The fierce battle for Edo State’s governorship election is getting more intrigues. Therefore, aspirants in various political parties are jostling to clinch their party’s ticket to run for the much awaited election.
But of prime interest to every follower of the race, is the battle for the soul of All Progressives Congress, APC. The primary election is just weeks away. And the top contenders are up their games to win the hearts of delegates/voters at the primary election.
Top on the list is a political heavyweight, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who has already obtained his nomination form at the party’s secretariat in Abuja. No doubt, he is Governor Godwin Obaseki’s major challenger for the APC ticket.
Having keenly followed the political developments in the state for years, an ambassador for good governance, who is based in Ancona, Italy, Mr. Julius Osasehi has said that the former Governorship candidate under PDP was the right person to bring reformation to Edo State. He described him as a technocrat with vast experience in governance and state economy.
He believes that Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who defected from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, has the requirements to move Edo State forward. He added that Ize-Iyamu, as a former Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG), would not disappoint the leadership of APC and the people of Edo State.
He argued that there was no stronger political figure in APC, who can defeat Governor Obaseki at the forthcoming primary election at the party.
Osasehi expressed the confidence that if Ize-Iyamu is given the ticket, opponents from other political parties were in for a big trouble. He foresaw a landslide victory for the pastor.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu has been chosen as the consensus candidate by the screening committee chairman, Senator Francis Alimikhena. Members of the committee include a former Edo Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen, General Cecil Esekhaigbe, a former Edo House of Assembly Speaker, Thomas Okosun, a former House of Representatives Minority Whip Samson Osagie, a former House of Representatives member Patrick Obahiagbon and House of Representatives Deputy Leader Peter Akpatason.
Besides Ize-Iyamu, who was last week granted a waiver to contest the primary by the APC national leadership, the other screened aspirants were a former Minister of State for Works, Chris Ogiemwonyi, a former Deputy Governor Dr Pius Odubu and General Charles Airhiavbere. Solomon Edebiri withdrew from the race.
Osasehi said that Ize-Iyamu was chosen due to his popularity and support base across the three senatorial districts.
Ize-Iyamu and Obaseki will contest the party’s primary on June 22.
The Ambassador, who is also a political activist, said: “I had a meeting with him when I was in Nigeria some months ago. From our interaction, I don’t need any soothsayer to tell me that Pastor Ize-Iyamu is the man that Edo people have been waiting for. He revealed some of his plans to me and I saw sincerity in every of his words.
“I am appealing to party members to queue behind the tested and trusted aspirant. It is glaring that his acumen will bring a total turnaround in the political, economic and social life of Edo State. He is a man after the people’s heart. I strongly believe that he will judiciously utilise the resources of the state to better the lives of the citizens.”
Osasehi reiterated that Ize-Iyamu has an unalloyed commitment and vision for accelerated development of Edo. He said that the aspirant’s selflessness and resourcefulness were his selling points, which places him at vantage position beyond his contemporaries.
Speaking after obtaining the party’s governorship nomination form, Ize-Iyamu said: “Many of us are very passionate about the development of the state and even though what we have is an APC government, we are not too happy with the pace of development.
“We are not happy with the rancour; we are not happy with the division and the insecurity in the state and that cannot augur well for development. We should change the incumbent and ensure that our party remains in office.”
Ize-Iyamu said the decision was a product of many months of discussions with the other seven aspirants.
“The process has been on for quite a while. Some even thought it could not work, but because of the calibre of those involved, it has worked.
“Some days ago, we had our last meeting and the remaining seven of us resolved that before picking the form, we should agree on one person and support the person, not just with our mouths, but with our pockets. So, we decided to put money together to support whoever we chose.
“I am happy to announce that at the end of the day I was chosen among this formidable group,” Ize-Iyamu said.
The aspirant said his selection was not Oshiomole’s making.
“The National Chairman cannot endorse me by the virtue of his office. He cannot take the risk of taking sides in matters like that. So, the National Chairman is clearly out of it,” he said.
It would be recall that the APC National Chairman and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, has fallen apart with his successor. The comrade has also made his position known that he was not going to support the incumbent governor for a second term.
Osasehi stressed that the coast is getting clearer for Pastor Ize-Iyamu on daily basis. He emphasised that the aspirant would disappoint the people of the state on the confidence repose in him.
He stated that he was cocksure that
Ize-Iyamu, if elected, would carry the youth along in his government. He expressed confidence that the aspirant would work his talk of the plans to create jobs and embark on aggressive and massive infrastructure development.
Osasehi concluded that his preferred candidate would not disappoint Edo people, irrespective of religious, political and tribal affiliations