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Buhari endorses Ize-Iyamu, cautions against Rivers, Zamfara experience

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja
08 August 2020   |   4:16 am
The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), led by Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has described embattled Godwin Obaseki as a colossal failure and liability to the people of Edo State; hence does not deserve a second term.

President Muhammadu Buhari (middle) and Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni (left), handing the party’s flag to its governorship candidate in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, at the State House, Abuja… yesterday 

The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), led by Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has described embattled Godwin Obaseki as a colossal failure and liability to the people of Edo State; hence does not deserve a second term.

Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, who joined other members of the forum for a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, described his Edo State counterpart and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as a liability to be dispensed with. He urged the people to come out en mass to vote for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the election, saying the Obaseki-led administration has performed woefully in all ramifications.

This came as President Muhammadu Buhari, during the meeting, endorsed Ize-Iyamu for the September 19 governorship election. Chairman of APC’s Caretaker Committee and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, who led the delegation to the State House in Abuja, while fielding questions from newsmen, said the President, during their closed-door interaction, gave the party’s governorship candidate his blessings and proceeded to present Ize-Iyamu an endorsement flag for the poll.

He said Ize-Iyamu is a seasoned grassroots politician who is loved by his people, adding that Buhari’s blessings on him further validates the party’s confidence.

Ganduje also dismissed the argument that incumbency factor could swing votes in favour of Obaseki, saying: “It could have been a big problem if the governor performed well while governing his state. He could have been an asset to PDP.

“But I assure you that the governor is a liability. In fact, it is even better for us that we are contesting with a serving governor who failed woefully. He failed woefully in the area of human development, he failed woefully in the area of providing infrastructural facilities to the good people of Edo State, he failed woefully in the execution of constitutional provision in the state, especially pertaining to the legislature.

“Fourteen members were out of the legislature for 13 good months. When we calculated, we saw those 14 legislators are representing 60 per cent of the population. All their constituents are unhappy that elected legislators were not given the chance to participate in the legislations in that state.

“All the legislations made should be considered as illegal. So, we are ready to fight somebody who has failed and it is an advantage to us.”
Ize-Iyamu, while fielding questions, debunked the allegation that the 14 members-elect sat in his house on Thursday to impeach the Speaker of the House and elect a new one, insisting: “Let me debunk the statement that 17 members of the Assembly sat in my sitting room; it is not true.”

He also said there was no truth in the insinuations that Buhari did not want to see him, adding that it was a falsehood being spread by the PDP.

Responding to sundry other questions, the APC candidate also debunked insinuations that a former national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, was the face of his campaign, noting that it was the PDP that was dragging the former governor into the fray.

Ize-Iyamu blamed Obaseki for the rising political tension in the state, saying as one who does not enjoy immunity, he would not make trouble, because he does want to go to jail.

Bagudu said the decision of his APC counterparts to endorse Ize-Iyamu was predicated on widespread consultations by all the party stakeholders, noting: “The question has been asked whether all APC governors are in full support of our candidate and the simple answer is yes. It is laughable to suggest otherwise.

“PGF was solidly behind our party in the resolutions reached on June 25 that saw the emergence of the caretaker committee and ratification of the candidature of Ize-Iyamu and we have consulted with the chairman of the caretaker committee in putting in place the campaign committee, ably chaired by Ganduje, and supported by other governors since the candidate emerged.”

“Our President has made it very clear about his expectations as to deliver our party in any elections and that is what we are going to do.”

Meanwhile, Buhari, while receiving the delegation, urged the party leaders and campaign team to do all that is necessary and following legal and constitutional means to win the election.

The President charged them 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 would regain its pride of place in winning elections and serving the people.

A statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the President also urged party leaders at the national and state levels to follow the electoral process in an open and transparent manner, so that the confidence of the people would be strengthened.

The statement said the President congratulated Pastor Ize-Iyamu on his emergence as the party’s candidate in Edo State after a “turbulent process,” assuring him of full support.