…As Odubu, Airhiavbere, others throw weight behind him
By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – A Governorship aspirant of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has explained his grievances with the state Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, saying it would be politically suicidal for the party to present the incumbent for a second term.
This was as some aspirants including a former deputy governor of the state, Dr Pius Odubu stepped down for him.
Among those who stepped down for him are Chief Solomon Edebiri, Prof. Ebegue Amadasun, Gen Charles Airhiavbere, Engr Chris Ogiemwonyi, Hon. Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, Hon Saturday Uwuilekhue and Mr Blessing Agbonmhere.
Ize-Iyamu spoke on Wednesday shortly after picking his Nomination and Expression of Interest Forms at the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja.
He said the aspirants and members of the APC Caucus in the House of Representatives led by the House Deputy Leader, Comrade Peter Akpatason contributed the N22.5 million fees to purchase the forms for him.
While he conceded that the governor has a right to seek a second term, such ambition is negotiable, as other APC members have a right to seek to displace him.
Ize-Iyamu said he has done his best trying to counsel the governor and that the time has come to reposition the state.
He said; “We mean well for our state. We are not looking for positions simply because we need to look for something to occupy us. Even though what we have now is an APC Administration, we are not too happy with the pace of development. We are not happy with the rancour. We are not happy with the divisions. We are not happy with the insecurity and that cannot augur well for development. That was why we said our party cannot be changed, that it is better to change the incumbent and ensure that our party remains in office.
“In all the rifts in the party, I have not heard the national Chairman say anything against the governor. It has been one-way traffic. It has been the governor, his deputy and people in his government constantly and persistently abusing the national Chairman, who as a father has kept quiet. The governor has created a rift between himself and leaders of the party in Edo state because the people that put him there, he has dismissed them, used all kinds of negative adjectives to describe them. He has no relationship with them.
When I came in, I made several efforts to see the governor tell him o was coming back home and to advise him that it was better to have a united house than creating factions. It is surprising that before I came into the party, I could speak to him at will but the moment I told him about my agenda, why I wanted to see him, it became impossible. He closed the door and of course, you do not expect me to force my way into Government House. I have done my best in trying to talk to him and those who are close to him that factions and strong words are not the way to go.
“For me, the governor has a right to seek a second term but he cannot say that it is not negotiable because bif that is your position, it means you are saying that the party should not even sell forms to anybody and that Edo people do not have the discretion as to chose who should be their governor. To say it is not negotiable is to rubbish the rest of us who also have a right to contest”, he added.
One of the aspirants who stepped down for him, Mr Agbonmhere said God had revealed to him that Ize-Iyamu will emerge the next governor of Edo state, hence his decision to withdraw from the race.
According to Agbonmhere, Pastor Ize-Iyamu is a leader of Edo people worldwide who have been part of development of the state even before now.
He said; “Pastor Ize-Iyamu is a born leader who can unite all factions of APC in the state and I can tell you that the deputy governor, Phillip Shuaibu that people are talking about today will gladly work with Ize-Iyamu as governor.
“Why I know that Ize-Iyamu will get the ticket is that apart from the fact that I got the revelation from God, I also know that Governor Godwin Obaseki has insulted all the leaders of APC in Edo state, he has called them names. He has called them thieves and beggars. So, the leaders are not happy with the governor and they are ready to work for the emergence of Pastor Ize-Iyamu as governor, who they believe is a mature leader and has the capacity to unite the state for development.”