Group petitions Buhari over endorsement of Ize-Iyamu as Edo APC guber candidate

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More troubles await Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Edo State.

Less than 24 hours after his endorsement at the President Villa, Abuja, by President Muhammadu Buhari, an anti-corruption group – Kick Corruption Out Of Nigeria – has petitioned the president, alleging that the endorsement was either Buhari has not been properly briefed on Ize-Iyamu’s corruption trial or he has now endorsed corruption.

Either way, the group, in a petition signed by the spokesman, Lawrence Chukwu, declared that the photograph showing Buhari giving APC flag to Ize-Iyamu, as “a tragedy and an indication that once you are on the side of powers that be, you can continue to steal the country blind”.

The petition said the fact that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, who was seen stuffing dollars in his pockets in a viral video, was beside Buhari and Ize-Iyamu in Abuja on Friday, shows that corruption is already being celebrated in Nigeria’s number one office and residence.

The group accompanied the petition with Ize-Iyamu’s charge sheet, witness statement, banker’s statement, bail application, cash officer’s statement and bank MD’s statement.

The petition also accused the Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), of exerting influence on the Federal High Court to frustrate the case and use security and electoral officers to rig the September 19 election in Edo State.

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Earlier, leaders and stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State have called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the APC to rein in Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from destabilising the party and prevent a repeat of the Bayelsa catastrophe of losing the party to the opposition due to the draconian style of leadership of Oshiomhole.

The party leaders under the aegis of ‘Concerned Edo State APC Stakeholders’ made the plea in a letter to the President, which was made available to journalists in Benin City.

The stakeholders noted that Oshiomhole’s unholy romance with the dissident group, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), and preference for former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the EPM flag bearer in the Edo 2020 gubernatorial election is not only a mockery to the progressive ideology and guiding principle of the APC as a party, but a travesty on President Buhari’s fight against corruption in Nigeria.

The letter was jointly signed by Hon. Etiosa Ugiagbe, Chief Enakhare Odaro, Chris Omoregie, Hon. Emmanuel Umweni, Akhere Odion, Engr. Jude Okojie, Chief Dr. Edionwele Ikpea, Mrs. Odial Abubakar, Greg Onimisi and Dr. Omoruyi Graig.

According to them, “We and Edo people are surprised and disappointed that Comrade Oshiomhole who ought to understand your patriotic desire to end corruption in Nigeria and define governance at all levels from a more progressive dimension could go to the PDP to bring Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who has no good reputation or capacity into APC with the main aim of using him to fight Governor Godwin Obaseki.

“Last two weeks, the EPM group met in Benin City amidst the ban on public gathering due to the coronavirus to organise a mock primary to elect the consensus candidate that they will use in fighting the governor, and from information available to us, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole gave directive for them to deliver Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Unfortunately for him, the other aspirants protested that it will not happen due to the fact that he just joined APC about three months ago, as against all of them who have remained in the party and who have joined hands to build it when Ize-Iyamu left to PDP to contest the 2016 governorship election. This fight among them led to the disruption of the meeting by thugs loyal to the other aspirants.”

The concerned stakeholders lamented that Ize-Iyamu is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over his involvement in a fraud case of N700 million, adding, “What about if he is convicted before the election? That means APC won’t have a candidate and the tragedy that happened in Bayelsa will also happen in Edo State because of the overbearing and careless action of one man. We think the time to stop it is now.

The letter further read, “This same Ize Iyamu was the PDP Director General of Good luck Jonathan campaign in 2015 Presidential election in Edo State and in last year’s Presidential election, he was also the Director General of Atiku Abubakar Presidential campaign Organization and vehemently campaigned against you and our party. What about if Atiku had won? Would Oshiomhole bring him to fight the APC ticket with Obaseki? This is politically absurd and antithetical to the guiding principle of political party system in Nigeria, especially a progressive party like APC that Nigerians see as a better alternative. It is an insult to all loyal and faithful party members like our amiable Governor who has remained in the party.

“Mr. President, as the leader of our party who has always advised on the need to strengthen our party and follow the Constitution, we appeal that you use your good office to call the National Chairman of our party to order. Governor Godwin Obaseki is the one that deserves to be the consensus candidate and not that serial decampee who runs to different political parties every year to secure the party tickets and runs out immediately he loses.

“If Oshiomhole succeeds in forcing him on us with his influence as the National Chairman, I can assure you that it will be another disaster waiting to happen on our party after the Bayelsa electoral tragedy occasioned by the desire of some few individuals to force a deputy governorship candidate on the party even in the face of glaring legal encumbrance.”

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