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IZE-IYAMU: Nothing Will Stop Jonathan’s Victory In Edo

15 March 2015   |   1:06 am
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is the Edo State Coordinator, Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation. In this interview with ALEMMA-OZIORUVA ALIU in Benin City, the former chieftain of the APC insists that Jonathan will win Edo State.

Are you not worried that Gen. Buhari’s seeming popularity in the North and other parts of the country could make this election tough for your party?

BUHARI might be popular in the North, but even then, we make the mistake thinking that the whole of the North is one, forgetting that the North is made up of different ethnic groups, people of different religions. Even in terms of geo-political zones, we have three major zones in the North. In the North Central for example, Buhari will find it extremely difficult to win any state there. Even in the North West where he comes from, he cannot boast of winning all the states there. And of course in the North East, there are people that will vote for him, there are people that will also vote for Mr. President. But one thing you will understand is that Buhari’s popularity in the North is not enough to make him an elected President. There are issues that are more fundamental. And in Nigeria of today the North alone cannot win the presidency, just like the South alone cannot win the presidency. Buhari has contested several times and it is always the same story. He does well in some areas in the North, he loses woefully in the South and at the end of the day his so-called popularity is eroded and unfortunately he never takes this defeat in good faith.

Recently, I was reading a paper where they tried to ask him, what would be his attitude if he loses. And he said he could not lose. And they asked him again that in an election, there is always the possibility of you winning or losing, how would you react if you lose? He said he could not contemplate it. That is a very dangerous reply and it shows a lot of desperation. A man who cannot contemplate defeat cannot go into elections.

So how has it been campaigning for President Jonathan in Edo State?

It has been very interesting, when you have a sellable product, you don’t labour too hard marketing the product. But when the product is bad it becomes extremely difficult. Edo people see the President as their own. They appreciate the challenges, they appreciate his achievements and they believe he deserves a second term. In many of the places we have gone to, the reception has been very good. A lot of times they have spent much time praying for him and of course counseled him, that in his second term there are issues he needs to tackle more, like the issue of insecurity and ensuring that the power sector, all the projects that are ongoing are completed so that before the end of his tenure, Nigerians will have uninterrupted supply. So I am very confident that when the election is done, the President will win overwhelmingly in Edo State.
You don’t think it will be difficult for him to win Edo since Governor Adams Oshiomhole has told the people his direction?

If the Governor had distanced himself from Buhari’s campaign, may be Buhari would have done better, but by identifying with Buhari and by even saying that a vote for Buhari is a vote for Adams Oshiomhole, he has helped my job considerably in winning Edo. The truth is that if there is one man that Edo people do not want to see, he is the governor. You will recall that in his first term he used to do road walks, what has happened, is it that he is no longer physically fit or he has become too comfortable. He cannot do it because he knows that he will be alone. So, Oshiomhole campaigning for Buhari is a minus because Edo people voted for him truly because they wanted change and the change he has shown them has brought a lot of hardship, deceit, propaganda into Edo State. His second term has been a disaster, all the roads we were all singing about in the first term what happened to them in the second term? The University he promised the people of Edo South, what has happened to it? And when government resorts to lies people cannot be impressed. Look at the recent one; just because election is around the corner, he went to Okpella and pretended to be flagging off a road project, which he also did in 2011. Meanwhile, the water project he said PDP embezzled N800million in Okpella was embezzled when General Buhari was head of PTF not the time of Goodluck Jonathan. It is part of the state project for PTF when General Buhari was the executive chairman.

What is your reaction to the allegation of campaign fund embezzlement leveled against you by PDP youths recently?

I’m happy that he came, because it was an opportunity to see for himself the love the people of the state have for him. What you saw at the stadium that day was totally unprecedented. I have been in APC and we have done so many rallies there before, we never had that kind of crowd, the whole place was filled to the brim, the seats, running tracks and outside the stadium were jam-parked and of course, Oshiomhole could not explain because when Buhari came he went to the 18 local governments to mobilise people. His reaction was to say that people were brought from Delta, Ondo and Anambra states. Later, they realised that the President also went to Delta State that same day, so it doesn’t make sense. They also realised that even the Anambra they mentioned is not a PDP state or are they saying we went to hire traders?

When that story didn’t quite work, the next thing was to incite our youth that N1. 5bn was given to me. I can tell you clearly that common sense will tell anybody that there is no way that you spend N1.5bn for a state rally, even if it is mother of all rallies that will climax the entire exercise, such an amount is ridiculous. But we traced this story to the doorsteps of Edo State government and the boys were provoked to the extent that they demonstrated to the PDP secretariat. Later they realised that there was no truth in that information. The state chairman told them that there was no such money.

So Governor Oshiomhole recently confirmed his involvement when he mentioned in an interview that I was dragging him into what happened; that we were supposed to give the youths N3, 000, but we gave them N500, so where is the balance? The question is, when did Oshiomhole become a PDP member? Who are the PDP people that told him they got N3, 000; where did he get the story?

It will interest you to know that in their plan to frustrate the rally, he instructed the ECT buses not to ply the road that day, thinking that it will deny those that want to go to the stadium the opportunity, but he failed. The same youths that went to protest have since come forward to say we are sorry.  In any event, has PDP told anybody that money meant for PDP rally was mismanaged? Why is Oshiomhole now crying more than the bereaved? I am the coordinator of the Goodluck campaigns and everyday we are winning more converts, the moment he knows somebody in government wants to come and join us he quickly terminates his appointment. I can tell you that there is no truth or controversy in the President’s visit. The visit only opened the eyes of those in government to the massive support the President enjoys here and that support cuts across.

So I have no doubt at all that PDP will win Edo. I am not God, but if elections are to be done today in Edo, honestly speaking, APC will struggle to get 25 per cent. It is not a boast, I have lived here all my life, I have played politics all my life, we have gone round and it is clear to us that APC will struggle, but that PDP will win Edo is not in doubt. You see our people are very sophisticated, there was a time they voted PDP and when they thought that PDP was taking them for granted and based on our appeal to them they said they will vote another party and that party has been in power for six and a half years and Edo people are asking themselves if things are any better.

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