The Coalition of United Political Parties in Delta State yesterday defended former Minister of State for Education, Chief Kenneth Gbagi, over the alleged travails of four employees of his Signatious Hotel, Warri, Delta State.
The group said a video clip trending on social media which showed the women being stripped over the alleged disappearance of N5,000 belonging to the hotel, was doctored to malign Gbagi.
According to it, Gbagi, who was busy running his “business conglomerate”, could not have had “the time to attend to a purely mundane and trivial issue such as hotel remittances.
In a statement, the Asaba-based group stated that the attempt to link the politician to the controversy is part of a social media campaign of calumny aimed at stalling Gbagi’s governorship ambition in 2023.
It noted that in Delta State “there is hardly any highly placed political or social figure who has at one time or the other not become a victim of social media harassment.”
It said this harassment has “now become a thriving trade In Delta State and some persons feed fat trying to defame or calumnise the high and mighty that have made a success of their business or political endeavours”
The coalition cautioned against this “harmful trade”.
Describing Gbagi as a “foremost Delta industrialist, lawyer and criminologist”, it noted that although the race for the 2023 governorship election is still far, he is one of the first persons in Delta Central Senatorial district to indicate interest in the race.
“Besides, he is from Delta Central Senatorial district that is favoured to produce the governorship, judging from the rotational plan that has been in place since 1999.
“It is against this backdrop that we are warned about the spate of social media campaigns at calumny against Kenneth Gbagi by those who are seemingly frightened by his towering political profile or those who feel that Gbagi’s ambition might hurt them.
“The Coalition of united political parties in Delta State has been quite critical of the video clips making the rounds on social media which featured some half nude girls and which have been linked to Kenneth Gbagi’s Signatious Hotel.
“We have no doubt that these video clips were doctored to suit a particular purpose and as persons familiar with social media antics. It would be very unhealthy for us to rely on them as prima facie evidence against Kenneth Gbagi.
“As a man who presides over a business conglomerate and is officially recognised as the biggest investor in Delta State, it is very unlikely that he would have the time to attend to a purely mundane and trivial issue such as hotel remittances in his Signatious Hotel in Effurun. Those who believe such contrivances are only trying to belittle a business colossus like Gbagi.”
The coalition warned those involved in such “shenanigans” to desist, otherwise ‘it will backfire” against them.
The alleged incident happened on September 18, while the employees were identified as Gloria Oguzie, Victor Ephraim, Rosslyn Okiemute and Achibong Precious.
The female hotel workers were allegedly stripped half naked, photographed, arrested and arraigned before a Delta State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area of the state over the alleged disappearance of money belonging to the hotel.