The Ekiti State chapters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been engaged in war of words over the alleged media attacks on the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
The revered clergyman had during the church Lets-Go-A-Fishing programme in Ado Ekiti, visited the palace of Ewi of Ado Ekiti where he reportedly commended the State Governor, Ayo Fayose for defending the rights of his people.
But a statement purportedly issued by the APC chairman, Chief Jide Awe and published by some bloggers decried the comments, calling the pastor obscene names. Awe immediately denied issuing such a statement, maintaining that only the Publicity Secretary of the party was authourised to issue statements on behalf of the party.
Hardly had the dust settled that another statement credited to Hakeem Jamiu, an aide of Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi criticized Pastor Adeboye for commending Fayose for defending the rights of Nigerians. Jamiu also denied knowledge of such a statement and accused Fayose’s aide of initiating the statement to discredit APC.
However PDP insisted that APC leaders were responsible for the statement which many have described as ‘obnoxious.’PDP Publicity Secretary in the State, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, said: “It is the height of crude politics for the APC to insinuate that a man of God of Pastor Adeboye’s standing took bribe to commend Governor Fayose for what is obvious.
“Pastor Adeboye is a respected man of God. He is not a politician. He only said what he saw about Governor Fayose and the only Nigerians, who won’t want to accept the fact that the governor has stoutly defended Ekiti people and the common people of Nigeria, are those in the APC.”
Adebayo, who described the rebuttal by the APC Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun as an afterthought, argued that APC has a strong history of political intolerance such that anyone not with them must be condemned at all cost.
Said he: “Not minding that Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola is a leader of the party, the APC in Ekiti State reacted violently and disrespectfully to his visit to Governor Fayose in Ado Ekiti, calling him (Aregbesola) all kind of names.
“If they could attack Governor Aregbesola, one of their party’s leaders for coming to visit Governor Fayose in Ekiti and describing the governor as an omoluabi and a performer, why won’t they attack Pastor Adeboye who does not belong to their party?
“If Jide Awe could lead over 50 members of his party to protest against a highly respected Ekiti leader like Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) in faraway Ibadan, Oyo State just because he was perceived as not supporting their party candidate in 2007, mere issuing a press release to abuse Pastor Adeboye is the least of what can be expected from the APC under a character like Jide Awe.”
While admonishing the APC to stop behaving rascally and imbibe political tolerance, the PDP spokesperson said: “Denying the offensive press statement ostensibly as a result of negative comments from the public will not be enough. Jide Awe and his cohorts should seek forgiveness from God for speaking negatively against God’s anointed and desist from seeing whoever that is not on the same page with them politically as one that does not deserve to live.”
On it’s part, the APC accused Fayose of deploying his aides to unleash serial media attacks on Pastor Adeboye and blame them on APC to set Nigerians, particularly Christians of the RCCG’s sect against the party and its leaders.
Olatunbosun scoffed at the ‘fraud,’ saying such malicious report purportedly by APC followed the same pattern of alleged Fayose’s subterfuge to criminally set the public against the party for undeserved public sympathy.
According to him, the media attacks on Pastor Adeboye were orchestrated “by a criminal gang working for Fayose to always set communities against communities, individuals against individuals, and individuals against institutions”, adding that this latest one by the governor’s media aides led by Lere Olayinka, was ascribed to APC in a “criminal conspiracy to paint the party in bad light to incur the wrath of Redeemed Church members and general public.”
“We want to make it plain with all sense of responsibility that APC is not the author of the two press statements as we have utmost respect for men of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye in particular. The two press statements bear the footprint of Fayose in his characteristic manner to push fictitious and damaging press releases in the media against individuals and institutions and ascribe them to his opponents to incur public opprobrium,” he asserted.
Nonetheless, Olayinka said APC should rather prepare to face the consequences of their action instead of heaping the blame on him. He said: “I think something is wrong with them, am I the one that issued statement to attack Aregbesola for visiting Fayose? Am I the one that sponsored protest against Chief Afe Babalola. Am I the one that wrote another offensive article in the name of one faceless Pastor against Pastor Adeboye for visiting Fayose”.
The APC spokesperson claimed that the lid of the current media conspiracy was blown open by the latest press release on Pastor Adeboye, contending that they dispatched the press release to media houses in the name of one Oluwole Ogunlola with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, an email address that belongs to Ekiti State Government.
Also, he argued that there is no member of the APC media team called Oluwole Ogunlola; and that all APC press releases are signed by Taiwo Olatunbosun and sent to the media through his email address.
“The last two press releases against Adeboye, which they alleged were written by the State Chairman of APC, Jide Awe; and Fayemi’s Senior Special Assistant on Research and Documentation, Hakeem Jamiu, were neither sent to the media through Olatunbosun’s email and nor signed by him.
“Their latest attempt to paint APC leaders, such as Awe and Fayemi, in bad light in the eyes of Pastor Adeboye, fell flat on their face when reputable media houses refused to use the story because it did not originate from Taiwo Olatunbosun’s email address neither was the story signed by him as is the practice in APC’s communications to media houses.”
The party appreciated the Nigerian media for their display of professionalism and pursuit of truth by refusing to publish the malicious press release that was capable of causing social discontent in the Nigerian society.
Olatunbosun reiterated that APC, Awe or Jamiu did not issue any press release or write any article against Pastor Adeboye. “We believe that Pastor Adeboye worships and serves the true God and it is on the strength of this that we invoke Psalm 52 on the writers of those press releases attributed to APC for devising mischief, doing evil, lying and working deceitfully against the righteous.
“We believe that Pastor Adeboye has an anointed tongue and so we say that may the curses from Pastor Adeboye’s mouth and wrath of the Great Lord he serves be upon the writers of those damaging press releases against him.”
He urged security agents to conduct discrete investigations on fake news writers on the Internet, prosecute and bring them to book, to act as deterrent to others as well as stop the criminal behavior.
If they could attack Governor Aregbesola, one of their party’s leaders for coming to visit Governor Fayose in Ekiti and describing the governor as an omoluabi and a performer, why won’t they attack Pastor Adeboye who does not belong to their party?
Their latest attempt to paint APC leaders, such as Awe and Fayemi, in bad light in the eyes of Pastor Adeboye, fell flat on their face when reputable media houses refused to use the story because it did not originate from Taiwo Olatunbosun’s email address neither was the story signed by him as is the practice in APC’s communications to media houses