Email: [email protected]
The governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has expressed confidence in beating the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki in the coming primary.
Other contestants: Chris Ogiemonyi, Dr Pius Odubu, Gen. Charles Airhiavbare and Solomon Edebiri opted out on Wednesday leaving Ize-Iyamu as the consensus candidate.
Mr Ize-Iyamu who appeared on Channels Television on Wednesday said there was no way Godwin Obaseki will win the primary, adding that he would work with him if he did.
“Definitely, I am a party man to the core I can tell you very honestly that there is no way he can win and that was why we were so many that wanted to run against him because we knew that beating him in the primary would be a piece of cake unless it is not APC people in Edo State that would vote in the primary, if they are, there is no way he can win,” he boasted.
Four years ago, Ize-Iyamu who was the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party had a series of fallout with his former ally, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Adams Oshiomhole.
The duo called each other names, disrepute one another and at a time, Ize-Iyamu apologised to Edo people for his role in the emergence of the then Governor.
In an effort to defeat Godwin Obaseki who has been described as a prodigal son, Ize-Iyamu and Oshiomhole have joined forces together with the help of those who had accused the governor of neglect.
Speaking on Channels on Wednesday, Ize-Iyamu said Oshiomhole ill-words against him was to stop him from winning the election, adding that he never held grudges against him.
“Seven years ago when he was seeking re-election, I was the director-general of his campaign, I was not fighting him, and for your information, he won the eighteen local government working together, so two of us have worked together in his first and second election.
“The problem that led to my leaving the party had to do with the congresses that we did which had nothing to do with his coming in or going. Of course, you know that disagreement is normal in politics, even in a family you disagree, that does not change who you are, who was the comrade supporting, the governor now who says he is a nobody.”
He added “I don’t feel bad because whatever he said about me was meant to ensure that I didn’t emerge. There was no way he would have allowed me coming from another party to come and take the governorship from his own party in the state, so what he did to me was fair in war and I do not have any grudge against him.”
When asked why he returned to the party he strongly criticized four years ago, the APC aspirant said he is one of the founder fathers of the APC, stressing that Obaseki wasn’t there when the party was formed.
He also said he only returned to the house he helped built, where he has friends, noting that he also listened to his followers.
“I was one of the founders of the APC. We founded the party, APC. I was the Vice-Chairman of the constitutional drafting committee. The people you are talking about including the present governor don’t even know how the party was formed. I left because of disagreement and are you saying that if people speak to me with time I should not come back to the house that we built?
“I have friends in the APC at the state and national level who were talking to me and I had time to reflect. There are many things you do in anger, and of course, at that time, I was very angry, so one has matured, is something wrong with that?”
The aspirant who is fondly called by his followers as Pastor expressed regret in leaving the party, adding that he was very angry when he took such a decision, assuring that APC will be his final destination.
“With age, you mature and tolerate a lot of things. I’ll tell you quite frankly when I played back why I left I realized that I shouldn’t have left, it was just a temporary situation but sometimes ago, you listen to your followers.
“In my 50s, I don’t see why I should leave the APC, I am very comfortable, I believe this is the party I can contribute my quarter to make things happen to try to ensure that our people get the best in governance.”