The candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19 Edo state gubernatorial election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has been roiled by renewed allegations that he poured acid on a fellow student when he was an undergraduate at the University of Benin; allegations he strongly denies, saying he was just an innocent victim who was unjustly punished for the incident.
During the 2016 governorship campaign, former Edo governor and then APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had alleged that Ize-Iyamu, who was then candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in that election, poured acid on a student. But in an online television program monitored in the Edo state capital, Benin City yesterday, Ize-Iyamu said he was the principal first responder who alerted the attention of the UNIBEN officials to the plight of the student.
Ize-Iyamu, who said he ensured the student got first aid treatment, however, added that he and others linked to the incident were rusticated because the identity of the culprit was never known. Ize-Iyamu said he enrolled into the University of Benin in 1980 to read Political Science, but later changed to law and did not graduate until 1986 because of the rustication.
His words: “When I was in the university, I was a member of the Pyrates Confraternity. At that time, we didn’t look at it as a cult arrangement, but some people were already coming in with tendencies that created problems. We had this very confrontational group and one evening, somebody reported to us that they beat up a final year student who was also close to us and they mentioned the names of those involved, and we said no, this is bad.
“Don’t also forget too that I was a student union leader, very prominent in the students’ union congress. So, I and some persons who heard about this complaint said let’s go and see the people concerned and talk to them. We went there and met with the people concerned, they opened the door for us and we were discussing the matter under a very cordial atmosphere only for some people to come in and before we knew it, there was smoke in the whole place and somebody shouted acid and somebody was shouting and screaming. It was then I realised that somebody has poured acid on somebody and I quickly rushed to the security post. I brought them in and we took the young man to get first aid treatment.
“Of course, the school set up an inquiry, and the person that was affected admitted that I was the one who brought security agents and that I was able to take him in for medical attention. I asked who poured it and he said he didn’t know. “He said he knew the face but does not know his name and nobody appeared to know the name and the university said since you people don’t want to mention the name, we are going to sanction all of you involved and before we knew it they expelled us. But the reason they gave was that they were expelling us for belonging to a proscribed organization. But the long and short of it is that we were on it for two years till 1986 when the Senate held a meeting and said these guys have been punished enough, that if you look at the records, they were not the one that committed what happened, so, we were called back, graduated and then went to the Law School.”