Samuel Bello, Abuja
Governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 19 Edo State gubernatorial election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in this interview, said that the crisis in the party is orchestrated by immature politicians. He also spoke on other national issues.
You are in APC now and APC is in crisis in Edo State. Have you ever thought for once if you are taking the right step?
Yes there are some misunderstanding. There might be some crises here and there, but APC is not in crisis. About the opportunity to be able to be running the act in Edo North and Edo Central, what I saw was very impressive, the crowd was impressive, some leaders from across the state their enthusiasm and passion for the party were unbelievable. I saw a party ready for election even though INEC has not announced the timetable. To some extent, I know there might be some circumstances here and there, but to say that APC is in crisis is a bit too much of a stupid statement. I knew there were some issues before I came in, but it’s normal for political parties and even families to have issues. It’s just that those who are the architects of this problem are not having it well. I believe that the way they are going about it they are making their agenda impossible. The party is intact. The leadership is intact. I’m quite happy to be in their midst and I believe that in a matter of weeks, this whole problem will be over.
Do you think this misunderstanding may disturb the chances of APC in this governorship election?
No, it will not because the overwhelming majority of the party members’ house are very united, very focused. For me, the bottom line of the crisis is insistence of the governor and those within the government that they must have a second term. There is nothing wrong with that, what matters is the approach which is ridiculous. It’s not by force, not by cohesion, not by crushing perceived opponents. It’s by dialogue. It’s by persuasion and performance. The desire to do second term is legitimate. There is nothing wrong with it. That’s why I believe that sooner and later, the matter will fizzle out because by the time the primaries come, the party must have its candidate. Nobody can stop it and they will choose a candidate. The one who is fortunate and he gets it everybody will rally round him. If he doesn’t get it then he has to accept it. Even now, it will amaze you that the rank and file of the party are together. So, when people say the party is in crisis, it’s a mistake. What you need to know is that it’s so. So, when you see the party doing things like rallies and all that I want to believe too that’s why some people don’t want rallies because when you see rallies of APC you will know that there is no crisis. So,bwhy those who want to ensure that these things don’t happen is because they don’t want the world to see the huge gathering of party men and women coming together because when you see it you will now ask yourself then what’s the problem? If you want to know whether the party is united, allow them come out without harassment. Even with the harassment, I think that the party men and women are quite focused and believe in the state and national leadership of the party and at the appropriate time this storm will lower. Well, it’s unfortunate. I remember many years ago we had a national political party. If my memory is right, I don’t know whether the GMPP that had the slogan, ‘Politics without bitterness’, that slogan is noted well all over the country and even in Edo State, it’s so easy for the national chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomole to reunite in the same APC. Why because during the campaign, we exchanged a lot of hot words and during campaign a lot of things were said. You don’t take them too much into act. When I left the APC In anger Adams Oshiomhole, the then governor, decided to invite me for his marriage after the unfortunate demise of his wife, our then first lady, and many people thought I will not attend, but we went there with a large entourage. He welcomed us very warmly to show that the fact that we are different parties or that we left each other under disputed circumstances does not mean that we will become enemies for life. Those who are the architech of the present crisis in Edo to me are not showing the required political maturity and we normally see especially those who hold high political office. I was secretary to the state government when he was governor and no matter what you may say about him there is one quotation that he used to say that his definition of political vision is not the number of people you crush, but the number of people you maneuver and so he took it as a personal agenda to reach out to even his worst critics to those in opposition to visit them, dine with them and it endeared him to all of them so in this position where even those in your party are against you that you must die because they opposed your second term bid to me is immaturity. Wickedness can kill people because of your ambition. One of the pictures I treasure is the picture of myself with Gen. Charles Ayare, Pius Odubu, Chris Oghenwonyi, people who have gubernatorial aspirations and yet we can come together, hug ourselves and I pray that anybody that gets it fine and all of us will work with that person that is how its supposed to be, but when you belive that only you must get it and others who challenge you must die then that is not the understanding. There must be contestation and who wins it is fine, there’s no disagreement, all of us cannot accept one person even within the family, there are disagreement. You will not kill your brother because they disagree with you. So, it’s unfortunate I think we must imbibe political tolerance. Somebody can be against you today and tomorrow he can be your best friend. You know it’s unfortunate if within the same party we can have this level of intolerance. How about when we have to now deal with those on the other side.
Is there anyway these things can affect national development?
Any place you have insecurity, development suffers. In the past one year you can’t hear about anything happening in Edo apart from the constant conferences for those who don’t want the governor to go for second term and the subsequent threats to destroy them. Investors, visitors and even indigenes listening to such narratives will think twice about doing anything serious in the state. Even though they are determined to stay in Edo State they might decide to postpone till more conducive timing. So, those who wish our state well, those who sincerely desire development in the state must help to create a conducive atmosphere and that’s what I find shocking. Even when the APC has tried at national level to setup committee to come and dissolve the problems here and those who would have been at the fore front of receiving them would be the one saying that they will not accept them. Everybody appears to be biased to the extent that even the number three man in the state, the Senate President is an honour for even the Senate President to even consent to head the committee on resolving the crisis in Edo State. It shows how important our state is. You hear the governor, the deputy and those in government rejecting him and saying that they don’t want him, that is bias if not because he did his duty, presided over the National Assembly when the issue of Edo was discussed automatically, it’s bias they don’t want the president to come. It’s so unfortunate and I think that they should have a rethink, they should learn to be more tolerant when you try to look at issues. If not because APC is so blooded in Edo, of course, we would have been facing very serious danger of even a defeat, but luckily the APC has taken over the entire political landscape and it will be very difficult to dismount them. I must say that the restrain the other side has shown is remarkable in spite of very apparent prohibition. You noticed what happened, a hotel was demolished despite the fact that the owner has gone to court and got a restraining order and you ask yourself is it that there is a road that is being constructed and that house is blocking the right of way. Is it that there is a major government project: a school, a hospital thst is being constructed on that place. Fine, if that was the case, a house that is in an obscure corner on the street is what they picked.