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Edo 2020: Intrigues Over Ize-Iyamu’s APC Membership, Waiver to Contest Election

The waiver granted Osagie Ize-Iyamu who on Tuesday emerged the consensus aspirant of a faction of the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC loyal to the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, is still ruffling feathers in the camp of the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki which is also contesting Ize-Iyamu’s membership of the party. Ize-Iyamu, pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and former secretary to the state government, picked his nomination form to challenge the governor at the June 22, 2020, scheduled primary election of the party.

Since the National Working Committee, NWC of the party last week announced a waiver for Ize-Iyamu, and the adoption of direct primary to select the party’s candidate for the September 19 governorship election, all hell had been let loose, especially in the governor’s faction of the party. On Thursday, local government area party chairmen loyal to the governor addressed a press conference denouncing the waiver and contending that Ize-Iyamu was not a member of the party.

They also described Tuesday’s emergence of Ize-Iyamu as the party’s consensus candidate as “ultra vires, null and void” noting that article 31 of the party’s constitution confer that power on the National Executive Committee, NEC of the party and condition for waiver prescribed by the party constitution had not been met.

Sometime last week, Ikuenobe Anthony, factional state assistant secretary of the party, had also pooh-poohed what he called “the waiver purportedly granted Pastor Ize-Iyamu by the APC National Working Committee” which he similarly insisted fell short of the constitutional requirement of the party.

Orhionmwon local government chairman of the party, Ben Oghomu, who spoke on behalf of 17 others, at the party’s secretariat in Benin City, said “We the local government party Chairmen of APC in Edo state wish to state for the avoidance of doubt that the purported agreement to return Pastor Osagie -Ize Iyamu as a consensus candidate of the APC is totally false without foundation. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is not a member of our party. He led his followers out of APC in 2014 and even contested the governorship on the platform of the PDP in 2016 which he lost.

“The purported waiver granted to him by the national working committee of the party is ultra vires, null and void as article 31 of the party’s constitution confers that power on the National Executive Committee, NEC of the party. Besides, the conditions for waiver prescribed by the Party’s constitution have not been met. The truth is that Pastor Osagie -Iyamu recently joined Edo People’s Movement , (EPM) which is a group organized by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to destabilize APC in Edo state. The party has a constitution and the constitution makes provisions on how things are done including registration of new members”.

The party chairmen therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call Oshiomhole to order “because article 21 of the constitution of our party tells us that factionalisation, or creating parallel organs at any level within the party as Comrade Oshiomhole has done in Edo state is an offence against the party”.

Ikuenobe in a statement, gave two reasons why the waiver was not valid. “Firstly, Article 31: 2 which deals with waiver states ” subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee may in special circumstances grant a waiver to a person not otherwise qualified under Article 31:1 of this constitution if, in its opinion such a waiver is in the best interest of the party “. For the purported waiver to become valid, the National Executive Committee of the party must meet to approve of it.

“Secondly, Article 31:3 gives the conditions and procedures to apply for waiver. Article 31:3ii states as follows: For anyone applying for waiver “he or she has applied for waiver in writing to the National Working Committee of the party through his/her appropriate ward, Local Government Area/Area Council, State, Federal Capital Territory, and Zonal Committee”. The factional assistant secretary insisted that “As at today, Hon. Anselm Ojezua Esq is the State Chairman of APC as Col. Imuse remains restrained by court. The State Executive Committee is not aware of Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s application. The Ward and LGA Executive Committee of the party are not aware of his application. So how can such a waiver stand? People need to know that Nigeria is fast changing and no longer where anything goes. Our people are wiser and now look at issues more critically. You can put something on nothing. Do it anyhow era is long gone. We must be careful not to go the Zamfara way”.

But reacting to the uproar over Ize-Iyamu’s waiver and the questioning of his membership of the party, Washington Osifo, a lawyer and chieftain of the APC, maintained that Ize-Iyamu is registered in his ward. Upbraiding the local government chairmen, Osifo said “they are only doing mischief to please their paymaster who is Godwin Obaseki”. He said it is either they are mischievous or they are ignorant. “So, I do not blame them if they made statements to the effect that he’s not a member of the party and the waiver was wrongly issued and it does not guarantee him any opportunity to vie for the ticket in this party”.

Osifo, who is one of the members-elect yet to be sworn into the seventh state Assembly, explained that “You can become a member of our party either through physical registration, or you do online registration, or in special circumstances, a waiver is given according to section 31 Article 2 of our constitution. So, it’s there, the NWC can grant waiver. I can tell you that Ize-Iyamu is registered in his ward and holds a party card, signed by the secretary”.

He alleged that in order to frustrate Ize-Iyamu, “The government of Edo State led by Godwin Obaseki forcefully took the chairman of his ward to court and forced him to depose to an affidavit, denying that he was not the one who issued that membership card to him”. Osifo said although this is a subject of litigation, “it’s not even an issue”. He said desperate attempts to stop Ize-Iyamu would fail.

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