One of the aspirants for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, has accused the consensus candidate of the aspirants, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, of betraying the aspirants. Seven aspirants last week stepped down for Ize- Iyamu after a meeting in Abuja. Among the aspirants were former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu; General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd); Hon. Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, Hon. Saturday Iuwuilekhue, Prof. Frederick Amadasu, Mr. Solomon Edebiri and Ogiemwonyi.
But two of the aspirants – Ogiemwonyi and Odubu – who had stepped down for Ize-Iyamu, have obtained the governorship nomination forms. Speaking yesterday at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja after returning his forms, Ogiemwonyi said that Ize-Iyamu betrayed the aspirants as he went to support another person to join the race. According to him, at the mock primaries of the aspirants that produced Ize- Iyamu, he (Ogiemwonyi) came second, while Odubu came third. He posited that if the coast was not clear for Ize- Iyamu, he was next to be considered and not another person.
He said: “We started with consensus candidate because we believe in unity, we can remove the current governor. However, when there were some indications that the consensus candidate or aspirant was inviting another person to join the race, and because I was number two in the screening process we did, I decided to join the race.
“We were seven that took part in that process last week and we were graded. He was the first person, I was number two, but when we got the call that the number one person was inviting another person outside the seven aspirants that went for the interview, I told him that was unfair to me. If at all somebody else should be called, I should be the one because I was number two.” Ogiemwonyi, who also supported direct primaries, lamented how indirect primaries cost him the ticket four years ago. According to him, the aspirants to beat four years ago were himself and Odubu.
The former Minister of State for Works posited that the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole decreed the emergence of Obaseki as the candidate of the party. Speaking on his preferred choice of mode of selection, he said: “I am a socialist, I am a democrat. I saw what indirect primaries did to me in 2016. I nurtured so-called delegates for nine months. I was giving soft loans. The shock I had was ‘Governor said it was Obaseki’. “Obaseki wasn’t a player in 2016. It was between me and Odubu. They couldn’t vote for me because of the body language of the then Governor Oshiomhole.
Godwin did not campaign, Oshiomhole gave him so much gratitude, but he has shown him a lot of ingratitude. He got that job without sweat. But I believe with the direct primaries now, people will have their way. Don’t use government apparatus to suppress one person.”