By Ezeocha Nzeh
The National Working Committee (NWC) of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has warned that it would give preferential treatment to any candidate in the June 22 party primary to picks its governorship candidate for the September 19 election in Edo state
This is even as incumbent governor yesterday picked his nomination form to square it up against Pastor Ize – Iyamu, who emerged as the consensus aspirant of the Adams Oshiomhole led faction of the party in Edo state
Ize – Iyamu was defeated by Obaseki during the 2016 governorship election, when he ran on the platform of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He recently returned to the APC, where he was granted waiver by the NWC to contest the governorship poll
National Organising Secretary of the APC, Emmanuel Ibediro, stated while he presented the party’s nomination form to Ize – Iyamu on Wednesday that the party will give equal treatment to all the aspirants, adding that the primary election would be conducted in a transparent manner where both the winner and loser will appreciate the conduct
While urging all aspirants to ensure the APC did not lose the election, Ibediro appealed to aspirants to work for the contestant who finally emerged as party candidate, warning them to avoid any action that would make the opposition PDP progress at the poll
“Our major opponent, PDP is praying for an implosion of our party, but I want to assure them that they will wait forever and wait for nothing. This election, by the way we are going to conduct it, will leave no one in doubt that the APC is more united than ever,” he said.
Ize-Iyamu emerges consensus aspirant
Former Secretary to Edo State Government Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, yesterday, obtained the nomination form of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja shortly after he emerged as consensus aspirant for a faction of the party in Edo State.
He was accompanied by other aspirants, among them Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd), Chris Ogiemwonyi and Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma in a show of solidarity and restatement of their commitment to work together irrespective of the outcome of the primaries scheduled for June 22.
Ize-Iyamu in a statement by the Director of Communication and Media for his Campaign Organisation, Mr. John Mayaki, said “by obtaining the form today, we have formally placed our name on the party’s ballot for our internal primary next month. It is another great stride and we are thankful to the other aspirants who have joined us here today to offer support.
Ize-Iyamu emerged as consensus governorship aspirant of a faction having come tops after a screening by a committee set up for the selection exercise.
Aspirants that participated in the screening are Dr. Pius Odubu, Chris Ogiemwonyi, Gen. Charels Airhiavbere, Ehiozuwa Agbonyima, Saturday Uwulekhue and Prof. Ebegue Amadasun, while Solomon Edebiri was said to have voluntarily withdrew his aspiration.
The development means Ize-Iyamu and incumbent governor Godwin Obaseki who earlier vied for the governorship in 2016, are now the frontal contestants for the APC governorship ticket on June 22.
I have not met Buhari, Tinubu, says Ize – Iyamu
Pastor Ize-Iyamu also denied the reported endorsement of the APC National Chairman, Oshiomhole, and National leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinub to contest the election.
Responding to questions after picking the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, he denied ever meeting with any of them, confirming that he has only received endorsement from seven other intending aspirants that stepped down for him.
The former candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2016 governorship poll also endorsed the decision of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) to adopt direct primaries.
Group buys form for Obaseki
A group, Obaseki Mandate Forum, yesterday, contributed N22.5 million and purchased the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms for Governor Obaseki.
Speaking after picking the form, Chairman, Obaseki Mandate, Abuja chapter, Nathaniel Momoh, argued that it would be a travesty of justice, a mockery of equity and fairness to deny the governor whose tenure has touched every community in the state a second term.
“He has in the last four years proved capacity to move the State forward, in spite of the many challenges and distractions that have manifested in various forms. Today’s purchase of the form by lovers and followers of our beloved governor is historic as it demonstrates the wide followership His Excellency enjoys from the mode of Edo State.
“This form, willfully and freely purchased by the people represents the mandate of the Edo people, both young and old, city bred and rurai dwellers, who are witnesses to the gradual transformation of their communities by the steady advancement of governance that touches the life of the people.”