The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike yesterday, clashed over issues concerning President Muhammadu Buhari.
The verbal exchange took place during the unveiling of the book “The Big Interviews” written by Mr. Eric Osagie, in Abuja, yesterday, according to the Sun.
Oshiomhole had in his goodwill message, said it was good for leaders to practise what they preached.
He also said that Nigerian journalists should exude fearlessness and courage and ask hard questions during interviews.
Oshiomhole said Buhari would be the easiest person to be interviewed by Osagie as he did not wear boxing gloves, but talk in a soft tone.
The former Edo State Governor recalled how he watched an interview by a former Nigerian president, who he alleged was a mentor to Governor Wike.
Oshiomhole said the ex-president, while speaking on population growth in Africa, said the problem of Africa was due to lack of population control which he identified as the main reason for poverty in the continent.
Oshiomhole went on to say the interviewer further asked the ex-president that as leader of Africa’s most populous nation, how many children he contributed to the population growth and how many wives did he marry.
He added, “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.”
The APC National Chairman 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 said.
But Wike, who is of the opposition PDP, said Oshiomhole raised some issues which needed to be addressed. He recalled Oshiomhole’s statement that leaders should practice what they preached and not what they do not 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. 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’s remarks drew thunderous applause as he further lambasted the APC-led government for its breach on the fundamental rights and freedoms of Nigerians.
He said when the APC was in opposition, they enjoyed freedom to protest. He said there was the ‘Occupy Nigeria’ protest where nobody was arrested, detained, jailed or court orders disobeyed.
“Today, today, today, today! Are they practising what they are preaching? So, it is very important for us to know where we are. And we cannot be deceived by rhetoric, we cannot be deceived by what we are seeing. All of us know; we’re not progressing. Rather, we’re doing what? Retrogressing,” Wike added.
On his part, the National Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Uche Secondus, decried the violence alleged to have been perpetrated by APC at the Kogi election. He said the Certificate of Return issued Governor Yahaya Bello by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was blood-stained.
“We witnessed the (Kogi) governor receive 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 practised what he preached.
“Let me say to you sir, that the Buhari’s government is practising what he is preaching and that the party he represents (PDP) 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 said.
Oshiomhole said if there was any state where blood rather than ink was used to thumb print, it was in Rivers.
He cited records by local and international observers in Rivers election to substantiate his allegations.
“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 said.
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