is a political party whose priority is to secure the lives and ensure the safety of every Deltan, from any form of aggression, intimidation, threat or harassment.

This is why we are greatly disturbed by the fact that at a time when Deltans are mourning the sad and unexpected killing of one of our sons, Mr. Pessu Joseph, who was cut down in the prime of his life, and when Delta State as a whole is joining the global community to battle the spread of the deadly Coronavirus and its attendant Covid-19 pandemic, the APC is more concerned with mundane issues like misinterpreting video clips and dwelling on unsubstantiated fraud allegations, published in the social media by platforms that lack any journalistic credibility.

At a time when the global community is faced with the real danger of a deadly pandemic that is threatening and has the full capacity to wipe out the entire human race, including members of the APC as well, if not checked, the Delta State Chapter of the party is busy asking for the sack of public officers and distracting Deltans with allegations of non-existent fraud. How heartless and wicked can a political party be than this?

There’s an African proverb which says that the Fox must be chased away first and after that, the Hen might be warned against the danger of wandering into the bush, if necessary. For the APC spokesman to claim in his write up that “Deltans are still yearning for the sack of the Commissioner for information for his ignominious defence of those soldiers who threatened the lives of Warri women/Deltans” ….is a clear indication that the man either does not know what Deltans are yearning for at this point in time in the history of our existence, or he is perhaps living and operating in a different world from planet Earth, where the word ‘Coronavirus’ or the threat of Covid-19, does not exist at all.

Be that as it may, there is the need however, for us to put the matter in proper perspective for posterity. First of all, there is no denying the fact that at least THREE VIDEO CLIPS had gone viral and were trending on social media that day, all referencing the Warri situation. But sadly the one singular incident which must remain indelible in our hearts is the fact that in the midst of all the fracas that happened in Warri on that fateful first day of our stay-at-home directive, we lost our son, brother, father and friend, Mr. Pessu Joseph to the cold hands of death. That is the enduring and most important story of the Warri Covid-19 lockdown. May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amen.

Secondly and for the records, the Defense Headquarters of Nigeria had issued a press release, signed by no less an authority than Major-General John Eneche, Coordinator, Defense Media Operations, disowning what it had described as the “malicious videos,” adding that the videos were old clips of past incidents that took place in 2012 and 2013 respectively and they were being used by some mischievous elements to tarnish the image of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

The DHQ statement had read in part: “Those videos are misleading, as they are not related to the present military engagement of the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards the lockdown on COVID-19. The Nigerian Armed Forces see those clips as calculated attempts to tarnish its professional integrity by some mischief makers,” the DHQ statement had noted.

Then, the Nigerian Army, in a series of tweets on its verified Twitter Handle had also broken the news by itself, that: “Soldiers in a viral video using uncouth and uncivilized language purportedly threatening to molest women in Warri Delta State were arrested at 9 Brigade Ikeja Military Cantonment Lagos State today 3 April 2020 and further investigation is ongoing. The general public should be assured that the investigations will be swift and fair in accordance with applicable military laws. The outcome of the investigations will determine the most appropriate disciplinary measures that can be taken in the circumstances.

‘The Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate that it would not tolerate any form of irresponsibility and indiscipline on the part of any of its personnel,’ the Army statement had disclosed.

“We wish to state categorically that the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, a seasoned journalist whose sterling track record in the profession is impeccable and unquestionable, can hold brief for himself any day, but even with his excellent credentials, he does not have the authority in his capacity as a State Commissioner for Information or the status, as the spokesman of a State government, to dictate, compel or instruct the Defense Headquarters of Nigeria or Major-General John Enenche, Coordinator Defense Media Operations, to issue a press statement which quite coincidentally and conclusively corroborates the facts that the reference was to ‘videos’ and not a particular video clip as the APC would have Deltans and the rest of the world believe.

“The intentions of the APC by over flogging the issue of video is akin to calling a good dog a bad name just to hang it and we boldly assert that Mr. Charles Aniagwu’s comments on the content of the said videos, that trended on social media on that day, were in tandem with the positions of the Defense Headquarters and the Nigerian Army High Command.

“As for the matter of the now-retired Accountant General of Delta State, Mr. Cyril Agbele, we are quite amused by the fact that the APC will rely on a spurious publication of unsubstantiated allegations, in an online platform whose credibility is even questionable, to cast aspersions on the glittering career of a man who has served Delta State diligently in his hallowed position as well as two democratically elected Governors and administrations meritoriously.

“Two points will however suffice, to address this bizarre and diversionary fraud allegation. First and without trying to join the APC in its silly ethnic jingoism argument, we wish to remind them that Mr. Cyril Agbele was appointed by a Governor from Delta South, precisely from the proud Itsekiri ethnic nationality and he, as an Ika man, served this Itsekiri-born Governor meritoriously for two consecutive terms of eight years. Interestingly he has only served his ‘brother’ for only four years and he is now retired.

“Secondly, the APC publicist claims he is a lawyer so he must be very much aware that the EFCC is a “law unto itself” in Nigeria. It has no respect for anybody, including Governors, politicians and even civil servants, so for Mr. Imonina to even suggest that; ‘On the issue of the allegations against the Accountant General, APC, Delta State challenges the Governor to allow the law take its full course, despite the fact that the Accountant General is his “man Friday” from the same Ika Nation with him…’ amongst other silly conjectures in that paragraph, shows that the APC is not even aware that the EFCC has invited Mr. Agbele severally to clarify financial issues concerning the State in his days as Accountant General and the Commission certainly does not need the prompting of APC to do its job if the need arises.

“In addition, the State Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Fidelis Tilije has stated emphatically that he is not aware of any petition or any N14 billion fraud or even anything relating to a N14 billion fraud or even any fraud in the government or for that matter, any committee set up by the government to investigate any fraud. He also adds that this is not the first time that Mr. Cyril Agbele in his days as Accountant General, is being linked with such spurious and unfounded allegations of fraud, for which he has come out clean in every instant. It is therefore baffling to fathom why the APC is so desperate to accuse the Commissioner of complicity on the strength of a badly written and misleading story, in a Ministry where it (the APC) has no knowledge or authority to comment on its processes.

“The APC, of course, has the right to ask for the resignation of any Government official based on whatever it deems fit as its reason. After all Ibrahim Shekau and Boko Haram have been releasing all kinds of obnoxious and offensive videos against the Nigerian people and Government and even our party has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Service Chiefs or even resign since they have failed the country woefully in terms of security.

“But the last time we checked, General Muhammadu Buhari was still the President of Nigeria and all the Service Chiefs were still in their duty posts. None of them has resigned or has been sacked, despite the monumental failure of the entire security apparatchik in Nigeria to defend the Country against Boko Haram. President Buhari, to borrow the weak phrase of the APC publicist, has not written his name in gold just yet and Nigerians are actually yearning for him to do so one way or the other.

“On a final note, we wish to once again commiserate with the family of Mr. Pessu Joseph for the monumental loss of their son. As a responsible political party of the people, we take the death of any Deltan under any circumstance seriously and while our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, we are happy to note that some persons connected to the Warri incidents of that fateful day have been apprehended and we urge the authorities to ensure that anyone found guilty or culpable will face the full wrath of the law.

“As for the greater issue of the Corona Virus which confronts us today not just as Deltans but indeed as the members of the human race, we want to once again appeal to all to adhere strictly to the Public Health Guidelines and Precautionary Directives issued by the medical authorities and the State Government.

“We have suddenly entered a most crucial and critical period in our collective effort to stem the spread of this Corona virus in Delta State and while we confidently assure all Deltans that the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has put all the structures in place to address and contain this virus as it enters our State, our greatest weapon against the spread however is for us to maintain social distancing, to wash our hands regularly with soap and clean water and to use hand sanitizers as regularly as we can.

“The State government has introduced measures to help cushion the harsh effects of the lockdown and stay-at-home directive on Deltans. The periodic markets have started in selected schools and we are happy to note that our representatives and political office holders and appointees are providing foodstuff and other items for our people across the State irrespective of political party or affiliation. We have also set up our food bank and we will soon start the distribution of foodstuffs and other palliatives to Deltans, we wish to express our profound gratitude to all those who have identified with us and contributed in one way or another to support the Delta State government, as we face this pandemic with courage, unity, and resilience.

“Please Deltans, stay at home and stay safe. Together, we will defeat and outlast the Corona Virus and save ourselves from Covid-19 by the special Grace of God. Amen.”

God Bless Delta State.

Dr. Ifeanyi M. Osuoza
State Publicity Secretary,
PDP, Delta State.

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