PRESIDENT Muhmmadu Buhari on Friday endorsed the APC governorship candidate in Edo State Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and handed him the party’s flag.
Present at the ceremony at the State House were Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and governor of Yobe State, Mai Malla Buni; Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.
Speaking, Buhari charged the APC leadership to prosecute and win the Edo State governorship election using all legal and constitutional means.
He told 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.
“What I want is a transparent process so that the confidence of the people will be strengthened,” he said.
The President congratulated Ize-Iyamu on his emergence as the party’s candidate after a “turbulent process” and assured him of full support.
Introducing Ize-Iyamu, Buni described him as “a seasoned grassroots politician who is loved by his people”.
The Chairman of the APC Edo State gubernatorial campaign, Governor Ganduje, said in line with the principles of the party, it would lead a clean campaign devoid of acrimony, hatred and violence.
Ganduje said the campaign had started on a good and happy note, with the APC already taking over the state legislature with a majority of 17 out of 24.
In his response, Ize-Iyamu assured the President of his commitment to ensuring good governance in the state if elected in the September election, recalling that he served as Deputy Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the APC at its formation.
He said he was glad to return to the APC, describing his initial exit as that of a “prodigal son’’.
The APC candidate thanked the President for the warm and fatherly reception, saying he was honoured to receive the party’s flag from the President.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu told State House Press Corps that he was fully in charge of his campaign as a popular candidate who served the state as Chief of Staff and Secretary to State Government in previous administrations.
He also said former APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had already explained that his initial unfriendly comments during the 2016 campaigns were purely political aimed at giving another candidate an edge in the elections.
Addressing State House correspondents, Atiku Bagudu, who doubles as Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, said all the APC governors were solidly behind the party’s governorship candidates in Edo and Ondo states.
His words: “We have consulted with the chairman of the caretaker committee in putting in place the campaign committee which is ably chaired by the governor of Kano State and supported by other governors.
“Since the candidate emerged, since the ratification, all the APC governors have been working in different ways to ensure the success of our party.
“Let me just remind some of you, this is not different from what we have done before.
“Four years ago, we were in the same Edo State in very difficult election and we supported the incumbent governor then, Adams Oshiomhole, to campaign for the party, which saw the emergence of Godwin Obaseki as governor.
“What we are doing today is not different.
“For the Progressive Governors Forum, the defining thing is continuity of All Progressives Congress in governance at the federal and across Nigeria and we will support our party any day.
“Our president has made it very clear about his expectations as to deliver our party in any election, and that is what we are going to do.”