By Peterson Ibi
There are mixed feelings within the Edo State political establishment over an alleged plan by a two-time governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to dump the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ize-Iyamu contested the governorship election of the state against the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in 2012.
He again contested the Edo top job with incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2016.
It was gathered that the Redeemed Church of God pastor may dump the PDP for APC before this week runs out, having reached an agreement with the national chairman of the APC.
Sources in the state chapter of the PDP, who did not want to be named in print, disclosed that Ize-Iyamu had remained a passive member of the party, ever since he fell out with the chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Dan Orbih.
Ize-Iyamu, who served as Secretary to the Edo State Government during the administration of former Governor Lucky Igbinedion, joined others to form the Grace Group, which metamorphosed into the defunct Action Congress.
He later left the ACN in 2015 after it dawned on him that Oshiomhole was not ready to support his governorship ambition.
Already, supporters of Pastor Ize-Iyamu have taken to the social media to celebrate his planned exit from the PDP and entrance into the APC with the hashtag #POIiscoming.
Sources close to Pastor Ize-Iyamu said he could join the APC to secure the party’s governorship ticket with the support of the Edo Peoples Movement, a pressure group whose aim is to unseat Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Other persons seeking EPM support for APC ticket are General Charles Airhiavbere, Chris Ogiemwonyi and Solomon Edebiri.
Some Edo PDP members, who celebrated planned move of Pastor Ize-Iyamu to the APC, said the party’s plan for next year’s governorship poll does not favour him.
They said the failed plot to remove Chief Dan Orbih as the party’s state chairman before the primaries may have been part of the reason Ize-Iyamu opted to pitch tent with the APC.
In an earlier interview, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said: “If you ask me my political direction I leave it in the hands of God because I’m not in any way desperate for power.
“Everything I do I try to let God direct me. In my political life also I have made it a point of duty to put the people first.”
When contacted on Monday, Ize-Iyamu said he would keep our reporter informed if he makes the decision to defect.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that some EPM members are not happy with the plan to support Ize-Iyamu for the APC ticket.
But the conveners of EPM, Henry Idahagbon, dismissed talks that Pastor Ize-Iyamu has caused a crack within the ranks of the group.
Idahagbon said they would welcome Ize-Iyamu with fanfare because he is an encyclopedia of Edo politics.
Idahagbon urged Governor Obaseki to start packing out of the Edo Government House.
He said: “We are celebrating his coming. He is a founding father of the defunct Action Congress. All the other aspirants are happy with his coming.”
A former Speaker of Edo Assembly, Thomas Okosun, said the EPM are members of the APC and the coming of Ize-Iyamu would not divide them.
Ojo Asein said Governor Obaseki defeated Ize-Iyamu in previous elections and would defeat him again.
He said Obaseki has achieved a lot to earn him a second term ticket.