The relationships between a faction of the Edo State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his godfather, Lucky Igbinedion has become strained over what the former perceived as unguarded comments by the latter, which could jeopardise his ambition.
Igbinedion, a former governor who later made a plea bargain deal with a court after admitting stealing state funds, had said his family decides who becomes the governor of Edo state.
The comments by the former governor at his father’s 82nd birthday party in Benin City on September 11, 2016 was widely interpreted as validating the concerns of those that fear Ize-Iyamu was running for office to continue the corruption and misrule that was the hallmark of the Lucky Igbinedion era.
A source confided in our correspondence that Ize-Iyamu told Lucky Igbinedion at a meeting in GRA about his displeasure at the comment because of the risks it poses to his electability but was sharply rebuked by his benefactor for shying away from the truth.
“POI (Ize-Iyamu) was visibly agitated and angry during the meeting after the birthday party and kept mentioning how to do damage control. He told Lucky (Igbinedion) that he should have left out the part about his family’s influence until after the elections.
“Pastor even went on to remind him about the decision not to associate him with the campaign simply because of the negative impact his history would have on the PDP’s chances. But Lucky was not moved one bit as he continued to tell Pastor that the clout of his family cannot be wished away.
Continuing, the source said, “Lucky even went as far as asking him if he was already trying to break away from the Igbinedion family before he was properly installed as governor and that if this is the way he will show gratitude after winning the election by being his own man against the Igbinedion dynasty.
“The two of them were beginning to raise their voices when Pastor decided to leave citing another scheduled meeting with stakeholders as the reason for his departure. But it was clear he cut short the argument to prevent a bad outcome,” the source who pleaded anonymity due to the sensitivity and confidentiality of the meeting revealed.
Ize-Iyamu’s campaign had largely distanced itself from the convicted former governor even though he is often forced to refer back to the now infamous eight year rule of the government to which he served as Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and was largely regarded as the one in charge since the then governor was mostly away on trips.
It would be recalled that Igbinedion paid a paltry N3.5 million fine for defrauding the state a humongous N25 billion after he entered a plea bargain with a Federal High Court in Enugu.