Abuja and Benin City — The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is mounting pressure on its candidate in last Saturday's governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to accept his defeat by Governor Godwin Obaseki, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), THISDAY learnt last night.
Ize-Iyamu was met yesterday in Abuja by APC Chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, and his Kogi State counterpart, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
THISDAY gathered that the closed-door meeting with Ize-Iyamu took place at the Abuja residence of Buni.
Following the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari and the party leadership to congratulate Obaseki, it was gathered that the leadership of the party is persuading Ize-Iyamu to accept in good faith the outcome of the election.
The meeting was the first public outing of Ize-Iyamu since he lost the governorship election.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not disclosed, a source privy to the meeting said it was part of the efforts to persuade Ize-Iyamu to accept the outcome of the election.
The meeting also reportedly discussed the way forward for Ize-Iyamu.
APC leadership had through a statement signed by Buni congratulated Obaseki.
It said: "September 19, 2020, Edo State governorship election is over, the winner has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the person of Mr. Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). We hereby congratulate the winner of the election, the people of Edo State and all Nigerians.
The peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represent a victory for Nigeria's democracy."
Buhari had also congratulated Edo State governor for his victory in the governorship election and charged him to be magnanimous in victory.
Oshiomhole: Life Goes On
In a related development, APC former National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday spoke for the first time since the defeat of candidate, Ize-Iyamu, saying he's not down and that life goes on.
The former national chairman was a major actor during the gubernatorial poll.
In a viral video, Oshiomhole, who emerged from what appeared to be a gym, where he had gone for his physical fitness exercises, stated that contrary to the belief by certain persons that the loss at the poll had made him downcast, he said he was still up and well.
In a 107-second video posted by Gee TV, the former governor of Edo State urged his supporters not to lose faith in Nigeria, noting that his faith in God remains unshaken.
He added that no matter the outcome of the election, the country must continue to strengthen the democratic process, saying everyone must work to make the country great.
He said: "In life, there's a super-highway; you work hard and leave the outcome to God. You continue to do your best and trust God to bless your efforts. I feel good and I feel healthy. I thank God, I feel strong.
"In life, you win some and lose some, but life goes on. I want to thank everybody. I am sure a lot of people are saying comrade is down. No, I am not down. Once God says you are not down, you are not down and I am not down."
Oshiomhole lauded Edo people for their perseverance in the rain and in the sun during the hectic campaigns, saying he was inspired by the actions of both his young and old supporters.
He added: "I thank the Edo people for all they did over the past two, three, four, six weeks, under the rain and under the sun - young ladies carrying babies on their backs.
"I saw elderly women struggling to see my small face and on election day. I was moved to tears when I saw women of 70, 75 years sitting down because the card readers were not working and they were not frustrated. It hit me that if at their age you don't give up, why should I give up.
"I ask our people to have faith in our country because we don't have another country. I have only one passport. I am not going to apply for any other passport. This is our country, we must make it great.
"We must strengthen democracy, we must improve on it, no matter the outcome of an election or a particular edition of a process, have faith in God and have faith in our country."
Edo APC Rejects Obaseki's Olive Branch
Meanwhile, Edo State Governorship Campaign Council of the All Progressives (APC) has rejected the olive branch extended to the governorship candidate of the party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, by Governor Godwin Obaseki, describing the gesture as a tricky one aimed at deceiving the people that he is a democrat.
The party, in a statement issued yesterday by its Media Manager in the state, Mr. John Mayaki, further noted that it was cynical for the governor to extend an olive branch for collaboration.
"It is cynical for the governor to extend the 'olive branch'- for so the press terms it - to APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, by talking about collaborations. The APC candidate is not a trickster. There is no point collaborating with ill-gotten mandates," it said.
"When Obaseki talks about collaboration, he must be asked: collaboration with whom? And on what? A man who goes on like character means nothing and integrity is puff? A man who has no known campaign manifestos? The MEGA agenda is full of rhetoric that no one can work with - neither a printed copy was available during electioneering.
"It would be impossible for any responsible party or person to collaborate with an Obaseki that employs sectarian slogans and tactics to mobilise its followers. What Obaseki needs to do now is to seek atonement - the blood of the three persons killed during the election, the man whose wife was beaten to stupor by his thugs in Egor, and the people kidnapped by thugs imported from Delta and Rivers states.
"Obaseki should apologise to the House of Assembly members he denied representation and desecrated their hallowed chamber by invading it and pulling it down, by parking granite trucks to block their entrances and by forcing his will upon them. There are no guarantees that the glib governor will keep his word. He has not been known to show responsibility. Those in the educational, health and entertainment sectors can testify," it explained.
APC alleged that Obaseki was spoon-fed to victory by his Rivers State counterpart, Chief Nyesom Wike, at the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
The party also noted that since the victory, Obaseki has been more vocal and less busy by not turning down interviews on grounds of having 'an important meeting.'
The party noted that after disrespecting ARISE NEWS Channel by not honouring the governorship debate, Obaseki was too happy to honour the interview when he was invited for another interview by the news channel.
APC alleged: "He cannot be begrudged if, intoxicated by his recent electoral coup, he is keen to preach on every pulpit that beckons. He, however, must talk with caution and not chatter like a man given to all the prolixity of a canary.
"On his most recent outing, he displayed a most excellent species of motor-mouthed pontification, perhaps a product of his recent tutelage under his newfound mentor, the governor of Rivers State, and opined that Nigeria's democracy is threatened by APC chieftains such as Chief Bola Tinubu and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole."