Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2016 election in Edo State, but the table has turned, and he is now the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 19 poll. He spoke on his preparations for the election, among other issues. Excerpts…
You are vying for the governorship seat. What are your antecedents?
I have been privileged to serve the good people of Edo State in different capacities; Chief of Staff to Governor (1999 to 2003), Secretary to Government from 2003 to 2007. The positions, which I held creditably, without blemish, have given me a unique insight into the workings of government. I am acutely aware of the importance of electing an experienced and competent Chief Executive who would stay focused on the discharge of his duties. That is why I’m seeking the mandate of Edo electorate to come out in their thousands to vote POI on September 19. I am of the strong conviction that our greater tomorrow, the future upon which we rest our hope, is now. The road ahead would be long, but with God’s grace upon us, no matter the challenges that may accompany this journey; we shall fix our eyes on that horizon. Again I was privileged to serve as the National Vice- Chairman of the ACN South- South zone and was a member of the party’s National Caucus. In 2012, I was appointed the Director –general (DG) of Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole’s second term reelection campaign and our party won that election overwhelmingly. I was a member of the merger committee and functioned simultaneously as the Vice- Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee before the final registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on February, 6, 2013.
Some peole have said they are scared of you being the governor. Why is that so?
Those who are afraid of Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu know why they are scared. I’m a human being as they are, created by the same God that created them, the only difference between us is that we were not created the same day. God deposited different skills in us, and to the best of my knowledge, I have tried using my own in serving humanity. I fear God, I’m generally accepted by people of like minds. I love my fellow human beings, I hate to see people suffer, I as my own. I ‘m totally committed to the service of humanity, I’m not an arrogant person, I’m an astute politician who is always ready to serve the good people of my state. I was born in Edo, schooled in Edo, I married here, I live here and I will die here in Edo. This is what makes me different from my contemporaries.
Some people said Governor Godwin Obaseki has performed. What do you think is wrong with his government that you want to put right?
We have never hidden the fact that our primary objective in politics is to access government for the benefit of our people. This year is vital because it marks the end of the four–year rule of an administration that came on the wings of so many promises and offers us an opportunity of electing a new government that will manage the affairs of the state for the benefit of all. The change that Edo people desire now is not one based on empty sloganeering or deceit. Edo people yearn for a change that is real, life enhancing, veritable, purposeful and sustainable. Yes, we have challenges facing the state, but these challenges are surmount-able if you have a government that has a vision. We have a genuine road map to transform our state from its present unacceptable condition of underdevelopment to an attractive state with a vibrant economy.
What is your agenda for the state?
‘My SIMPLE’ Agenda blueprint offers measurable commitments that would be implemented with passion, drive and zeal for development. The simple agenda is specific, measurable, accurate, reliable and time bound. Edo has not fared well in the past three years of Obaseki’s administration. Any government that intends to bring real development and prosperity to its citizens must be totally focused on a comprehensive and sustainable development that encompasses health, education, human resources, development, jobs creation, industrialisation, agriculture and security, among others.
But Obaseki said he has done all these?
What we hear every day is the signing of MOU with nothing to show for these agreements. Our roads are in bad shape, Edo people currently sit on a knife edge. To tell you that this government has failed, look at the rate of youth u n e m – p l o y – m e n t and und e r – em-ployment, it is a huge nightmare. Our higher institutions of learning across the state are being closed down, all state owned businesses are moribund. The spate of insecurity in the state is nothing to write home about; robbery, thuggery, kidnapping and cultism, as a result of non employment in the state has become a daily routine. This dangerous trend can only be reversed by a change in leadership that would be toleraant of different views, accommodating and committed to peaceful engagement.
Are you implying that Obaseki has failed as a governor?
He is a goner! His three and half years in office as governor were nothing but a monumental failure. There is virtually nothing to show for it. It has been government run on deceit. He has travelled round the world signing MOUs, wasting the tax payer’s money without results.
Why do you think you would win the September 19 election?
We are optimistic that in spite of the dark clouds fueled by political intolerance and corruption, the future of Edo State is bright. What Edo people are yearning for now is focused, purposeful and visionary leadership. The ‘Simple Agenda’ of our campaign programme has provided accurate answers to all questions and the way forward for Edo State. We solemnly appeal to our electorate to come out and vote a government that will be diligent in handling the affairs of the state, ensure its full fulfillment of electioneering promises.
Obaseki recently raised the alarm that Federal Government has sent police after PDP members. Why is your party fuelling crisis?
It is the PDP that is responsible for the entire election crisis happening in the state. Obaseki is using incumbency power to intimidate us. APC is very busy with campaigns; we discuss issues not human beings. We do not have time for triviality. They should stop diverting attention; Edo people want issued-based campaigns. They are already scared of defeat, and violence cannot give anyone victory. Edo people are peace loving people. They are tired of deceptive government. What they need is a government that can change the narratives .