The 2016 governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Wednesday picked the expression of interest and nomination forms of the All Progressives Congress (APC), after his Tuesday’s emergence in Abuja as the consensus candidate of the pro-Adams Oshiomhole APC in Edo State.
Ize-Iyamu, a lawyer and former Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG), promised to work with other governorship aspirants, ahead of the June 22 direct governorship primary election and September 19 poll.
The consensus candidate was accompanied by some of the governorship aspirants: Prof. Ebegue Amadasun; Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.); Chris Ogiemwonyi, an engineer; Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma and Saturday Uwuilekhue, as well as other leaders of APC, thereby demonstrating their resolve and commitment to work together for Ize-Iyamu to emerge as the party’s standard bearer.
Ize-Iyamu, Wednesday in an online statement by his campaign organisation, signed by the Director of Communication and Media, John Mayaki, described his purchase of the expression of interest and nomination forms as another stride in the quest to move Edo state forward.
He said: “By obtaining the forms today, we have formally placed our name on the party’s ballot for our internal primary next month (June 22). It is another great stride and we are thankful to the other aspirants who have joined us here today (yesterday) to offer support.
“There have been efforts to cause disunity in our party and pitch people against one another by those who have sadly embraced politics without principles and are openly rebelling against the leadership of our party, because they believe they have absolute powers. It is clear from today’s (Wednesday’s) event that Edo State APC is united and these deviants may have a loud voice, but they do not represent the majority.
“Everyone here may have personal ambitions, but we are bound together by the common desire to fast-track the transformation of our state, through transparent, effective and accountable governance that will improve the living standard and social well-being of our people. We all recognise that this cannot happen, unless we dislodge the present administration that has failed this great party and the people of Edo State.
“An accepted truth is that Edo State needs a government that is alert, proactive and prompt. Not the one that has scant regard for the rule of law and seeks to gain an unfair and undemocratic advantage through the manipulation of serious matters of public health.”
The consensus candidate, who is a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), emerged on Tuesday night and he was presented by the Chairman of the screening committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena, the representative of Edo North Senatorial District.
Other members of the screening committee were a former Edo Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen; Gen. Cecil Esekhaigbe; ex-Speaker of Edo House of Assembly, Thomas Okosun; former Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Samson Osagie; ex-member of the House of Representatives, Patrick Obahiagbon; and the current Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives, Peter Akpatason.
Besides Ize-Iyamu, who was last week granted waiver to contest by the national leadership of APC, the other screened aspirants were a former Minister of State for Works (Ogiemwonyi), who immediately congratulated the winner; ex-Deputy Governor of Edo state, Dr. Pius Odubu; and Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.), while Chief Solomon Edebiri withdrew on Tuesday morning.
While the screening was ongoing in Abuja, the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a former Edo governor, was at his Iyamho hometown in Etsako West Local Government Area of the state for Eid-el-Fitr celebration, but he returned to Abuja in the evening and addressed the aspirants, while congratulating Ize-Iyamu.
A chieftain of APC, who was at the screening and spoke in confidence through the telephone Wednesday, informed our reporter that the former SSG (Ize-Iyamu) was considered as the consensus candidate in view of his popularity and having teeming supporters across the three senatorial districts of Edo state.
The source added that Ize-Iyamu’s impressive performance during the 2016 governorship election, as the candidate of the main opposition PDP, whom a chieftain of APC, Tony Kabaka, whose highbrow hotel in Benin was recently demolished by Governor Godwin Obaseki of the same APC, declared that he (Ize-Iyamu) actually won the crucial election, but Obaseki was declared winner through “abracadabra.”
Chairman of the screening committee, while formally presenting Ize-Iyamu as the consensus candidate to slug it out with Obaseki on June 22, with direct mode of governorship primary election wished him success and he expressed optimism that he (Ize-Iyamu) would be the standard bearer of the party for the September 19 poll and to be inaugurated as governor on November 12 this year.
Ogiemwonyi, in his congratulatory message Wednesday morning said: “On 4th May, 2020, all aspirants for the 2020 Edo APC governorship ticket, who subscribe to the ideals of the authentic Edo APC, agreed that whosoever among us is chosen as the consensus candidate will be accepted, congratulated and supported to realise his ambition of providing purposeful leadership for our dear state.
“In furtherance of that agreement and my abiding philosophy that ‘a man’s word must be his bond,’ which is further reinforced by my loyalty to our great party and absolute belief in party supremacy, I hereby heartily congratulate my dear brother and friend, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, on his emergence as Edo authentic APC consensus candidate yesterday.
“I crave your indulgence to place it here on record that my dear brother, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and my humble self-have a shared commitment and vision for accelerated development of our dear state, anchored on purposeful and effective leadership, leveraging on the abundant human and natural resources in our dear state. I therefore commit myself to helping my brother realise his ambition and aspiration, which today becomes mine and to which I pledge my unflinching support.
“I call on all members of the Ogiemwonyi political family and my teeming supporters to join me in providing the needed support for my dear brother’s (Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu’s) ambition and aspiration. The task of rescuing Edo State at this time is more important than all political considerations and I know with our support, Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu will accomplish the task. Once again, congratulations, my dear brother and friend, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.”