A governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Edo state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has confirmed that he was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), on Tuesday, to answer questions over allegations of financial impropriety as regards allegation bribery of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials during the 2015 general elections.
His invitation by the anti graft agency came few days after he alleged that Governor Adams Oshiomhole has frittered over N1 trillion from the Federation Account since he came to power in 2008.
It was gathered that he was questioned over allegation of N700m allegedly disbursed to Edo state for the 2015 general elections.
An impeccable source at the EFCC office in Port Harcourt which also confirmed the development to journalists in Benin, said the aspirant was granted administrative bail Wednesday and he is to appear on a later date already communicated to him.
“He thought he could secure his bail on Tuesday night but you know the investigation here is always thorough and detailed and we have to keep him till Wednesday,” the source said.
Speaking to joalist on phone on Wednesday, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said he was on his way to Benin City but said he was invited as the coordinator for former President Goodluck Jonathan over the said funds and that he has explained to the anti-graft agency what he knows about the money and promised to give more details when he arrives the state capital.
“You know I was the Coordinator. They invited me over the money that came and I have explained to them,” he said.
It would be recalled that some officials of INEC were recently investigated for allegedly compromising during the 2015 election by some powerful politicians in the then ruling party to manipulate the election in the favour of the PDP.
Recently while addressing a townhall meeting organised by House2House Campaign to support his aspiration, Ize-Iyamu has expressed worry over the high taxes on Edo people by Oshiomhole’s led All Progressive Congress( APC) administration.
He commended the state government for improving the state economy through rapid internally generated revenue drive was commendable,but alleged that companies, shop and other viable business outfit and economically viable institutions have closed down and have left the state as a result of constant harassment by persons he alleged as touts operating as officials and agents government. For instance he said the tax policies have forced vehicle owners in the state to prefer to go to Delta State and other neigbouring states to register their vehicles.
Meanwhile, Edo State Government has asked a gubernatorial aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to sort his problems with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and stop displaying crass ignorance of the workings of government and modern development.
In a statement, the state Commissioner for Information, Prince Kassim Afegbua said Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu should be more concerned about defending the charges leveled at him by the EFCC on the N700m illicit campaign funds collected by him to prosecute the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to the statement: “we read with amusement a report credited to Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu alleging that Edo State Government has collected over N1 trillion in almost eight years which was used on projects, which in his estimation, were not evenly distributed.
“It is gratifying to us that Pastor Ize-Iyamu a member of the opposition PDP recognizes that Edo State Government under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has done projects across the state. That alone is a gratuitous statement for which we remain grateful.
“However, Pastor Ize-Iyamu exhibited his lack of knowledge of what is happening in the state when he said the State Government ‘chose deliberately to ignore agriculture, industry’.
“Is Ize-Iyamu aware of how many industries have been set up in Edo State in the past few years of this administration? Has he not heard of the $1 billion Azura Independent Power Plant project in Benin City?
“Is he unaware of the $1bn Dangote Cement Factory in Okpella which will offer close to 50,000 direct and indirect jobs to people of the state? Is he not aware of the BUA cement company in Okpella that has already commenced production of metric tonnes of cement? Is he not aware of the expansion of the Presco Oil Palm production that has further created employment for our teeming youths? What about the Time Ceramics that has employed over 500 youths in the last six months? Has he not heard about the $750m Wells and Carlos Farms which will employ over 85,000 people? Has he not heard of the expansions carried out by Okomu Oil and which have necessitated the employment of thousands of Edo youths?
“Is he unaware of Yongxing Steel factory factory which is in full production and has employed hundreds of Edo youth? What about the furniture making factory at Anegbette, in Etsako Central Local Government which is utilizing bamboo, as raw material, to produce state-of-the-art modern furniture?
“Rather than speak on what he has no knowledge of, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu would do well to concentrate on defending himself before the EFCC and return the N700m slush fund he was alleged to have collected to prosecute the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“We have a record of how a previous government of the PDP of which Pastor Ize Iyamu was Secretary of State Government, took a suspicious N4bn loan that was diverted for unknown projects. Surely, Pastor Ize-Iyamu and his co-travellers have a lot of questions to answer and his recent invitation by the EFCC might just be the beginning of his travails.”