The All Progressives Congress on Saturday flagged off its campaign ahead of the Governorship election in Edo state on September 19.
The event took place at the University of Benin’s Sports Complex, Benin-city.
Dignitaries who were present include the Yobe State Governor and Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, Mr. Mai Mala-Buni, Governors of Kano, Imo, Kaduna, Osun, and former Chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, as well as some Ministers.
Before the campaign flag-off, the APC Governorship Candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and his guests paid a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II to seek his blessings.
On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari had endorsed Ize-Iyamu who is set to square off against incumbent and PDP candidate, Godwin Obaseki in the polls.
At the flag-off, Kano state governor and chairman of APC national campaign, Abdullahi Ganduje, said the party is confident of victory and will perform better than the current administration in the state.
The APC’s flag-off comes on the heels of dramatic events in the state’s House of Assembly.
On Thursday, some men damaged the roof and mace of the state’s House of Assembly as police sealed the building.
“We are here to win and not to fight,” Mr. Mala-Buni, the APC chief, said at the flag-off. “But we must ensure that every vote counts.”
“We have to conclude that this election will be won by APC,” Kano State Governor, Ganduje said, brushing the air with the party’s broom, the sun on his face.
In his flag-off speech, Ize-Iyamu sounded confident of victory.
“With the people you have seen with me today, will you say we are in the opposition?” he said. “Can anybody say that we have been intimidated?”
He went on to promise not just to win the election, but sweep all 18 local governments in the state.
“Never again should we have a Governor who will describe Edo youths as miscreants,” an energetic Oshiomhole said. “It is the business of Governors and of governments to empower the poor and elevate them to a position of dignity.”
President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, have backed Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.
Both leaders endorsed the APC candidate on Friday when he visited the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
President Buhari presented the symbolic party flag to Ize-Iyamu at a closed-door meeting attended by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and the governors.
They include the APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State; Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, and Chairman of the APC National Campaign Council for the Edo State election, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had fixed September 19 to conduct the election.
Away from his endorsement, the APC candidate reacted to the removal of the rooftop of the Edo State House of Assembly.
He described the action as an invasion of the legislative complex, stating that there was no budget for the renovation of the facility.
Not A Quorum?
Ize-Iyamu accused the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, of beating the drums of war, claiming that the state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, was paying student unions in Edo to protest on the day of the flag-off of the APC campaign.
He, however, congratulated Victor Edoror, who was claimed to have been elected by 17 lawmakers on Thursday as the new Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
The APC flagbearer also claimed that Governor Obaseki cannot form a quorum in the State House of Assembly as the APC numbers have risen from 14 to 17, leaving the governor with just seven members in the House.
He also insisted that the former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was not the face of his campaign, but was constantly being played up by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ize-Iyamu explained that Oshiomhole had to de-market him in the last governorship election in Edo in order to sell Obaseki to the people.
On his part, Governor Ganduje responded to questions on the power of incumbency in the state ahead of the poll.
He said this would have been a problem if the incumbent governor was not “such a liability to the people of Edo State.”
Governor Bagudu, in his remarks, gave an assurance that the APC governors were fully in support of Ize-Iyamu’s candidature.
On reconciliation efforts by the APC, Governor Buni explained that the party’s candidate was a product of such efforts.
He noted that the caretaker committee was making more efforts to bring more aggrieved members back into the APC fold.
The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, says he had a fulfilling time is office even though it lasted for only two years.
He said this on Saturday during a reception organised in his honour by the APC leaders in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State.
Oshiomhole, who is also a former governor of the state, alleged that his successor in office and incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki had betrayed him.
The ex-APC chairman insisted on his confidence in the party’s governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to lead the state on the path of progressive development if elected in the September 19 governorship election.
Meanwhile, Ize-Iyamu said he and Oshiomhole were old time allies whose bonds have become stronger after years of misunderstanding between them.
While berating the Obaseki administration for allegedly neglecting the developmental challenges facing the state, Ize-Iyamu promised to lead in the footprints of Oshiomhole if elected governor.
The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has apologised to the people of Edo State for supporting Governor Godwin Obaseki in the 2016 election.
He tendered his apology when he met with traditional rulers from Edo South Senatorial District in the state.
Oshiomhole told the monarchs that he acknowledged that he made a mistake for supporting Obaseki to succeed him as governor and begged for their forgiveness.
“I am sorry I sold the bad product. I am telling you, any of us could have made that mistake,” he said at the meeting held on Sunday and attended by some traders and artisans in the district.
He added, “As they say, ‘the green snake under the green grass’. Now, the summer has come, the green (grass) is getting brown and we can now see the snake.”
The former governor, however, assured the traditional rulers and others at the gathering that the APC candidate in the forthcoming election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, would perform better than the incumbent governor if elected.
According to him, Ize-Iyamu will rededicate himself to building more schools across the local governments and tackle the recurrent challenges of flood in the state.
Prayer For Victory
A drama later played out at the venue of the meeting when Oshiomhole went spiritual to pray for the APC candidate’s victory in the September 19 election.
He said, “Join me; oh Lord, I have come here to apologise to those I sold the product that turned out to be fake, God you know I didn’t know he was fake.
“Only time shall tell who a man is … in the name of the poor he has borrowed to consultants he transferred the money. During his election, there were printers from Edo State who printed his posters. Upon being elected, even menu cards are printed in Port Harcourt.”
The former APC national chairman added, “Suddenly, there are no MCs (Masters of Ceremony) in Edo State. MCs are imported from neighbouring states. Lord, he who forgot us, our time is coming. We shall speak to you, God in Heaven.
“You know we voted in innocence and in trust, he has abused the trust. Enable us Lord, with our PVCs (Permanent Voter Cards) we shall punish him; with our broom, we shall sweep him out.
“Together, we will bring your servant who is God-fearing, who will not repeat his mistakes and will complete the project of taking Edo to the next level. All these are many more we say in the mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The stage appears to be set for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State following the release of the final list of candidates in the poll.
With just two months to the poll, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that 14 candidates will contest in the election.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made the announcement in a statement on Saturday.
He revealed that the electoral umpire has displayed the final list of candidates at its offices in Benin City, the state capital, and the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
Okoye added that the list has also been uploaded on the Commission’s website.
He explained that the action of INEC was in compliance with its Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election and in accordance with Section 34 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“By Section 35 of the Electoral Act and the Timetable and Schedule of Activities of the Commission, the withdrawal and substitution of candidates for the Edo Governorship election ended on 13th July 2020,” the INEC national commissioner stated.
He added, “With the publication of the final list of candidates, no political party can withdraw or substitute any of the nominated candidates or tamper with the list and particulars of the candidates in a manner inconsistent with the intendment of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
According to the list released by INEC, 12 of the candidates are male and the remaining two are female.
Okoye urged the participating political parties to pay close attention to the timelines stipulated in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities of the commission, as well as the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
See the full list of candidates for the September 19 election below:
A Federal High Court in Benin has adjourned a 700million Naira fraud case against the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19, 2020, governorship poll in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Mr. Ize-Iyamu and four others were expected to appear in court today on an alleged 8 count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of 700m naira.
However, the case could not hold due to the absence of the Judge.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is not a match for any of its aspirants for the election.
In a statement on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party alleged that Ize-Iyamu emerged as a candidate through the crudest governorship election primary in the history of the nation.
It added that the people of the state had written off the APC and turned the party into what it described as ‘a butt of street joke’.
The statement said, “Already, on the streets of Edo State, Ize-Iyamu has become the new lexicon for APC’s crude attempt to suppress and lord over the people of Edo state.
“From all indications, only failure awaits the APC in the September election. This is because, going by the figures announced from the direct primary, which the APC conducted to produce Ize-Iyamu, it is clear that the totality of the members of the APC in Edo is far below 40,000, in a state where the membership and support base of the PDP soar well above three million.”
A Shambolic Primary?
According to the PDP, the embattled APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, reportedly told the people of Edo that Ize-Iyamu is not fit to occupy the office of the governor.
It quoted Oshiomhole as allegedly saying the APC candidate was only good for political “night meetings” and not to occupy the highest office in the state.
“Edo people can also recall how Oshiomhole swore before God and man that people with the character traits of Ize-Iyamu should not be allowed anywhere near a public office like that of a governor,” the statement alleged.
It added, “It is, therefore, nauseating that having degraded Ize-Iyamu across Edo State and beyond, the APC, in their arrogance and disrespect for the leaders and the people Edo, want to foist such an individual on the state through a shambolic primary election.”
The PDP claimed that the crisis in the APC has destroyed the party, saying it was difficult to assert that Ize-Iyamu would be its eventual candidate.
Reacting to the electoral process, Uzodinma said the election was a formality in accordance with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the other aspirants had already stepped down before the polls.
Shortly before the commencement of the election, APC members had thronged their respective wards to vote in the party’s primary election.
The exercise held across the 192 wards of the 18 local government areas of the state.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, is confident of winning the primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the governorship election in the state.
The governor who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics said he has no reason to be scared of his rival, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Ize-Iyamu, who contested the last governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), defected to the APC in November 2019 to contend with Obaseki for the party’s ticket in the September 19 poll.
Asked if he was afraid of his co-contender, Governor Obaseki said, “Why should I be? The last time I contested, he (Ize-Iyamu) was my opponent from the PDP and the votes are there.”
“I beat him (when I had no track record as a governor) and now with the track record as a governor, I don’t have any fears.”
The governor also spoke about the method adopted by the APC national leadership to conduct the primary election.
He stated that although he had no problem with both direct and indirect methods, there was need to consider the health risks attached in a situation where the state has recorded hundreds of COVID-19 cases.
I Do Not Have A Rift With Him
Governor Obaseki, however, promised to support the party’s candidate in the event that he lost in the primary election, but only if the process was free, transparent, and credible.
He recalled his recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari and took a swipe at those who claimed that he does not have the President’s support to seek re-election.
“From the body language and relationships; will the President now come and take photograph with me and share my form with me if he is not happy that I am seeking re-election?” the governor questioned.
According to him, his chances of winning the election are not being threatened if the people of Edo and APC members in the state are allowed to express themselves.
Governor Obaseki also spoke about the lingering disagreement with his predecessor and APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
He said, “Conversations are on so that we can build internal peace and harmony within our party; I do not have a rift with him as a person.
“I just do not agree with some decisions he (Oshiomhole) is taking as it relates to the party, they are not in the interest of our party.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has announced six governorship aspirants to be screened for the party’s primary election to elect its governorship candidate in Edo State.
APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu disclosed this in a statement on Friday ahead of the June 22 party exercise.
He noted that the six aspirants have bought, completed, and submitted the party’s expression of interest and nomination forms.
They include Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Dr Pius Odubu, Chris Ogiemwonyi, Osaro Obazee, and Matthew Iduoriyekemwen.
According to Issa-Onilu, the APC is committed to ensuring due diligence and transparency in the screening exercise and learning from its recent shocking experiences.
In a bid to avoid any lapses in the process, he said the party has made the submitted information and documents of the governorship aspirants available to its members and the public for verification of claims.
The party spokesman explained that this was also necessary to support the screening panel with information or any objection to the claims contained in the submission by the aspirants.
“Consequently, the various submissions will be displayed at the Party’s National Secretariat in Abuja and in Benin City, the Edo State capital from Monday 8th to Tuesday 9th June 2020 for claims and objections.
“We are inviting party members and indeed members of the public to assist the screening committee by scrutinising the information, credentials and documents provided by the governorship aspirants and availing the Screening Committee of counter and correct information, if applicable,” the statement read.
Issa-Onilu said the APC had released its timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the 2020 governorship primary elections in Edo State, in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) guidelines.
He added that sales of nomination and expression of interest forms had taken place at the APC National Secretariat between May 20 and June 2, 2020.
The APC spokesman stated that the last day for submission of completed forms and accompanying documents was June 3, and publication of claims and objections would end on Tuesday next week before the screening of the aspirants on Wednesday and Thursday next week.
He noted that this would be followed by Screening Appeal on June 12 before the primary election and election appeal scheduled for June 22 and 24, respectively.