Mohammadu Buhari (GCFR)
The President and
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
Federal Republic of Nigeria
RE: PASTOR OSAGIE IZE-IYAMU AS EDO PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT (EPM) CONSENSUS CANDIDATE IN THE FORTHCOMING APC GOVERNORSHIP PRIMARY IN EDO STATE
1.We greet you with profound admiration and respect for the brave and visionary leadership you have continued to provide our great country Nigeria, especially in this difficult and unprecedented period of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. We commend the innovative and life-saving measures you have announced to control the spread of the deadly virus, including that of social-distancing and other medical advisories issued by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), under your able leadership.
2.Sir, we received with concern, the news that some very sinister persons wrote to you with false identity, casting aspersions and making unfounded accusations. The gravamen of the letter is the intention to malign the National Chairman of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and a notable member of the party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. The letter, which is laden with naked lies, is deliberately calculated to cast these two great personalities in bad light and bring them to disfavour before you. However, truth is always alive and can never be vanquished by lies. We crave your Excellency’s kind indulgence to debunk these lies, while setting the records straight.
3.Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the personality who is the primary target of the said letter of lies, is not as falsely claimed by the faceless authors of the letter, a 3-month-old member of our great party, the APC. On the contrary, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, more than being part and parcel of our great party from the very beginning, was in the inner circle of the great personalities instrumental in the formation of the party. He played vital roles, traveling far and wide in the mission to facilitate the amicable coming together of the three defunct parties that merged to form the APC in 2013. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s undisputed role in the formation of the APC are shown by the sensitive positions he held in the APC during and after its formation. He was the Vice National Chairman of the ACN, South-South; Member of the National Caucus; a Frontline Member of the Mergers Committee, and the Deputy Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee that midwifed the APC. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has also served in government, bringing the same zeal and resourcefulness which he is popularly known for. As Chief of Staff and later Secretary to the Government of Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu served with honour and without blemish, facts well-known to the faceless authors of the letter of lies.
4.In addition to the foregoing, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has been invaluable in the achievements of the APC in Edo State and in the South-South in general. However, as a result of the politics of lies and character assassination which are being re-enacted again by the same faceless elements, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was frustrated out of the party. But there were consequences, one that proved his resourcefulness and importance in the party which these same faceless elements have refused to appreciate simply because they are envious of him. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s grassroots political structure has been used to win various elections in Edo State. When he was forced out of the APC, subsequent elections were lost to the opposition party. The most worrisome and heart-breaking of them all is the loss of Edo South, a constituency where the Pastor hails from and from where the current Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, also hails from. It is on record that as a sitting Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki could not muster political capacity to retain the constituency which Pastor Ize-Iyamu had delivered totally to the APC in the past; underscoring the fact the Governor is a political lightweight who lacks the ability to mobilise support for the APC, or indeed any political party.
5.Few years after being forced by betrayal, lies and deceit to exit from the APC which he helped to build, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu returned several months ago. His return was inspired by the yearnings of the good people of Edo State, and encouraged by genuine leaders of the APC who are interested in ensuring that the APC is re-positioned to win future elections in Edo State, a situation that had become doubtful because of the non-inclusive politics of Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the current Governor. Since returning back to the party fold, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has expectedly brought back the resourcefulness and competence that he is well-known for, which has made the APC become even more attractive to Edo people. However, once again, the calumny and vendetta that led to his initial exodus are being re-enacted by the same persons who do not have the party’s interest at heart. These are individuals who feel entitled to power, believing that leadership is an inheritance that shouldn’t be contested based on the supremacy of ideas and arguments, for the betterment of the people.
6. In the letter of lies sent to Your Excellency, the faceless authors mentioned the 2016 Gubernatorial Campaign in Edo State, in a futile bid to revive the fierce exchanges that are normal during electoral campaigns. However, they sought to hinge on the exchanges with the intention of spreading the falsehood that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is not politically marketable. They mentioned that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, while campaigning vigorously against Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, made statements which are neither unusual nor unexpected in a political campaign. However, they failed to mention the glowing words the same Comrade Adams Oshiomhole showered on the Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu when he turned 50 years of age. In the letter personally signed by Comrade Oshiomhole, he specially praised Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s competence, resourcefulness, diplomatic temperament, intelligence, and uncommon wisdom which paved the way for the great electoral victories enjoyed at the time by the ACN, one of the parties that merged to form the APC in 2013. These faceless individuals did not mention that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, was the Chairman of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s 1st year anniversary in office as Governor of Edo State. They did not mention that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was the Director-General of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s 2nd term campaign in 2012 in which the party recorded resounding victory winning in all 18 Local Government Areas of Edo State, a victory which has not been matched till date.
7.In their unproductive cleverness, they tried to dredge-up a court case just to soil the image of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. However, they deliberately omitted to disclose that this case, which relates to the 2015 campaign, has since been dropped or dismissed in virtually every other state where similar cases were instituted. The most recent of them are those instituted in Yobe and Kwara States. A similar case involving Senator Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State was dropped as far back as 2018. For the records, no money was paid into Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s account for that campaign, nor was he accused of taking or utilizing the amount said to have been received, for himself. That is why the teeming supporters of our great party are not bothered about the case. We therefore urge Your Excellency to disregard this desperate attempt to further malign the person of the distinguished Pastor.
8.Motivated by the same mischief, these faceless people mentioned the alleged conduct of a mock primary to endorse Pastor Ize-Iyamu as the consensus candidate of our party in the forthcoming gubernatorial election. The accusation only emanates from a figment of their imagination as no such thing happened in reality. The only meeting which held was that of Edo APC philanthropic leaders who met, while observing the prescribed social distancing measure, to brainstorm on palliative measures to support the good people of Edo State as they endure the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. The whole essence is to support the state government in the effort to ameliorate the condition of the less privileged in the state.
9.Mr. President Sir, with the countdown to the contest for the gubernatorial ticket of the APC in Edo State, it is obvious from the letter of lies that these people want intervention only where intervention means aiding their incompetence and helping their bid to monopolize ambition. The people of Edo State are however tired of the incompetent leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki. They have made it resoundingly clear that they want a free and fair primary election for the gubernatorial ticket of the APC, with a level playing field granted to all aspirants, including the leading aspirant Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Why is Governor Godwin Obaseki and these faceless elements desperate to truncate this well-known, generally accepted political process if they are confident that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is unpopular and unmarketable?
10.Mr. President Sir, we believe that the falsehoods contained in the letter of lies demonstrate that those behind the letter are desperate to ruin the electoral fortune of the APC if they do not have their way. That is why they referred to Bayelsa State, forgetting that what happened in Bayelsa had nothing to do with the desperation of any aspirant in the APC. They forget too that our great party, the APC won the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State. Mr. President may be reminded that the judicial reversal our great party suffered in Bayelsa State after a hard-fought electoral victory was caused by inconsistencies in the credentials submitted by our Deputy Governorship candidate. In the unlikely event that our great party the APC makes similar mistake by fielding Mr. Godwin Obaseki in the forth-coming gubernatorial election, we shall suffer similar judicial misfortune as happened in Bayalsa, because Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s educational credentials are riddled with manifest and incurable inconsistencies.
To illustrate our position, let us put the facts down for the records: In a sworn affidavit of 2016, Mr. Obaseki claimed that he was admitted for a three-year degree programme in Classical Studies in the University of Ibadan in 1973, after obtaining only 3 credit passes at Ordinary Level in the West African School Certificate (WASC) examination held in June 1973 (the same year he claimed to have commenced the degree programme). In the said affidavit, Mr. Obaseki claimed to have graduated in 1976, three years after his purported admission into the University of Ibadan. At all times till date, no Nigerian University, including the University of Ibadan, admits candidate to study for any degree course with only 3 credit passes in WASC, Ordinary Level as claimed by Mr. Obaseki. The only possible exception is that the candidate must have an additional Advanced Level Certificate. In all his sworn affidavits including the ones he swore to before being fielded as a candidate in the 2016 gubernatorial election, Mr. Obaseki has never claimed or disclosed, when asked by the INEC as constitutionally required, to have obtained an Advanced Level Certificate. How then did he gain admission into the University of Ibadan in 1973 with only 3 credit passes obtained at Ordinary Level in 1973? These manifest and incurable inconsistencies which are already on court records, in the affidavits sworn to by Mr. Obaseki, are well-known to other political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who are anxiously waiting for our great party to make the egregious mistake of fielding Mr. Obaseki, in order to inflict the Bayalsa Treatment on the APC! Mr. President Sir, we must not fall into this obvious trap by endorsing a person like Mr. Godwin Obaseki with a crooked record of inconsistent credentials.
11.Finally Sir, we make bold to say that the alleged signatories to the letter of lies are non-existent, concocted names. Such is the mischief which can only be associated with dishonourable people who do not believe in the political ideals of openness and internal democracy upon which the APC is solidly built.
Honourable Stanley Odidi
Etsako East Local Government Council
Edo North, Edo State
Honourable Sam Oboh
Esan North East Local Government Council
Edo Central, Edo State
Honourable Etinosa Ogbeiwi
Edo State House of Assembly
Representing Orhionmwon Constituency I
Edo South, Edo State