Posted by News Express | 1 December 2019 | 869 times
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2016. He has decamped to the All Progressives Congress (APC), In this interview, among other issues, he revealed why he dumped the PDP.
Why have you decided to move to the APC?
Moving to the APC is like home coming for me. I believe dearly in Edo State; hence I have chosen to be part of those who will serve the state and make it attractive and better for all of us. I am moving to the APC to add value, strengthen it and ensure that it is well connected to those at the grassroots.
Did you lose confidence in the PDP; hence your decision to leave?
I don’t know whether it is right to say I lost of confidence in the party, but we came to the conclusion that the vision of its leadership in Edo and ours were no longer in agreement. We all have reasons for being in a political party. We tried to work with the leadership of the party; some of them were cooperative but others were not. In life you have goals and objectives, and if you realised that those who controlled where you belonged didn’t share the same goals and objectives, it is very difficult to remain in such system. So we just came to the realisation that the PDP in Edo was not as focused as we were in certain areas. We felt that the way they were going, our objectives and goals would not be achieved. Aside the PDP situation, we were also pressurised by those who were in the APC. As you know, since we left the APC in 2014, many leaders there have never ceased to appeal to us to come back to the home we built together.
To be honest, when I contest under the PDP in 2016, there were some leaders and members in the APC who ignored their party and supported me. This shows that across party lines, sometimes there can be deep relationship. So when people consistently appeal to you, it is very difficult to ignore them.
Was there any assurance by the national chairman of the APC on the 2020 governorship ticket before you joined the party?
Nobody can give any assurance that you would have a governorship ticket. All the parties have clear rules concerning how a governorship candidate should emerge. It is not one man’s decision, so anybody aspiring for such an office must hope that majority of the delegates of the party would support him. So there’s no way you can be coming to a party and say you have gotten assurance of governorship ticket from somebody. It is God that makes governors and promotes people. For us as humans we have to play our role and let God take care of tomorrow. I am not going to the APC with governorship ambition as my sole aim. What if it doesn’t happen? Am I going to leave the party? No; whether I am the candidate or not, I will not leave. When I joined the PDP in 2014, I made it clear that even if I didn’t get the ticket, I would support whoever would emerge, but as God would have it, I got it and those who didn’t left. I did not begrudge anybody because everyone has a right of association. I am going to the APC with an open mind to contribute my quota in any way the party thinks I can serve.
What is your take on the issue of godfatherism, which is causing crises in some states?
I believe that those who are saddled with the responsibility of governance must do everything to avoid distraction. If people played significant roles in your election you must know how to handle them in a way it would not affect your performance in office. Unfortunately, a lot of people make all kinds of promises, especially when looking for support, and when you are not able to do those things, it can bring a backlash. You cannot tell the people that you are not able to govern because somebody is harassing you. If you do that, their confidence in you would be lost. It is your job to ensure that there is peace. And no matter the agreement reached before you entered office, you must ensure that its implementation doesn’t bring disagreement.
You said you would not join any faction in the APC, but the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) has been fighting with Obaseki, even before you defected. With your coming, it is said there is jittery in the party; don’t you think your presence would spark another round of crisis?
I do not believe there are factions in Edo APC. As long as you have one APC at the national level there can be no faction at the state because, invariably, it is those the national recognises that will be the authentic group. My people who left the PDP have been joining the APC at the grassroots and have no problem of integrating because at the ward level they have no problem of factions; they have not seen two ward chairmen or secretaries. So the issue of faction is exaggerated. In political parties, especially during the countdown to election, tendencies tend to spring up; so I see the EPM as a tendency, not a faction. I also see the Obaseki-Shaibu Movement (OSM) as a support group and not a faction. Let us not mistake them for factions. When the party eventually comes up with a governorship candidate, you would see them collapsing their structures into the party. The APC is still one. We are coming to bring everybody together, not to join any faction because we believe in one APC family.
There is a perception that you are decamping to the APC to escape prosecution in the $2.1 billion Dasuki probe. What is your take on this?
If that was the situation, maybe I would have quickly moved to the APC after the election. We were former President Jonathan’s coordinators; as such we were made to sign the fund that came through the banks to our different states, and those who utilised the fund have admitted. No fund was send to my account nor given to me. I have never denied the fact that I was a coordinator or signing for the fund. And I was not the only person. There are people who left the PDP for the APC but that has not stopped their prosecution. So, that is not an issue. It is neither here nor there. The case you are talking about is not something that one should be frightened about.
In 2016, when you contested for governorship under the PDP, you described it as a failed party. Now, you have joined a party that failed Edo people. How would you react to this?
When you are campaigning for election you don’t point to the achievements of the opponent, you have to look at the things they have not done well. If I criticised the APC government then, it meant I could do a lot better. I also criticised the PDP before I joined them. The fact that you criticise a system doesn’t mean you can’t join it; the only thing is that you improve on it and make it better.
What is your assessment of the Godwin Obaseki administration?
To say that the governor is not doing well is a sweeping statement. To be honest, in some areas he has done well, and in other areas he has not done well. I also think he has allowed the political crisis in the state to distract him. It is one thing to start well and another thing to finish badly. The momentum has almost come to a halt and the people are impatient. They want development and projects. The only way one can truly assess him is to look at it sectorally. He still has almost one year to go, so it is only then that one can access him well. I pray that he does well because it is for the benefit of Edo people. If he fails, it is to the detriment of Edo people too. No one should pray that he fails because it will have grave consequences on all of us. I pray that he should succeed. I think he should focus more on governance and not allow the situation to distract him.
Is it true that you joined the APC to widen the gap between the national chairman and Governor Obaseki?
The APC is not a new place for me. Even at the national level, before you count four persons who have contributed to the growth of the party you will count Pastor Ize-Iyamu. If I left a place, what is surprising if I am coming back? (Daily Trust)
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