There are desperate moves by the agents of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to pressure the governorship candidate of Liberation Movement (LM) in the 2019 Gubernatorial Elections in Bayelsa State, Vijah Opuama, to drop his case against the governor of the state, Duoye Diri.
Opuama filed a petition before the election tribunal in Abuja, claiming that Diri, was not qualified to participate in the election.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court announced Diri, who came second at the poll as the governor of the state, after disqualifying the governor-elect, David Lyon, whose deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo was accused of presenting a false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Opuama is seeking the disqualification of Diri’s deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewrujakpor and the cancellation of the November 16, 2019 governorship election.
Opuama, who alleged in the petition that Ewrujakpor, the 4th respondent, submitted an affidavit to INEC, the 1st respondent, that contained false information, urged the court to order a fresh election in the state, stressing that the poll conducted by INEC failed to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The Street Journal had earlier reported that at least 52 lawyers, including six Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) have been enlisted to defend Diri, his deputy and their party, the PDP in court.
While the case is in court, they have been mounting pressure on Opuama to withdraw the matter.
Opuama also confirmed receiving many telephone calls from various persons, who wanted him to abandon the case.
In a leaked audio obtained by The Street Journal, a caller who was allegedly fronting for the PDP urged the guber candidate to accept money and other offers before it is too late.
The caller, who identified himself as Powe urged Opuama to collect the money offered and contest in the future, stressing that corruption prevails in the.
“Your lawyers and your party leaders are different from you. Those people will take money from whoever is offering and they’ll leave you behind,” he said.
Below is the transcription of the telephone conversation between Opuama and Powe
Powe: Good morning
Opuama: Good morning, please who’s this?
Powe: It’s me Powe, I called to congratulate you on your fight. As an experienced person in this political game, I’d also advise you to take your aspiration step by step. People may be praising you now but when misery comes, they would still be the one to laugh at you.
Opuama: It’s not about what people say, It’s about my own conviction. If I win, the people booing me will still celebrate with me. Also, starting from somewhere does not mean I should start low, everyone must not start from the same place. I stand for the truth and I believe that people like you and me should lead this country. I’m used to poverty so even if I don’t take bribe from them, I will survive. I’m ready to fight this to the end.
If this works out, we will have at least 90% of people in the cabinet under the age of 40 for the first time in history. People who are proactive and less corrupt.
Powe: But your case is for the election to be cancelled and not for you to be next governor.
Opuama: Yes, I don’t care if I don’t take over from him but let the bad guys leave the seat of power and let good people contest. If a fresh election is declared, APC and PDP will run with the consciousness that they are here to serve the people.
Powe: So, what is APC offering you?
Opuama: APC has no business with me. The people I have business with is PDP. APC has been disqualified by the supreme court so they can’t offer me anything.
Powe: Okay what is PDP offering you?
Opuama: Imagine people like Jo calling me to offer me 5 million naira on behalf of Duoye Diri. That’s too much insult. Does he know how much I spent just preparing for campaign.
Powe: You can still contest some other time, just ask him to upgrade the amount and then take the money he is offering.
The call drops but Powe called back…
Powe: Hello, I called back to know if you’re still keeping up with your decision?
Opuama: My decision is final.
Powe: I just want to advise you because APC uses and dumps people.
Opuama: What has this got to do with APC?
Powe: They are your sympathizers right now
Opuama: I have a massive support from the good people of my state. Most of my supporters do not belong to any political party. APC has nothing to do with me. I’m just doing the right thing.
Powe: Life is a continuous process. If you win, we thank God but I won’t like a situation where you miss out of this money being offered.
Opuama: I don’t need their money
Powe: Everyone likes money but I know you do not want their money because you don’t like the PDP’s activities generally.
Opuama: It’s not about APC or PDP, it’s about bad leadership.
Powe: When you have the opportunity, you just have to play your cards well. This is an opportunity to grab from the system in any way you can. If they offer 10-20 million its better you collect it and settle yourself to avoid regrets.
Opuama: You’re proving to me that you don’t know who I am. 20 million is not my problem. I hate the system and I am standing up to fix it, not just for myself, but for my children and their children. No amount of money can change my mind. If you had good ideas, why didn’t you come to work with me when I was contesting.
You have your interest which you’re trying to protect and you think what i’m doing is going to affect what you stand to gain. Which means you have no interest of the people in your heart.
Powe: You know you’re my friend
Opuama: You’re not my friend, you don’t even know who I am and also, you hate my guts. I didn’t know you were this unpatriotic.
Powe: See, in Nigeria, corruption prevails in this country, your lawyers and your party leaders are different from you. Those people will take money from whoever is offering and they’ll leave you behind.
Opuama: I don’t care! I’ve got like minds who are even more solid and rooted than I am. I have a very good Party leadership to the best of my knowledge.
Powe: All I am saying is that you look at the pros and the cons
Opuama: You want me to look at your own pros and cons which are alien to mine and they can’t work together. I’m way ahead of you.
Powe: Timi Alaibe is irrelevant today because
Opuama: I don’t play your Bayelsa politics, I play international politics. I’m not Timi Alaibe, I’m coming with my own brand of politics.
Powe: So how come you didn’t score up to 500 votes in the last election?
Opuama: That’s none of your business
Powe: No problem
Opuama: I’ve told Duoye Diri to give me 40 billion naira. Can they give me that kind of money?
Powe: You’re just telling the people that you’re not for sale.
Opuama: Exactly, that’s the point. Also, if Bayelsa cannot produce 40 billion then it means we have bad leadership.
Powe: You and I know that Bayelsa State is supposed to be creating wealth and not depending on allocation even though its money we use to fight our way into the system.
Opuama: That’s the lie they’ve been feeding you. Money is not everything. We have billionaires who have been trying to fight their way into the system with money but they did not succeed. E.g, Timi Alaibe. APC has billionaires yet they lost. Let’s change this mindset and be futuristic leaders.
Powe: I’m still advising you as my friend, take the money they will offer so that you don’t lose on both ends.
Opuama: I don’t want 40 billion anymore. Tell Duoye Diri to bring 100 billion or resign and let’s go back to elections. Meanwhile, When David Lyon and Duoye Diri were in court, did you advise Duoye Diri this way?
Powe: No, I didn’t because I wasn’t privileged to be among his cabal. Even if I was, I won’t tell him this because of some issues.
Opuama: So, you believe Duoye Diri could become governor but you believe I can’t become Governor. Since you couldn’t give this advice to Duoye Diri, then allow me to do what I want to do.
I don’t know what your definition of winning is but now people are aware that I’d rather dive into an empty swimming pool than collect bribe and that’s a win for me; Integrity and Dignity.
Powe: I’m still advising that you also look through the other side
Opuama: I don’t buy into that. I want to correct the system and I’m going straight, I’m not bending.
The leaked telephone conversation (audio):