Credibility crisis hits Ize-Iyamu’s camp as prominent Benin billionaire, other sponsors withdraw funding

Fresh crisis has hit the camp of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19 gubernatorial election in Edo State. 

A reliable source familiar with the crisis, said Ize-Iyamu’s campaign team is battling cash crunch as a prominent Benin billionaire who has been funding his campaign has suddenly developed cold feet on the advice of his associates who are of the view that the Ize-Iyamu’s governorship project is high risk.

The source who pleaded anonymity, said: “To start with, no one is certain about Ize-Iyamu’s candidature. The way he joined the APC and emerged the flagbearer of the party is still being debated among his lawyers and close associates.

“In fact, a close friend of Ize-Iyamu told him that the ticket he has, is but a receipt for a black market transaction that will not survive the scrutiny of the courts even if he wins the election because there are fundamental issues with the way he joined the party and emerged the party’s flagbearer.”

The source continued: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not even sure if Ize-Iyamu is the candidate of the APC. In addition, the APC as you all know, is facing the biggest crisis since its formation and no one is certain of its future. 

“The battle for 2023 has dealt a blow to the party.  We have new cases in court now, we also have the fallouts from Adams Oshiomhole’s removal as national chairman and the cold war between the Fulani elements and the Bola Tinubu’s boys, which is already rocking the foundation of the party.”

He added: “Then as you are aware, there is this fraud case hanging on Ize-Iyamu’s neck. The issues are convoluted and they are affecting our campaign plans.

“Another threat to Ize-Iyamu’s chances is of course, the Governor Godwin Obaseki factor. The Governor seems to have mastered some things in politics which must not be ignored. 

“How he grew overnight from what some people called a paper-weight politician to a godfather slayer, which is what some people now call him, is a big surprise to all of us. Though our people in Ize-Iyamu’s camp will not say this in public, but we know Obaseki is no longer the pushover we used to know some years back. His popularity among Edo people; pensioners, workers, the youths and traders is also a threat to us.

“These are some of the factors that are discouraging our sponsors in Benin and our leader in Lagos from funding Ize-Iyamu’ s campaigns as they had pledged. In particular, our major sponsor in Benin is becoming wary of the Ize-Iyamu project as it has attracted the media’s prying eyes to his businesses.”

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