CRACKS IN EDO “EPM” FOLD
… As Odubu, Ogiemwonyi supporters call for Ize-Iyamu withdrawal from Edo Guber contest .
By Peter Uwuoruya
As the Edo State Governorship election draws closer, though the Executive Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who had since signified interest to seek for re-election in the up coming governorship election in the state to enable him consolidate on the Good words he started since the past 3 years, but, recently has been busy with his team trying to put various measures in place that will put a stop to the spreading of the Covid-19 and give proper medical attention to those who are already suffering from the novel pandemic that is currently ravaging the world at large.
But, a renegade group, the “Edo People Movement” EPM a group formed by a handful of dissident members within the party the APC. The group activities have been opposing to Obaseki government policies and programmes because of his refusal to play a common games common among the Nigeria political system, as traditional politicians that they are, have since vowed that, they will make sure that the Governor will not return back, come November 12th 2020, on this note, they have been engaging in all kinds of activities that will divert the government attention from it’s developmental course.
The dissident group some weeks ago, brings together it’s 5 governorship aspirants within it’s fold, to agree to support whoever emerged as the APC candidate from the primary that is expected to hold in June this year.
Despite the fact that INEC is yet to raise the campaign bar for Edo 2020 Guber, the 3 notable aspirants (Odubu, Ogiemwonyi, Ize-Iyamu) among them, have since commenced their individual campaigns and consultations to galvanize supports from the party and the general public, even when the world is at standstill due to the ravaging scourge that have led to the postponement of so many events and activities in the State, Nation and worldwide.
Dr. Pius Odubu, a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, and Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi a former Minister of State for Works were both APC aspirants and were defeated by the incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki in the APC primary election in 2016, while Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who just defected from PDP to APC was the PDP governorship candidate who was also defeated by Governor Obaseki in the election proper to emerge the Governor of Edo State.
Going by the recent observations, it is now very clear to pundits that all is not well within the EPM folks as some of the supporters of Dr. Odubu and Engr. Ogiemwonyi are not comfortable with the involvement of Pastor Ize-Iyamu in the contest being a new entrant in the party.
In a recent post raised by one APC Chieftain in Oredo and former Commissioner in the State, who put up an analytical post, tagged: “PERTINENT QUESTIONS FOR APC AND COMRADE” on a social media platform as it affects APC/Edo 2020 and Pastor, where some of Odubu/Ogiemwonyi supporters aired their opinions and liked the raised issues,… they called on Pastor Ize-Iyamu to withdraw from the race because he can not reap where he didn’t sow, they said that the Pastor can never be trusted, hence will not serve as an option to any of the aspirant that have been with the party for years, because he (Pastor) attempted to destroy the party in 2014 when he left to go and picked the opposition PDP ticket, and that if not for other loyal party faithfuls who came together to join hands with the then Governor Comrade Oshiomhole to rebuild the party and make it stronger, the party would have been history in Edo State.
Some others who spoke on the thread opined that, due to the corruption allegations currently hanging on his (Ize-Iyamu) neck, he is not fit to be parading himself as an aspirant in the APC as a party that detest and fight against corruption, others claimed that, when the Pastor made his intention of re-joining APC at the middle of the political crisis between the Governor’s group and the Oshiomhole led EPM group, he made it clear that, contesting for the office of Governor wasn’t his priority, but, that his joining the party was to help the party to proffer peace among the warring factions and make it stronger, but only to turn around few weeks later after he was accepted and received by the anti-government group, he started parading himself as an aspirant, they called on the National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole to come and prevail on the Pastor to stale his ambition and support those who have worked for the party.
During the defection of the Redeemed Pastor, there were speculations that the reason why Oshiomhole facilitated Pastor’s defection to APC is because he believed that he is the only one that can battle the incumbent Governor, who an average Edolites believe he deserved the second team based on his performance so far, this could be more reason why the APC Deputy National Chairman North-East, Sen. Lawal Shaibu on his resumption to office after he was arbitrarily suspended by the Oshiomhole led National Working Committee, said that Obaseki is the Strongest APC Candidate For Edo Guber 2020.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu despite being a new entrant in the APC governorship party have since inaugurated his campaign team, feeding strategic positions with some EPM frontliners. Major political pundits and observers from in and outside the state are on a close watch on how this emerging rancors within EPM will be sorted out.
Peter Uwuoruya, a public commentator, writes from Benin city