Ahead of the September 10 governorship election in Edo state, war of words appear to be causing a crack in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family, as some of its aspirants are fighting dirty over who is qualified to fly the party’s flag in the election.
It is pertinent to recall that in their determination to dethrone the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, all aspirants of the party had pledged to stick together and work as one family, no matter who emerged as the party’s flag bearer.
But indications that things are beginning to fall apart in the party emerged on Monday when one of the aspirants, Osaro Onaiwu, called on the leadership of the party to call another aspirant, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to order over an alleged denigrating statement he made against other aspirants, describing the statement as “unacceptable.”
Onaiwu who was the Director-General of PDP Governors’ Forum, said: “Ize-Iyamu said and we have him on tape, that he is the only one criticizing Oshiomhole, that none of us is doing that. Secondly, that he was the only one that gave N100,000 each to 192 wards during the elections and thirdly, that he is the only person that has the capacity to fight APC and that other aspirants don’t have what it takes.
“But let me remind him: He said he has structures more than three of us, during the last elections, I am from the two Ovia, we were able to deliver the two constituencies for Omosede Igbinedion to win the House of Representatives election. Mathew Iduoriyekemwen is from Ikpoba Okha, he was able to deliver EJ Agbonayinma as a House of Reps member today.
“Solomon Edebiri is from Uhumwonde, he delivered Uhumwonde votes. Pastor Ize-Iyamu is from Orhiomwon and our candidate, Larry Ogieva, lost the House of Representatives election. He could not deliver Larry in Orhiomwon. Urhoghide who is a Senator today in Edo South, went to the court because of Oriomnwon votes. So if he says he is the one who can win elections, he should have delivered Orhionmwon for PDP.
“Also, don’t forget he is the only aspirant among the four of us who has changed his local government twice. He was operating in Oredo [but] has now moved to Orhionmwon. Is that the kind of person you want us to trust.
“They destroyed PDP in this state but we are trying to build it back. No matter the differences you had in the party you ganged up against it and you are proud to say that you formed the Grace Group to destroy PDP and today you said you want PDP governorship ticket.
“You are proud to say that the leadership of the party at that time de-registered you and you went to form ACN, why did you not remain in the ACN that you formed? Why did you not remain with Oshiomhole that you are criticizing? Was it that Oshiomhole was not doing well when you left him? If there are issues with Oshiomhole, go and sort it out and leave the party out of it. Don’t create an impression that you are the only one that can fight APC, we are not going to war and no individual has an exclusive right to violence.
Onaiwu then urged party leaders to call him to order. “The party leadership in Edo state should advise him to campaign about what he wants to do for the people and not destroying other aspirants. He lacks the credibility to think he will lead us to victory. He is creating an impression that he is the only one that can fight Oshiomhole. Running me down, running Iduoriyekenwem and Edebiri down is unacceptable. The party leadership should talk to him. I just pity the party and I expect the party leadership to call him to order.”
But in a swift reaction, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said he still stands by the bond of the PDP aspirants, adding that, they are one and that whoever gets the ticket will have their support.
“I never castigated anybody. I have always mentioned what I did for the party at fora where I speak. I never mentioned any aspirant’s name.
“If a man is talking about how he gave money, how is that an offence? I have a right to talk about my contribution to the party. Onaiwu has been talking about how he was DG to Governors’ Forum and what he did, I never reacted to it.
“How I left PDP and came back is in the public domain stand. I stand by our bond and I will never run any aspirant down,” Ize-Iyamu said.