As Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the consensus aspirant of the Adams Oshiomhole-led faction of the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Friday morning submitted his nomination form, leadership of the party has challenged the state governor, Godwin Obaseki to put aside all his fears and have the courage to participate in the forthcoming governorship primaries scheduled for June 22, 2020.
Factional chairman of the party in the state, David Imuse, a retired army colonel, threw the challenge to the governor at a press conference held in Benin the state capital. Imuse said Obaseki’s unwavering participation in the exercise would enable people show gratitude on whether or not he had done well for them. Imuse declared that there was not going back on the direct mode of governorship primaries already pronounced by the National Working Committee (NWC) whose constitutional duty he said it is to determine options for presidential, national and state Houses of Assembly elections.
Cataloguing the various steps allegedly taken by the governor to stop Ize-Iyamu from joining the party, and collect his nomination/expression of interest forms, and others, Imuse stated that Obaseki’s fears were self- induced.
According to him, “the responsibility of who decides the mode of election for the president, governor, national and state houses of assembly is that of the NWC. There is nothing anybody can do about it.”
Imuse who was reacting to the claim on Thursday by persons who claimed to be chairmen of the party in the 18 local government areas of the state to the effect that Ize-Iyamu was not a member of the APC, said the former SSG registered online on the membership portal of the APC.
Imuse however alleged that Ben Oghumu and all those who paraded themselves as LGA chairmen of the party were actually the coordinators of Obaseki/Shaibu Movement, OSM, insisting that “they are not officers of our party and cannot claim to function in that capacity”.
He lauded Ize-Iyamu’s foresight to have registered online, noting that it was “in accordance with article 9.1 (ii) of the APC constitution”. H said the responsibility to validate online registration lies solely with the National Working Committee. On the controversial waiver, Imuse explained that, “Article 31.1 (I) refers to someone who is not a member of the APC. But even at that, article 31.2 empowers the NWC to grant a waiver to such a person if the need arises. In this instance, the waiver clause does not really apply to Pastor Ize-Iyamu.”
The factional party chairman of the party said “The salient question to ask at this point is why Godwin Obaseki is so afraid of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Here is a man who claims he has done so well in the past four years and that he must be given right of first refusal. He says his second term ambition is earned, deserved and non-negotiable”.
Confirming the return of Ize-Iyamu’s nomination form in a statement by his campaign organization, John Mayaki, the director of communication and media, said the governorship aspirant was accompanied by the factional state secretary of the party, Lawrence Okah, an engineer. Mayaki said “It is another attestation to the fact that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is ready for the party primary where members of the APC in Edo state will get to decide who will fly the party’s flag in the governorship election.”