The Edo State Government has asked a gubernatorial aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to sort out 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 that Ize-Iyamu should be more concerned about defending the charges levelled at him by the EFCC on the N700 million 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 the Edo State Government had 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 recognises that the 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 $1 billion 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 an annual three million 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 $750 million 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, 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 utilising 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 N700 million 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 N4 billion loan that was diverted to 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.”