The Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State has called on key leaders of the All Progressives Congress to own up to their alleged “campaign of lies” they ran during the governorship election in Edo State.
In a statement on Sunday by the State Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, the party called on the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ie-Iyamu, ex-National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole to “own up as Mayaki has done”.
What Has Mayaki Done?
John Mayaki who acted as the spokesperson of the APC’s campaign council had issued a statement apologising for some of the stories he authorised which he said were “unable to pass credibility check.”
The founder, Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa regretted his activities as a professional journalist.
Citing one of the stories “APC accuses INEC REC, Mike Igini of colluding with Obaseki over secret night meeting,” with a rider: REC left Governor’s residence with sacks of money,” Mayaki described the stories as “embarrassing even for my humble self”, adding “I must quickly admit, as the story proved fatally wrong”.
“As a Christian, I strive daily to have a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men and I am willing to apologise to whomsoever I may have offended in the course of my duties, knowingly and or unknowingly,” John Mayaki said.
“In the year ending, August 27 was the most unethical day for me. It was during the period of my assignment as the Chairman, Media Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, that I released the above statement at about 5:27 pm without cross-checking and interrogating my source.
“As a professional journalist, rather than base my judgement of the information from this source on its news value and public’s right to know the unbiased truth, I, unfortunately, allowed my political interest to motivate and take the better part of me.
“I have taken time to scrutinise and review my source, the story itself and also listened to the testimony of other credible persons on this statement and the impeccable character of Mike Igini and have come to the conclusion and admission that something went wrong – my investigation and findings have now revealed that the story was not only untrue but unable to pass integrity and credibility checks.”
Mr Mayaki also blamed his sources for the misinformation, adding that “I agree, I was manipulated by this source and also complicit in the achievement of his goal, for this source who thought he could advance my political interest with fake news and thinking propaganda could land us a win, this has proved wrong. This source not only misled me to mislead the people, but also to impugn on the reputation of Igini, and for which I am deeply embarrassed. I apologise.”
Why Apologise Now?
Three months after Godwin Obaseki won the governorship election, John Mayaki suddenly has a change of heart, realizing he released a false communique that requires forgiving.
In a particular statement, Mayaki has alleged that Mike Igini, the INEC resident electoral commissioner in Akwa Ibom held a secret meeting with Governor Obaseki.
The campaign spokesperson also Mr Igini left the Government House “with sacks of money”.
The story was run by National newspapers in Nigeria without verification, even though Mr Igini was not part of the election and never visited the Edo Government House during the election.
Reacting in October, Mr Igini said at a Press conference that he was in Edo State with his two colleagues and only stopped over at Protea Hotel, Benin City on August 24 for refreshment before heading to Delta State for burial.
The INEC official then filed N10 billion libel suit against the factional Chairperson of APC in Edo State, David Imuse and John Mayaki
He also filed a separate suit demanding N5 billion as damages from Messrs Imuse and Mayaki.
PDP Calls Others To Follow Mayaki’s Footstep.
In a statement on Sunday, the PDP spokesman, Christ Nehikhare asked principal officers in the last election to own up to “the lies they spread during the governorship election” just as Mayaki had done.
The party said Mayaki’s apology is an “obvious fact that the APC ran its campaign on fake news, lies, alternative truth and other variants of fabrication to hoodwink unsuspecting members of the public to buy into their ominous quest to mortgage the collective patrimony of Edo people.
The PDP, though, said Mr Obaseki who was the target of the statements has forgiven Mayaki, but also demand apologies from those it described as “puppet masters” behind Mayaki’s actions.
Standard Gazette cannot confirm If Mr Igini has responded to Mayaki’s public apology, however, it is evident that Mr Mayaki is worried about the consequences of his action as he may not be able to prove his allegations in court.