By Simon Ebegbulem
POLITICAL tension heightened in Edo State, yesterday, as the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Pius Odubu, vowed to sue the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the last gubernatorial election in the state, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, for libel. Odubu’s grouse was over the allegation that a man who slumped at the state governorship election petition tribunal sitting on Thursday was brought by him (the Deputy Governor) to perform “some dubious mission”.
A statement by Airhiavbere’s Campaign Organization had claimed that the man, Israel Odaro,” from Urhomehe” where the Deputy Governor also hails from, died in hospital where he was taken to after the incident.
But, contrary to the claim, Sunday Vanguard visited the Benin Central Hospital and met the said Israel on his sick bed and he disclosed he hails from Delta State but has lived in Benin for a long time and a supporter of Governor Adams Oshiomhole. He added: “My full name is Israel Eyinmosan and not Israel Odaro as Airhiavbere’s people claimed in their statement”.
Eyinmosan further explained that he had been suffering from epilepsy since 1984 when he was in secondary school, adding that he had no relationship whatsoever with the Deputy Governor. He stated that he was shocked that the Airhiavbere’s Campaign Organization claimed that he is a native doctor and was dead.
“There is nothing people cannot say about you when something like this happens. People want to say many things to spoil you because they always attribute every thing to politics. Many people have called me as I am in the hospital, saying that they heard that I was dead but you can see that I am alive. I don’t have any personal relationship with the deputy governor; so for them to lie that he brought me there as a native doctor is funny,” he stated.
Odubu, who reacted to the statement from Airhiavbere’s Campaign Organization, gave the retired general 48 hours to retract the statement and tender unreserved apology, failing which he would take him to court for libel.
“This attempt to assassinate my character will not go un-redressed.”, he said, explaining that as a responsible citizen of Edo State and Deputy Governor, his concern was to assist a man in distress by calling the authorities of the Central Hospital to take him for treatment.
He also asked the television stations which relayed the offensive statement to retract same and tender apology, failing which they will be joined in the legal action.
“I want to say categorically that this press release is false in its entirety. It is a deliberate attempt to assassinate my character. I want to place it on record that ACN in Edo State, Comrade Oshiomhole, do not need juju priests to defend the petition at the tribunal. Every body here knows that that election has been adjudged as the freest and fairest election in Nigeria and indeed Oshiomhole won the election in all the 18 LGAs in Edo state,”the Deputy Governor said.
“I have seen desperation in my life but this is the lowest, that human beings can lie in an attempt to divert the attention in court. I see this as diversionary. It is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the crumbling case of Gen.Airhiavbere at the tribunal”.