President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja received the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, urging party leaders and campaign team to do all that is necessary, following legal and constitutional means, to win the election.
The president received the governorship candidate at the State House alongside Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC and Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni; the chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and governor of Kebbi state, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; and APC Campaign chairman for Edo state elections and governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
The president charged the party leaders to avoid the pitfalls that affected the party’s victory in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa states in the 2019 elections, pointing out that with the resolution of the “acute crisis’’ in the party in Edo state, he was optimistic that the party will regain its pride of place in winning elections, and serving the people.
He urged party leaders at the national and state levels to follow the electoral process in an open and transparent manner.
“What I want is a transparent process so that the confidence of the people will be strengthened,” he said.
The president congratulated Pastor Ize-Iyamu on his emergence as the party’s candidate after a “turbulent process,” assuring him of his support.
In his remarks, the chairman of APC Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni, who presented the candidate, said, “Pastor Ize- Iyamu is a seasoned grassroots politician who is loved by his people.”
He said the president’s blessings on the candidate further validate the party’s confidence.
Also speaking, the chairman of the APC Edo state governorship campaign, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said in line with its principles, the party the APC would lead a clean campaign devoid of acrimony, hatred, and violence.
He said the campaign had started on a good and happy note, with the APC already taking over the state legislature with a majority of 17 out of 24.
In his response, Pastor Ize-Iyamu assured the president of his commitment to ensuring good governance in the state if elected in September elections, recalling that he served as Deputy Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the APC at its formation.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu said he was glad to return to the APC, describing his initial exit as that of a “prodigal son’’.
The APC candidate thanked the president for the warm and fatherly reception, saying he was honoured to receive the party’s flag from the president.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu told State House correspondents that he was fully in charge of his campaign as a popular candidate who served as chief of staff and later Secretary to Edo State Government in previous administrations.
He said the initial unfriendly comments by the former national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, during the 2016 campaigns were purely political aimed at giving another candidate an edge in the elections.
The chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum said all the APC governors were fully behind the candidature of Pastor Ize-Iyamu.