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APC members own the party in Edo, not Obaseki, says Oshiomhole

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• Ize-Iyamu Received Into Party At His Residence

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday cautioned against violence and intimidation of party members in Edo State, saying APC members own the party and not Governor Godwin Obaseki or his Deputy, Philip Shaibu.

Oshiomhole made the remark shortly after the party’s rally held in Benin City to receive defectors, including Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2016 governorship election.

Oshiomhole said the violence against its members and others defecting to the party in the state, ahead of the rally, confirmed the fear of some desperate politicians who do not mean well for the party in the state.

He noted that the coming of Ize-Iyamu and his supporters to the APC was to increase the numerical strength and fortune of the party, describing the intimidation of members by some sponsored people in the state government as opposed to the rally as embarrassing.

“We are happy that in spite of everything, APC had a successful rally that was peaceful and it achieved its purpose. As I stand here now, I am taller now than I was yesterday, because we have harvested to our party, people who were part of the foundation of APC, those who participated in the negotiations for the merger. Not only have they returned home, but they have also used their connection in the other party they were in to move people to join us.

“As far as I am concerned, as the national chairman of the APC, our house in Edo is now a full house, particularly if you remember that Ize-Iyamu was the director-general of my campaign in 2012 second term and I won in all the 18 councils and all wards in Edo South.

“In 2016, Ize-Iyamu left us and stood against us, we only managed to defeat him with about 50,000 votes. So, if he is bringing on board, as he has done, that is goodwill, energy, resourcefulness and electoral base to join the APC. I am much more confident now of APC’s continuous hold on the governance of this state than ever before.”

He continued: “The shame, however, is that those who have the responsibility to provide security decided to create security challenges.

“The party is not run by the government, the party is run by the party and the business of people joining us is the responsibility of the state chapter, who invited me and other members of the NWC (National Working Committee) to join them to receive the defectors, because I am from this state.

“The peaceful reception is to welcome not only Ize-Iyamu, but thousands of other PDP leaders and members, and APC house is fuller. Our confidence about winning the future for the next election is better assured of what has happened today.

“As national chairman, I have to pay the price by abstaining from going for the rally, so that I would deny the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Edo State Police Command any excuse to go and kill people and blame it on me. We will not go to their level; blood for blood is not our mantra.

“My position is that the way to iron differences is to sit down with various shades of opinion within the party, listen to those who have complains and the ones that are valid, share with them how you will address them. The ones that are not valid, then explain why they are not. This is what we have been working on, but the governor has consistently refused to attend an all-inclusive meeting.

“So, once our members are united, I am comfortable, but we will sustain the path of peace. That was the only reason I opted not to attend the mega rally today. They have already planted a story today from the government house that I am under house arrest.

“God knows my heart and He will help me and He has been helping me. We will sustain the governance of the state under the APC with Edo people as our principal and our ultimate employers. To them we are grateful.” 

In his speech, Ize-Iyamu alleged that an attempt was made to burn down Garrick Memorial College, the earlier scheduled venue of the rally, simply because the Oshiomhole- led APC wanted to use it to receive him.

He frowned at the desperation and violence, calling on members to embrace peace to build the party, adding: “Let’s join the national chairman to move the state and the party forward.”

Receiving the defectors, the state APC factional Chairman, Col. David Imuse (rtd), formally welcomed Ize-Iyamu into the party and presented him and his supporters with a broom, which is the party symbol, in the company of other party leaders at the private residence of Ize-Iyamu.

Imuse said the coming of Ize-Iyamu and his supporters from the 18 councils was a homecoming worthy of celebration and would add value to the party, noting: “We are here to celebrate the homecoming of our brothers and sisters from the PDP who have come to add value to our party. Not only to add value, they are also coming to make our party grow from strength to strength, so that we can win at all levels.”


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