A spokesman for the Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation, John Mayaki, on Thursday said reports that his principal asked Governor Godwin Obaseki to return to APC are false.
In a statement forwarded to Channels Television via email, Mayaki suggested such reporting was a continuation of the media’s lack of news verification before publication.
Some news media (not Channels Television) had earlier reported that Ize-Iyamu, in a television broadcast on Wednesday, had made the appeal on Wednesday.
However, Mayaki insisted Ize-Iyamu is yet to address the press since the election results were announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday.
He said the video being referenced was broadcast three months ago.
“We warned several times that the media should beware of fabrications from Obaseki and the PDP camp, but they did not listen,” Mayaki said. “That is why they have reported that the election was free and fair, and that is why they have said our candidate appealed to Obaseki to come back to APC.
“The video in reference is from three months ago, not after the election but doctored by Governor Obaseki media handlers to seek undue legitimacy.”
Mayaki also wondered if the media was being sponsored by Governor Obaseki and the PDP, as it seemed implausible that they (the media) actually believed the story.
“Pastor Ize-Iyamu was reported in the stories as speaking from Abuja, but it was the Benin reporters that covered the story. Were the reporters transported to Abuja? Do these media agencies actually believe the stories they carry? Obaseki and the PDP has a way of leaking false news to the media and the media has to be sensitive and professional in receiving these news,” he said.
He also warned that there is a fake Twitter account purporting to belong to Pastor Ize-Iyamu, which has been disseminating false information. He warned the media to avoid it like a plague and verify all their information before passing them on.
“I only wish the media had been more professional during the elections; they were not and what is done is done,” he said. “They don’t know how violent and anti-democratic it was in several parts of Edo State, including Egor in Benin City, and so they reported that the elections were free and fair. At least, going forward, let them verify all news before passing it on. It is the basic ethic of the profession.”