Obaseki will be shocked if he doesn’t closemark Ize-Iyamu – Edo PDP chieftain warns

A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Okharedia Ihimekpen, has cautioned leaders and members of his party not to underrate the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Ihimekpen, Monday at an interactive session with reporters in Benin, expressed optimism that Governor Godwin Obaseki would emerge victorious on September 19, but added that PDP members in Edo must work much harder.

He said: “I know that Pastor Ize- Iyamu is a strong tactician, he is very perfect in planning and he is a grassroots man. You do not underrate him, if you do; it is at your peril. So, if you say ‘I am a governor, nothing is happening,’ you sit down and swim in joy, thinking that you have arrived; you will only be deceiving yourself. If you do not close mark Pastor Ize-Iyamu, you will be shocked.

“Look at the person that Pastor Ize-Iyamu picked as his running mate, Hon. Ganiyu Audu, also a grassroots politician from Edo North Senatorial District as the deputy to Governor Obaseki, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu. Hon. Audu is the engine room of Edo North Senatorial District and he is a perfect gentleman, who knows what politics is all about.

“The combination of Pastor Ize-Iyamu, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (former National Chairman of APC/ex-Governor of Edo State) and Audu, coupled with the sympathy of the people of Edo North Senatorial District for their son (Oshiomhole) is a danger that the PDP members must contend with.

“PDP members in Edo State can survive on September 19, if they start planning now. It may interest you to know from the reports on my table that Pastor Ize-Iyamu has set up 25 committees to combat PDP, but the PDP members are still drinking, believing we have won.”

Ihimekpen, who was among the six people that held the first meeting of the PDP in 1998, pointed out that in spite of 14 political parties participating in the September 19 governorship election in Edo state, it would be a battle between Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu.

He said: “Winning the September 19 election is a 50/50 chance for Governor Obaseki, because the disaster that happened to Comrade Oshiomhole lately has brought all the people of Edo North Senatorial District together to be in sympathy with him. You cannot just humiliate their son out of power at the national level and think you will get their support. They will sink and die with him (Oshiomhole). So, if you ask me a million times, I will tell you a million times that the election is going to be 50/50 on both sides.

“The battle is between the two political parties. PDP wants Governor Obaseki to win the governorship election, and APC members are afraid, because they have lost one big thing. That is why President Muhammadu Buhari said all APC governors should be ready to go to Edo and deliver the state for APC. So, it is going to be 50/50.

“If you look at the calculations now, PDP will win. However, I still advise Governor Obaseki to be checking his men and be watching his back, because if he does not, his closest persons can stab him in the back. Governor Obaseki has brought life into the PDP in Edo State and that is causing confusion in APC. They are still thinking that they may not be able to recover from the shock.”

Ihimekpen, a one-time Director of Communications during the tenure of Chief Lucky Igbinedion as Edo governor, also stated that Obaseki came to PDP as leverage to save his political career, because he was almost going into political oblivion.

He said: “Governor Obaseki would have been retired politically, due to what happened in his former party (APC), so, when the disaster happened to him in his party, he was looking for a place to go, and PDP was also looking for an image that can also help to lift the party, and they saw him as a big opportunity.

“Governor Obaseki had to pass through every thick and thin to ensure he got on board in PDP. Bear in mind that in Edo PDP, there were persons who were there before Governor Obaseki, who never wanted him, they were aggrieved and they did everything possible to ensure they frustrated him.

“All politicians are platform seekers. Governor Obaseki did not come to PDP because he loved PDP so much, while the PDP members did not want him because he is the only one. Edo governor wanted a political platform to actualise his political dream and PDP also needed him to help win the state it lost many years ago. So, it is a symbolic relationship.”

The PDP chieftain also called for peaceful campaigns and election, in order to move Edo state forward.

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