It was Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, who observed that “politics is a contact sport.” Participants, either out of ambition or by the sheer nature of the sport, have to come in friendly or hostile contact. It is the way, has always been the way, and will continue to remain so.
Anyone with a fair understanding of this will not succumb to the hysteria associated with the wrangling going on in the All Progressives Congress. Indeed, there are fractures. That is undeniable. The National Chairman was suspended by the court following a misunderstanding of the events that took place at his Ward in Edo State and pending the reversal of that decision, some persons, driven by certain ambitions, are laying claims to the control of the party.
But amid the uncertainty and spiraling contests, there are certain immutable facts. One of them is that a primary election has been conducted and won in Edo State and a candidate in the person of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has emerged to the delight and complete acceptance of all members of the party in the state.
The primary, done in accordance with the law and with the collaboration of INEC and other relevant stakeholders, has been hailed in many quarters for its stellar organization, adherence to health and safety guidelines meant to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease, and the responsible conduct of party members who took part in all 192 wards of the state.
Some persons, in fact, described the exercise as a ‘blueprint’ for INEC on how to conduct an election in a pandemic – a novel task for the electoral body.
And today, 25th of June, after the conclusion of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the State House in Abuja, the primaries has been ratified, a decision that not only upholds the candidacy of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, but one that means that the President, who chaired the meeting, alongside other leaders of the party, will unite behind his governorship bid to ensure he is elected in September.
The decision was largely expected and it completes a perfect day of big wins for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. First, in Benin City, the State High Court dismissed the suit challenging his membership of the party, rightly describing it as idle gossip founded on “assumptions, speculations, conjectures, and guesswork” which, in any case, is an internal party affair and thus non-justiciable.
Then the icing on the cake: at the recommendation of President Muhammadu Buhari, and with the acceptance of all leaders of the party, including Governors, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, irrespective of the contestations from any quarter, was affirmed as the party’s flagbearer in Edo State and his name immediately passed on to INEC.
All legal hurdles, both existing and planned, were also dismantled as the party, after setting up a Caretaker Committee chaired by Yobe’s Governor, Mai Mala Buni, directed that all members withdraw court cases filed to pave the way for unification efforts guaranteed to deliver victory in Edo State and other areas alike.
All politics is local and the APC has done the right thing in ratifying the decision of its members in Edo State who defied the elements on Monday and turned out in great numbers to express their choice of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a well-grounded politician who has devoted his life in service to the state.
The PDP and their tax collectors assembled in Edo State by the embattled Godwin Obaseki impatiently waited for this day to gloat and point fingers. Abandoning the cracks in their own ships, they tuned into the NEC meeting, praying, waiting, and encouraging decisions that would destroy the APC and leave it without a candidate so they can ride on to victory. But again, they have been disappointed.
In Edo State, the man they dread and are desperately unwilling to duel with at the polls has emerged victorious. Far from over, their nightmare has only just begun. And the work Edo people started with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, they will complete in September. Edo APC remains standing and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu will lead its charge. Condolences, PDP.
Prince John Mayaki is the Director of Communication and Media Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organization