Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, clashed over the just concluded Kogi governorship election and other national issues.
The fireworks took place in Abuja during the unveiling of the book ‘The Big Interviews’ written by Mr Eric Osagie, immediate past Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers.
The event had in attendance, the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole; the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; the immediate past National Chairman of the APC and former Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike; the Vice Presidential Candidate of the PDP in the 2019 General Election, Mr Peter Obi; the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Dakuku Peterside, the Chairman of Ocean Marine Solutions, Captain Hosa Okunbo, amongst others.
Setting the stage for the fireworks, Oshiomhole, in his goodwill message, said it was good for leaders to practice what they preach.
He took on journalists in the country, saying that like the CNN, BBC and other international media outfits which exude fearlessness and courage, Nigerian journalists don’t ask hard questions during interviews.
Oshiomhole further said President Muhammadu Buhari would be the easiest person to be interviewed by Osagie as the President does not wear boxing gloves, but talk in soft tone.
He added that he watched an interview by a former President known to Wike, whom Wike has associated with, Wike groomed under the person and he is still being overseen by the person.
Oshiomhole said in the first part of the two separate interviews, the ex-president, while speaking on population growth in Africa, began by giving lectures as he had always done, saying that the problem of Africa which was due to lack of population control, is the main reason there is poverty on the continent.
He went further to say that the interviewer further asked the ex-president that as the President of Africa’s most populous nation, how many did he contribute to the population growth, how many children does he have and how many wives did he marry.
“I thought for me, that was courageous that leaders should not preach what they are not doing. You can’t be on record as having so many wives, both registered and unregistered, several children, some in dispute and yet, you go to the Queens land and lecture about population,” Oshiomhole said.
He also said an ex-president who is famous for writing letters, when asked a question on corruption on the BBC Hard Talk, tried to make a distinction between the President and the Government.
“But the man said, but you have a responsibility to enforce law and order. You made those laws, but you did not enforce them.
“For me, talking about courage and professional hazards, that would be. I am trying to imagine if anybody could have in this hall, asked him such questions and then he finds his way to his Apo Village to go and sleep as if nothing has happened,” Oshiomhole also said.
But speaking while unveiling the book, Wike said Oshiomhole raised some issues which needed to be addressed.
Wike recalled Oshiomhole’s statement that leaders should practice what they preach and not what they don’t practice.
He recalled Oshiomhole’s visit to the Presidential Villa to thank a former President for ensuring one man, one vote.
“Today, do we have one man, one vote? So, you see, it is very, very important and as my leader, I expected that when he had that opportunity to thank a president that said one man, one vote, you should have carried it along to make sure there is one man, one vote. So, preach what you practice,” Wike said.
Wike’s remarks drew thunderous applause from the audience who continued to cheer him on as he further lambasted the APC-led government.
Wike said when the APC was in opposition, there was the ‘Occupy Nigeria’ and at that time, nobody was arrested, nobody was sent to jail nobody was detained and nobody disobeyed any court order.
“Today, today, today, today! Are they practising what they are preaching? So, it is very, very important for us to know where we are. And we cannot be deceived by rhetorics, we cannot be deceived by what we are seeing. All of us know. We are not progressing, rather, we are doing what, retrogressing,” Wike added.
On his part, Secondus said the Certificate of Return issued to the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, during the last governorship election was blood stained.
“We witnessed the governor (Kogi governor) received the certificate of return. That is blood stained. Then he took the certificate to present to the President. That is blood stained. The woman burnt alive is a symbol of democracy that has the right to vote,” Secondus said.
Returning to the podium, Oshiomhole said President Muhammadu Buhari practices what he preaches.
“Let me say to you sir, that the Buhari’s government is practicing what he is preaching and that the party he represents, laid such dangerous foundation. But for people like me, I am happy that you remember one man, one vote. I launched it in Benin. Whether you agree with me or not, it is on history and a lot of those who are here were present and I said one man, one vote, one woman, one vote,” Oshiomhole further said.
Oshiomhole added that if there was any state in Nigeria, and the records are there both by local and international observers, where blood, rather than ink was used to thumb print, it was in Rivers State.
“It is on record that it is only in Rivers that election ballot papers are not distributed, guns are distributed and military officers heads are chopped off. Troops, soldiers and police chopped off. These are hard facts which show that one man, one vote had taken root in so many places. I have no more work to do in Rivers,” Oshiomhole added.