Voters observing social distancing at the APC governorship election primary in Ward 5, Ikpoba-Okha Local Council in Benin City, Edo State…yesterday.
Following his emergence, yesterday, as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19 Edo State gubernatorial election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu taunted his arch-rival, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, urging him to return to the party.
In his victory speech after the primary election, Ize-Iyamu said: “I want to salute my brother, the governor of the state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. I will like to appeal to him to return to the party. In every family, you have disagreements. Let it not be said that it was this disagreement that pushed him out.
“I made that mistake before and I have come to realise that it was a grievous error. And I will not want him, as a senior brother, to make the same mistake. So, I will like to appeal to him to set aside his anger and come back.
“In APC, he is recognised as a leader. But the new party you are going to, it will be difficult for them to accept you as a leader. So, it might be nice for him to come back. But certainly, we are ready to work with him and all well-meaning Edo people.”
Ize-Iyamu won the primary with 27, 838. Dr. Pius Odubu polled 3,776 to emerge, second runner-up, while Osaro Obazee scored 2,724 votes.
This came as a frontline aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Gideon Ikhine, stood down for Obaseki ahead of the PDP’s governorship primary scheduled for Friday.
Ikhine announced his decision at a ceremony in Benin attended by Obaseki, Edo State PDP Chairman Dr Tony Aziegbemi, and other party leaders. The aspirant also promised he would mobilise his supporters to back Obaseki’s candidacy.
WITH the September 19 contest between Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu almost certain, the crisis of who chairs the APC took a fresh twist, yesterday, as factional Acting National Chairman Mr. Victor Giadom faulted his purported suspension by the Rivers State chapter of the party.
Fielding questions from reporters at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, he described his replacement by Mr. Worgu Boms as new Deputy National Secretary as illegal.
He argued: “You cannot smuggle somebody into the National Working Committee (NWC) without an election. Anybody who wants to be a member of the NWC should present himself for a democratically conducted election. It is laughable and cannot work.”