Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the weekend accused the state government of spending N142 million for the commissioning of projects by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, and the party’s National Leader, Bola Tinubu, to mark the sixth anniversary of Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s administration.
Edo PDP, while describing the expenditure as reckless and wasteful, called on Buhari and Tinubu to stop visiting the state as their visits had depleted the state’s treasury.
But, Prince Kassim Afegbua, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Oshiomhole, described the allegation as spurious.
Reacting to Sunday Independent’s enquiry on the allegation Afegbua said, “You couldn’t even wish me Happy New Year; the first thing you will ask is PDP’s spurious claims.
“Do we run Edo State government in PDP secretariat? Anybody can cook up memos; but, I am not aware that our memos are missing”.
The PDP, through its state chairman, Dan Orbih, made the allegation at Iguobazuwa, headquarters of Ovia South West Local Government Area of the state, during a rally organised to welcome some defectors from APC to PDP.
Orbih displayed two Edo State government’s vouchers with number EXT/GOV/GHSP/2441/14 and EXT/GOV/GHSP/2477/14, which he alleged were used to sign out N76 and N66 million respectively for the commissioning of projects on November 28 and 29, 2014, for the sixth anniversary of Oshiomhole’s government, maintaining that the event had caused the state a fortune.
Obih said: “Governor Oshiomhole sat in his office and signed two vouchers to commission projects on November 28 and 29.
“In those vouchers, it was written, ‘Voucher to commission projects in Edo State by two eminent Nigerians, Retired General Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’.
“In those vouchers, the sum of N76 and N66 million were signed away simply to cut tapes for projects that had earlier been commissioned.
“How else do you define a thief and corrupt governor? How can a government sign away N142 million just for Buhari and Tinubu to come to cut a tape?
“Never before in the history of this state have we witnessed this level of fraud and misappropriation of public fund.
“We are telling Buhari and Tinubu to stay away from Edo State because our accounts are usually emptied to rob their over-bloated ego. What they have shown is that they do not love Edo State,” Orbih declared.
On the 2015 presidential election, he noted that it was the responsibility of all sons and daughters of the South South geo-political zone, irrespective of their political affiliations, to rally round President Goodluck Jonathan so that he would bring more development to the zone and the country at large.
Some of the APC members who defected to the PDP at the rally included a former APC coordinator in the council, Richard Igorigo, Richard Digho and an Ijaw youths leader, Samson Yanbor, who said he left APC after one of the losers in the party’s House of Representatives primaries in Ovia Federal Constituency was made winner.
The PDP senatorial candidate in Edo South, Matthew Urhoghide; PDP’s candidate for the Ovia Federal Constituency election, Omosede Igbinedion, and the party’s House of Assembly candidate, Monday Aighobahi, were some of the PDP candidates that were present at the rally.
PDP leaders who attended the event included Roland Owie, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Solomon Edebiri, among others.
Meanwhile, Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Louis Odion, has denied the Edo PDP’s allegation that Oshiomhole spent N142 million to commission projects.
Odion, in a statement, declared: “With Comrade Adams Oshiomhole commissioning world-class projects all over Edo State in the last two months, we knew PDP would be gnashing their deformed teeth in envy.
“But, we least expected malice would push them into forging vouchers to back up a shameless lie in their evil desperation to tarnish Oshiomhole’s golden records but Edo people are not deceived.
“They know their governor is a very prudent man. That is why even today, whereas PDP-led Federal Government owes workers arrears of salaries despite cornering whopping 52 per cent of federation account, Edo is not owing workers.
“The joke is on Edo PDP. With less than six weeks to the general elections, it very laughable that PDP, rather than show remorse by first apologising to Edo people for under-developing the state for 10 years, has resorted to peddling fake vouchers for a transaction that exists only in their crooked imagination. It is very cheap indeed”.