After swimming in upsurge of praises for his alleged condemnation of Senator Francis Alimikhena, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, representing Owan Federal Constituency in Nigeria’s House of Representatives have denied reports that he took a swipe on his fellow parliamentarian.
Ihonvbere was quoted to have condemned Senator Francis Alimikhena and other Senators who voted against the e-transmission of future election results.
According to one of the reports, the lawmaker made the now disowned statement at a town hall meeting in Afuze where he delivered his mid-term report to members of his constituency, where he equally addressed the press after the said meeting.
His high rating was however cut short swiftly by his reaction to the news report of his verbal attack on Alimikhena.
Speaking through his aide, Bright Iriekpen, the former Secretary to Edo State Government, made a 360° turn to debunk the report that he condemned those that voted electronic transmission of election results.
Ihonvbere insisted that he was quoted out of context.
“The news report alleging that Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, the HOR member representing Owan Federal Constituency, purportedly condemns Senator Alimikhena for voting against e-transmission is false and should be disregarded by members of the public.
“The platform responsible for the report betrayed journalistic ethics and standards by adding a mischievous twist to a broad, impersonal statement made by the Reps member on an important national issue, therefore sacrificing truth, which ought to be the most important element of any report, in a consuming pursuit of cheap clicks and virality”
However, the storm that has greeted versions of Ihonvbere’s statement points to the fact that his denial may have failed to convince Edo State and Owan electorate.
Shortly after his denial statement, a video alleging to the veracity of an earlier report, surfaced online where a man reported as Prof. Ihonvbere is seen addressing his constituent as well as the press.
“I support electronic transmission of result, I know INEC has the capacity for electronic transmission, unless INEC wants to say those card readers they sent to different parts of the country are for decoration, in which case, all the elections where we used them will be canceled.
“But it is not! The card reader uses sim and in the over 190,000 polling booths there are card readers using sim. People are writing WAEC, People are writing NECO, they are doing computer based test. Nigeria must move forward. When are we going to grow and agree that where we are, we should leave.
“Other countries are moving forward, Rwanda, Ghana around us. So, I support the electronic transmission.” Ihnobvere is quoted to have said in the latest video.
The puzzle now is why Prof Julius Ihonvbere may have decided to commit political somersault to the extent of denying a very popular statement that was seen as an ingredient for democratic development in Nigeria.
Efforts to get Ihonvbere’s response were unsuccessful, as his promise of a callback failed.13