By Emmanuel Adigwe
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to avoid the pitfalls that affected the party’s victory in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa States in the 2019 elections.
Buhari also called on the party leaders and campaign team to do all that is necessary by following legal and constitutional means to win the election.
The president gave the charge when he received the Edo State governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu alongside Gov. Mai mala Buni of Yobe, who is the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC.
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, who doubles as the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and the APC Campaign Chairman for Edo State elections, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje also accompanied the APC candidate to the villa.
With the resolution of the “acute crisis’’ in the party in Edo, Buhari said that he was optimistic that the party would regain its pride of place in winning elections and serving the people.
The President urged party leaders at the national and state levels to follow the electoral process in an open and transparent manner.
He said: “What I want is a transparent process so that the confidence of the people will be strengthened.”
The president congratulated Ize-Iyamu on his emergence as the party’s candidate in Edo after a “turbulent process’’, assuring him of full support.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the party’s caretaker committee, who presented the candidate, told the President that “Pastor Ize-Iyamu is a seasoned grassroots politician, who is loved by his people’’.
Bagudu noted that President Buhari’s blessings on the candidate further validates the party’s confidence.
He added that all the APC governors were fully behind the candidature of Pastor Ize-Iyamu.
The party’s campaign chairman for Edo’s election, Gov. Ganduje, said that in line with its principles, APC would lead a clean campaign, devoid of acrimony, hatred and violence.
Ganduje noted the campaign had started on a good and happy note, with the APC already taking over the state legislature with a majority of 17 out of 24.
In his response, Ize-Iyamu assured the President of his commitment to ensuring good governance in the state if elected in the September election.
He recalled that he served as Deputy Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the APC at its formation.
Ize-Iyamu said he was glad to return to the APC, describing his initial exit as that of a “prodigal son’’.
The APC candidate thanked the President for the warm and fatherly reception, saying he was honoured to receive the party’s flag from the President.
Ize-Iyamu later told State House correspondents that he was fully in charge of his campaign as a popular candidate, who served the state as her Chief of Staff and Secretary to State Government in previous administrations.
He said that former APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had already explained that his initial unfriendly comments during the 2016 campaigns were purely political aimed at giving another candidate an edge in the elections.