”A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship aspirant for the 2016 election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has denied media reports that he was detained by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, at its Port Harcourt office.
Ize-Iyamu, who addressed journalists in his residence in Benin, yesterday, said that the explanation became necessary to dispel the rumour of his detention, otherwise he would have kept quiet and allowed the issue to play itself out.
He had, in a statement, said that no amount of blackmail, harassment or witch-hunting could stop him from crying out over how his state (Edo) had been mismanaged and plundered by a government that was expected to do a lot better than previous ones.
Ize-Iyamu, reacting to a statement credited to Edo State Commissioner for Information and Oreintation, Prince Kassim Afegbua, asking him to be more concerned with defending himself at the EFCC over a N700 million campaign fund, said that harassment from any quarter will not deter him from speaking on issues affecting Edo State.
On his EFCC case, he agreed that he was actually invited by the anti-graft agency to explain how the N700 million given to him as the campaign coordinator of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential election in Edo State during the 2015 general election was expended.
According to him, “I told them who got what, that we needed money for transportation, mobilization of our people, some of them that had to leave Benin to their polling units in the rural areas and that the state chairman of the party worked out a realistic budget.
“And that by the time we looked at what they brought and what we had in mind, it became clear that the N700 million would not be enough. Our leader volunteered to make up the difference which he brought from his house.
“I must confess that they were very professional, cautious and I cannot believe that it was done specifically to harass me because even while I was there, I saw coordinators from other states, who were also invited, so it was clear to me that what they were doing was a nationwide exercise.”