Akporehe Clears APC Chairman Oyegun of Wrong Doing;
..Insist Anirah procured own death certificate to stave off criminal prosecution
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
I am Hon. Gibson Akporehe from Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State; the candidate for the Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie Federal Constituency under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the just concluded election. I contested that election with three (3) other candidates from PDP, LP and SDP. The result of the election was officially in favour of the PDP candidate in spite of the anomalies and corrupt practices that marred the election which we are presently contesting in the court. We are very hopeful that justice will be dispensed in this matter.
There had been allegation of death certificate forgery against you, by one Chrostopher Anirah whom you substituted as APC candidate ahead of the primaries, are you aware?
Issue of forgery is a matter I would address as I proceed in this interview. First, I would like to tell you that I as a person I did not forge the death certificate of Anirah neither did the party leadership forge the said documents. The said Anirah manufactured those documents to fend off prosecution which I threatened to initiate against him and his collaborators fingered in the forgery of “my withdrawal letter” from the election to pave way for his candidacy. I will take you back to the genesis of this controversy. On the 18th of December 2014, my name was forwarded by the leadership of APC to INEC as their candidate for the Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie Federal Constituency. Shortly after my name was forwarded to INEC, my name was published on the website and it remained on the INEC website and notice boards till on the 14th of January 2015 when it was withdrawn from the website. And how was my name withdrawn from the website while I was preparing to campaign? Christopher Anirah set in motion wrongfully or illegally machinery to delete my name from the list of candidates running for the election. Somehow, I believed he did it with some unscrupulous party officials who manufactured a letter of withdrawal which was ascribed to me and in that said letter my signature was simulated tending to establish that I withdrew from the race; that document with another documents that were also ascribed to the National Chairman, Chief John O. Oyegun forwarding his (Christopher Anirah,s name were presented to INEC. Meanwhile, in that letter that was ascribed to the National Chairman, the National Chairman,s signature was also forged and so it was these forged documents that INEC was acting on when information reached me on the 9th of January. I immediately flew into Abuja with my lawyer to lodge a complaint against the substitution process in its inchoate state, dissociated myself from that letter ascribed to me. Beside the letter my lawyer wrote, I also wrote telling INEC I never withdrew from the race and made it very clear that I was still the candidate; we also pointed out some irregularities in the documents which Christopher Anirah forwarded to INEC seeking to replace me. In spite of those manifest deficiencies in the entire documents and my protest, INEC still went ahead to remove my name from the website on the 14th of January 2015, I left INEC for the National headquarters of my party to lay my complaint. I wrote series of letters to INEC demanding reinstatement of my name and further posited that if my name was not re-instated, I was going to institute an action against them and one national commissioner of INEC, I think Irene Irhemire from Delta State. She was the person being used to perpetrate all this against me; so on the 14th of January 2015, my name was wrongfully withdrawn from the race. I fought, fought and fought; eventually my name was re-instated on the 27th of March, a day to the election. This belated reinstatement of my name exposed me to grave disadvantages in the election. That was how so much controversy was strewn around my candidacy in the just concluded election, it was marked with controversy that was not originated by me but was foisted on me by people who did not want me to run the election against the PDP candidate because of the enormous goodwill I enjoy from the electorate. As distracting as the experience, I had to face it with calmly.
How then come about this story by Anirah that you conspired with the leadership of your party, APC, to forge his death certificate?
That is where I am going now. Please take your time to follow the sequence of my stories. When my name was withdrawn on the 14th of December, I came back home and then met the local leadership of the party in the state, I drew their attention to my wrongful substitution and threatened I was going to lodge a criminal complaint against them and prosecute them as well in a civil suit. So, in response to my reaction, Christopher Anirah was then invited, on arrival , he was presented with what I had tabled before the party leadership. I made it very clear that I was not going to accept any solution that is less than my reinstatement as a candidate for the election. They said I should give them some time, so we retired from the meeting, after a while they now invited me that Christopher Anirah had agreed to produce documents that will enable my name to be re-instated as the candidate of the party. I said well and good! I told them if that was done, then I would not prosecute anybody so I left for Warri. Two days after, they called me that Christopher Anirah was with the Deputy State Chairman and my attention was needed. Of course, I drove straight to Sapele, three of us met and right in my presence Christopher Anirah brought out documents from a folder which he handed over to the Deputy State Chairman. On browsing through it, I saw there was a death certificate/an affidavit that were written in the name of one Anirah, he handed over the documents to the State Deputy Chairman to take to Abuja in order to reinstate my name on INEC website as the candidate of the party. Since that was done, I restrained myself from prosecuting anybody. Shortly after the process of reinstating my name commenced, Christopher Anirah as a result of the pressure from his immediate supporters started contesting my reinstatement. He now went to the National Chairman of the party to complain that his death certificate was forged. Of course that was not the position. These were documents himself sourced and gave to the state deputy chairman to take to Abuja to save himself from being prosecuted because the only condition I gave for not prosecuting him is to make sure my name was re-instated as the candidate of the party. Unfortunately for him, his strange change of mind to throw spanner in the wheel notwithstanding, my name was re-instated on the 27th day of March. Now I have heard about series of allegations against certain persons in the party, the Deputy State Chairman, National Chairman, Chief Oyegun and the governorship candidate of the party are being falsely accused by Christopher Anirah as persons who colluded with me to change his name. Those are nonsense allegations that should be discountenanced.
Anirah, has repeatedly alleged that the party national chairman, Chief John Oyegun was part of this death certificate forgery scandal, how do you see this allegation?
For me that is the most irresponsible and insensitive statement to make about the person of Chief Oyegun. He didn’t have any role to play; the role he played in the matter was the administrative processing of the correspondence that came to him from the state. how do you expect an experience administrator like Chief Oyegun to act on the claim of an individual that he was not dead where there are documents showing that the person bearing the name was dead, the only thing that would have persuaded Chief Oyegun to accede to such request that the certificate was forged was a court order nullifying those set of documents that declared the person bearing that name dead; the man knew that option but he did not follow that option because he was not sincere. He was doing what he was doing to satisfy those sponsoring him, if he actually wanted Chief Oyegun to revert what he had already agreed on to do, he would have done what was necessary in law to persuade Oyegun to forward his name to INEC in replacement of my name, he did not go to court to nullify those documents. So, how could Oyegun have disregarded those documents? The man is too experience to be deceived into illegal trap so he vehemently rejected the man, s request because the process that would have convinced him into acting on the man’s letter was not there. Remember Anirah already has a toga of forgery against him. This was the same man who forged my signature and that of the National Chairman in falsely withdrawing my name and putting his name into the INEC list. The National Chairman is aware of all this; infact that the man did not get the court order coupled with the impression they already had about Christopher Anirah rightly made John Oyegun to reject his request. If I were in his shoes that is what I would have done, to do otherwise is to make you vulnerable in a legal tangle.
Have you any encounter with Anirah before this whole episode of substitution in the party primaries?
The only encounter I had with Anirah after the primary when I came from Abuja to ask the party leaders in Sapele to produce him that was when I actually had an interface with him aside the brief encounter during the primaries. He has not been in politics, he is a new entrant into the political game, he is not known.
In the course of reconciliation between both of you and the party local leadership, it would seem there was coercion that Anirah should fake his death, was that the case?
There was no coercion except that I was very vehement. I sounded it very clear and loud that no intervention of any personality will change my mind, that the only thing that will change the course of action is when my name is reinstated and when they saw the vehemence, the other people did not have any option than to prevail on him to do it and he had to do it because he did not want to be prosecuted either nor subject himself to unnecessary litigations, so he did what was needful to stave off all criminal prosecution.
Why is he reneging now?
The truth is that Anirah is not alone in this project; he is being used to discredit the party. From the onset, Anirah did not come with a sincere motive; he only came acting the script of his PDP sponsors. We all know those who are behind him, so a man has been given money what do you expect him to do? He will justify the money he has received from his sponsors by making noise , that is what the man is doing, he is just ranting, no faith on what he is doing; he has instituted an action in the court against me which he has abandoned. If he is sincere in his court action, he should go to court to prosecute the case against me and resorting to the press to spread falsehood against party leaders. He is being used to smear the leaders of the party for financial gains, unfortunately he is equally making nuisance of himself
As it stands now, what is the way forward?
The way forward is that the law courts are already handling the matter. Both of us have instituted cases against each in the court and I am will diligently pursue the cases in court.
In the face of this allegation and the dent it was designed to create, what advice do you have for your teeming supporters out there?
My supporters are very furious by this drama but I always tell them to be calm and relax because these are some of the things you must face when playing politics. We are not sufficiently polish enough to leave by civilized behaviours and as long as we have all kinds of characters involved in politics, so long we are going to be face with actions as being displayed by Christopher Anirah. We will manage them because in politics you cannot avoid people with such traits. But a good politician must have the capacity to manage weird characters; that is the hallmark of a good politician especially in our clime. That is exactly what I am doing.