By Tony Ehighiale, Benin City
A key member and governorship aspirant of the opposition PeoplesÂ Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, was on WednesdayÂ afternoon whisked away by the anti-graft agency, Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).He was said to have been arrested shortly after he was screened by theÂ committee of the PDP in Benin the Edo state capital.
The EFCC officials had stormed the secretariat complex where theyÂ waited for the committee to screen him and whisked him away in anÂ unmarked white hilux van.
They were said to have arrived the state from its zonal head office inÂ Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.
Findings revealed that the international passport belonging to theÂ Orhiomwon born politician and Pastor of the Redeemed Christian ChurchÂ of God (RCCG)Â has been seized by officials of the anti graft agency.
It would be recalled that Pastor Ize-Iyamu was among the three PDPÂ governorship aspirants who were screened by the committee chaired byÂ the former minister of Education Prof. Tunde Adenirun while one ofÂ them, Mr. Osaro Onaiwu withdrew from the contest citing crisis withinÂ the national leadership of the party in Abuja.
The two others also screened included Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen and Â Chief Solomon Edebiri.
Also, Ize-Iyamu was invited by the EFCC at its Port Harcourt officeÂ among other key leaders of the PDP in the state for questioning lastÂ month over N700million arms deal which was allegedly shared by the
leaders during the Presidential election of ex-President GoodluckÂ Jonathan last year.
Source close to the PDP secretariat in Benin City disclosed yesterdayÂ that already the EFCC had filed charges against the opposition partyâ€™sÂ governorship aspirant over his alleged involvement in the sharing ofÂ the N700m funds meant for arms purchase which Edo state chapter of the Â party got as campaign fund for last yearâ€™s Presidential polls.
It was further learnt that top leaders of the party in the state areÂ sourcing for funds in order to refund the huge sum and to are settleÂ the case out of court as well as to go into plea bargain should the
matter finally come up in court.
Some stakeholders within the party were said to have raised concernÂ over the screening of the RCCG pastor knowing fully well that if givenÂ the PDP ticket his involvement in the N700 arms scandal will be usedÂ against him by the ruling party, the APC.
However, the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)Â and Labour Party (LP) in the state are said to have thrown theirÂ platforms open in wait for the outcome of the PDP primaries come JuneÂ 20 for one of the governorship aspirants in the state.