EDO State’s former deputy governor, Rev. Peter Obadan, has said the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, will be elected on September 19, considering his peaceful nature.
He added that Ize-Iyamu will emerge victorious because he does not discriminate.
Obadan said it would be wrong to claim that Ize-Iyamu was imposed as the APC standard-bearer by the former national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, stressing that he was elected by APC members in the 192 wards across the 18 local governments in a direct primary.
Obadan, the deputy to ex-governor John Odigie-Oyegun, spoke yesterday at a news conference in Benin.
He said: “Ize-Iyamu of Edo South Senatorial District does not discriminate. We also have Muslims in Edo State. There is need for this cooperation, so that we can have peace. To build the foundation for peaceful co-existence, he picked a Muslim, Mallam Gani Audu, of Edo North Senatorial District, as his running mate.
“Ize-Iyamu is also a planner. He is not looking at today, but tomorrow. So, he is building a foundation for co-existence between Muslims and Christians.
“It is deceitful to claim that when Godwin Obaseki finishes four years, an Ishan man from Edo Central Senatorial District will take over from him. What do they think Philip Shaibu (Edo deputy governor, from Edo North Senatorial District) is gunning for? Obaseki promised Shaibu that he would hand over to him in 2024. Let no Ishan man deceive himself.
“So, assuming Obaseki wins, which is not possible, and he hands over to Shaibu, Ishan people are looking at 12 years before they can attempt to bring a governor. They will not even have a deputy during Shaibu’s time, if it works for them, because he is going to pick a deputy from Benin (Edo South Senatorial District), which Osarodion Ogie, the current Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG) is waiting for. Certain people are being fooled. Ize-Iyamu is a man of his words and he will be fair to the Ishan.”
The APC chieftain, while commenting on the 2016 negative comments of Oshiomhole against Ize-Iyamu, as the then governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), noted that the remarks were part of playing politics, to ensure the then APC standard-bearer (Obaseki) emerged victorious.
He said: “Comrade Oshiomhole’s negative comments may not have left the minds of some Edo people, but the good thing is that when they find Oshiomhole in association with Ize-Iyamu, then I am sure they will be keen to understand the game of politics. It is a game of wit and you have to do everything to defeat the opponent.
“So, if I can talk to you to convince you in a manner that will cause you to vote for me, and vote against my opponent, I will. Nobody sermonises in the field of politics.
“Edo PDP became non-existent when Ize-Iyamu left. So, Obaseki decided to defect to PDP to pick the remnant that Ize-Iyamu left. I can assure you that before the September 19 election, Obaseki will look back and will not find his followers.
“The people who are still making noise, who are still shouting Obaseki today, it is because they know that he has some three or four months to go and so the money there must be spent. The contracts awarded must be paid for. So, before the election, they are going to say wait a minute, we have nothing more to gain from this man; it is time to take our decision.”
On the choice of a former Edo SSG (Ize-Iyamu) as APC’s governorship candidate, Obadan disclosed that the leadership of the party met and decided that there was the need for change.
He said: “In Edo State APC in 2020, we had fantastic governorship aspirants and they were all individually qualified to defeat Obaseki, but there were certain things that we did put into consideration. We said the last time (in 2016), Ize-Iyamu won the governorship election, but we were told he lost.
“If that was the case, it was a sin for which you do not only need forgiveness, you need restitution. So, it was on the strength of that that we turned our attention to Ize-Iyamu.”