Question: Win or lose, what would be your attitude as regards the forthcoming Edo election?
Ize-Iyamu: Let me assure you that, for me, a man who genuinely wants to serve will not be desperate to get the post. I have antagonised some leaders in the past because I needed to stress this point. My purpose in office is very simple.
That is why the last time I contested, many of you knew the circumstances that the result was declared. I allowed the protest because I needed to allow our people to vent out their anger and frustration in a civilised and democratic manner, and I followed them to ensure that there was no destruction.
The moment the Supreme Court made its pronouncement, right in the courtroom, I sent a text message to Governor Obaseki saying ‘congratulations your Excellency’ and he called me and I picked.
And, for three and half years, I refrained from commenting. If he is performing, the Edo people won’t want a change of government. I am not intimidated by the performance of somebody. He can be doing well and the people say he is not a governor enough.
I want to assure you that if I lose the election, the worst that can happen is that I will go to court. There will be no resort to violence. I’ve also told my supporters that please, throughout the campaigns, no matter the provocation, don’t be violent.
I have addressed the press on the destruction of our billboards and they (PDP) also have billboards too. What I find even more worrisome is the violence they sponsored and ascribed to APC. Unfortunately, our security agencies are not ready to reveal the identities of those arrested.
Only yesterday, we were campaigning and they began to shoot and the police decided to do their stop and search. They arrested some while some escaped. Good! But the police did not name the supporters of who they are. Who are they? The police should be able to say it so as to put the party on spot. Are they Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s supporters or PDP? Name them.
READ ALSO: Violence may mar Edo election if Buhari govt fails to take active steps – Amnesty International
I want to use this medium to appeal to the security agencies to please arrest those who are involved in violence.
Question: Looking at what happened to your party in Bayelsa where you lost the court case, won’t such be replicated in Edo?
Answer: Bayelsa has also taught us a lot of lessons. In the past we thoroughly scrutinised the credentials of governorship aspirants and in the last minutes we just changed the deputy governors which may not give enough room for such scrutiny.
But this time, our party insisted that whoever is going to be the deputy governor would also subject his credentials to the same level of scrutiny.
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Question: Some Nigerians have some worries whenever they see pastors and servants of God in politics because of the kind of politics we play in Nigeria. Is your calling still intact?
Answer: The reality is that, who do you want to leave politics to? Are you content with politics being in the hands of the ‘unbelievers’? Are you content with having criminals, wicked men and women in politics? If you are content with that, then you know why government is the way it is.
We have to make a conscious effort to encourage good people, decent people to participate in political processes. Whether you are a pastor, imam, lawyer, or journalists, let us ensure we do our best. Politics is variable in government and the government controls all of us.
Let me assure you that it does not affect my calling, politics is a calling and I see government as a mission field, a place that is in darkness that needs to be cleansed and needs the light of God.
Let me take you back to the book of Proverbs 29 verse 2 which says ‘when the righteous are in authorities, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.’ In that single verse, the scripture makes a good translation between good people and bad people government and politics.
My calling is intact, I’m a very senior pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God. I still preach every Sunday, it has not affected my ministry at all, but government, politics itself is a calling.
Question: You mentioned distraction as the core reason for your loss in the 2016 Edo governorship election, have you identified those things that made you lose. What are they and how have you been addressing them in your campaign?
Answer: Yes, every time we try something that does not work, common sense demands that you reflect through it.