*Reiterates: My Only Godfather Is God
The Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the upcoming Edo gubernatorial election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has insisted that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is not his political godfather, maintaining that his credentials are solid with compelling capacity to restore Edo state’s lost glory in key sectors such as Agriculture, Health and Education.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu, a former Secretary to the Edo State Government(SSG) and a founding stalwart of the ACN which merged with CPC and ANPP to form APC said the only godfather he has is God while underlying the fact that Oshiomhole is a national leader of the APC as a political party.
Ize-Iyamu, apart from being a former Secretary to the Government of Edo State, former Director-General of the Oshiomhole Campaign Organization during the later’s re-election bid for the governorship seat in Edo state, had served variously as vice-chairman(South-South) of the the ACN, and member of the merger committee of the ACN-CPC-ANPP that formed the APC.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu was the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2016 election before dumping the party for the APC said he has been around for a long time in politics, and that the vast majority of the people of Edo state know him and believe in him on account of his sterling accomplishments.
Hours after picking the APC picket, he recently said on a political program on Channels TV that he does not need a godfather to win the Edo guber election, stressing that God is his godfather.
While reiterating that stance in an interview published by the Punch on Sunday, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said he has held several positions in party politics and governance, stressing that political opponents keep bringing up issues of godfather just in an attempt to undermine his political profile.
Reacting to questions on whether Oshiomhole is his godfather, Ize-Iyamu said: “No. When you use that word, you miss it completely. Why will he be my godfather? First, am I a political novice? I am not someone that needs to be sold because I am not new to this game. I have told people that the only godfather I have is God. By the grace of God, I was the national vice chairman of the (defunct) Action Congress of Nigeria. I was director-general of the Adams Oshiomhole campaign committee for a second term. I was a member of the merger committee that created the APC. So, will it not be strange that someone with these credentials will have someone else as his godfather? If you are talking about godfather and godson, you should be talking about somebody new in the game, who needs someone else to nurture him. In this situation, you know that I have paid my dues and the only godfather I have is God.
“But Adams Oshiomhole is a national leader of the party and nobody can wish him away. Of course, it will be nice of him to tell people to vote for me because in many parts of Edo, he did well and many people are indebted to him, but that does not in any way mean that he will be my godfather.”
Before Ize-Iyamu’s political return to the APC and his subsequent emergence as the party’s flag-bearer, Oshiomhole had described him in uncomplimentary terms during the cross fire of 2016 election when Ize-Iyamu ran against Godwin Obaseki as PDP candidate. But Ize-Iyamu said Oshiomhole was only naturally responding to the political times then as a politician, and trying to de-market him then to score political points, saying he doesn’t mean what he said.
“Are we selecting what we should remember? What about the periods he paid glowing compliments to me? What about the period he praised me for all I did to support him to be in government. He made those statements during the period I was on the other side and was contesting to be the state governor and he (Oshiomhole) was determined to prevent that. What do you expect? Were you expecting him to praise me at that time when he did not want me to be governor?
“So, when you look at the context in which he said those things, you will understand that he was just playing politics and he needed to de-market me so that his candidate would have an advantage. And after the election, that was the end of it. So, I do not think that we should dwell too much on what he said before the election. If you are saying that, we can also take you back to what he said about me before then. People are saying look at the bad things he said during the campaign. Why did they not look at the good things he said before the campaign? The truth is that he was only trying to de-market me so that Edo people would not vote for me, not that it was from his heart. Of course, the man (Oshiomhole) can speak for himself; he is not dead. We are all pretending not to know that in politics, you can say all kinds of things just to de-market your opponent.”
The APC candidate noted that it will be difficult to market Obaseki to the Edo electorate. He said the Governor has been so distracted from the core issues of governance with little to show for his close to four years in office.
“Honestly, if he had performed very well, there is no doubt that his performance would have aided him, but if we have to assess his performance, I believe it is going to be very difficult to get the electorate to vote for him. In the last two and a half years, the governor has abandoned governance for political infighting. It has been all about ‘second term is not negotiable’, ‘nobody can enter Edo State without my permission’, ‘I will demolish his house,’ and so on.
“He has been so distracted from the core objective of governance that it is going to be difficult to convince people that he could not perform well because he was engrossed in party issues. If you look at all the core areas – agriculture, health, and education, they are nothing to write home about. How can you talk about education when there are no teachers? Go round the rural areas, you will discover that most schools have only one teacher who has to teach English, mathematics, and all other subjects, whether science or arts. There are no good hospitals or healthcare centres. Agriculture is not getting any serious attention. At the end of the day, the issue is: where has he excelled? So, if we have to look at his performance, I am sure the electorate will say it is time for him to take a bow and leave,” Ize-Iyamu said.