By Benjamin Omoike
Former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, on Monday said that most of the allegations that he levelled against the candidate of the party for the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, were based on hear-say and untrue.
According to him, he has since realised that Ize-Iyamu was not a cult member while in the university, did not pour acid on the private part of a female student and has never stolen public funds.
Speaking during the Morning Show on Arise TV, the former Edo governor said the allegations which he levelled against Ize-Iyamu in the run up to the 2016 election, were mere political talks to demarket Ize-Iyamu, who was then the candidate of the rival PDP.
“The electorate knows a little more. It is not unusual in Nigeria or anywhere in the world, for you to say something about a politician and find out that in the end, some of those things are not exactly correct.
“First and foremost, nobody should expect me as a governor on the platform of APC to campaign for a PDP candidate because Pastor Ize-Iyamu for some reasons felt that he may not get our ticket and so he went to join PDP. So, it is not possible for me to campaign for him.
“Again, there were things I was told by people around me because I didn’t live in Edo then, I lived in the North. I was told for example that Pastor didn’t go to Law School, now I know that is not true, because we have seen the register of those who graduated from Law School and his name is there.
“Asking me to conduct an enquiry about what I said, if they are true or not true, is to mistake the essence of political marketing and campaigns. I am sure, if you play back your previous interviews either with Nigerian politicians or abroad, it is not uncommon to find that political rivals in the morning become political friends in the evening. I don’t think you want to hold to all these as if I swore to an affidavit. I have spoken to something about somebody swearing to Affidavit and telling the court and INEC that he graduated and it turned out that these were fake. Those are more damaging stories than what I said about Pastor Ize-Iyamu.
“The issue of whether we can entrust Edo funds with him or not, that was an opinion. Pastor has never been a governor so I cannot accuse him of having done one thing or the other,” Oshiomhole said.
On the issue of accusing Ize-Iyamu of pouring acid on a student of UNIBEN, Oshiomhole noted that while it was correct that such incident occurred, investigations later showed that Ize-Iyamu was not the perpetrator but was at the scene as a mediator.
“That there was such an incident is not in doubt, what we now know is that it was investigated and pastor was exonerated. You don’t want to suggest to me that every allegation made about someone turns out to be correct. Now, we have evidence that Pastor was involved in mediating between the guys involved,” he said.
He also accused Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is seeking a second term in office on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of deviating from the template he met when he assumed office.
“On the contrary, we have a governor who has spent billions of naira on consultancy services. If he wants to organise a launch, he must get a consultant to advice him. He will import young boys and girls who know nothing about Edo. He was contracting little things such as invitation cards to printers outside Edo. Basically, all the young men and women who worked so hard for him to be elected, he dismissed them as miscreants. I brought it to his attention but he didn’t listen.
“You also have to emphasise what I said about Godwin, which has turned to what we might call a green snake in a green grass, he didn’t believe in what we were doing, he didn’t accept those standard of jobs we were doing
“The issue for me is that Godwin did not meet the expectations. The day Obaseki was sworn in, he spoke glowingly about the solid foundation he met. Edo people recognise that I am human. I assumed because he worked with me, he appeared to believe in what I was doing, there was unanimity in the quality of my stewardship. I believe that anyone who has worked with me will continue from there, but he failed to do so,” the former APC national chairman said.
Oshiomhole also insisted that the election was not about him, but about Ize-Iyamu, who according to him, was better positioned to change the narrative in the State with his ‘Simple Agenda’ manifesto.
He said: “Ize-Iyamu has lived in that state and he has come up with what he calls ‘Simple Agenda’. He has spoken to how he will get it done. Play back Obaseki’s speech during the flag-off campaign; he said he will come up with his programmes later. Which one should come first?
“Based on the simple agenda of Pastor, it is obvious that he knows where the problems are and he is ready to fix them. In this election, I am not a candidate; I am not doing anything outside the ordinary. If somebody can come from Delta, Port Harcourt and other States to endorse Obaseki, none of them spoke to the issues concerning Edo people.
“Pastor said they will build more primary and secondary schools. I believe he understands and he knows what the issues are. He lives in the state, unlike Obaseki, who came in from Lagos. I did not consult him and neither did he consult with me before he came out with ‘Simple Agenda’,” he said.