One of the contestants for the All Progressives Congress, APC Governorship ticket in Edo State, Gen Charles Airhiavbere rtd. has denied reports that he has stepped down from the race. He spoke earlier today to the News Agency of Nigeria in Benin City, Edo State capital.
The former 2012 People’s Democratic Party Governorship candidate, also dismissed insinuations that he abandoned his ambition due to the rising profile of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who is making a return to APC, after decamping in 2015.
Airhiavbere stressed that Ize-Iyamu had been out of the APC before deciding to return to the party recently.
He added that Ize-Iyamu was merely re-establishing his membership in the APC.
“…We have been here. We started the Edo State People’s Movement, which will be a year older in a few days.
“Pius Odubu, Chris Ogiemwonyi and myself founded the Help Edo Remove Obaseki Coalition. So we believe that anybody coming in is to strengthen the coalition.
“We expect that more aspirants will still come to join the race before the primaries are expected to be conducted between June 2 and June 27.” The retired military officer said.
He revealed that there was an already code that he and his co aspirants subscribed to, “…all the five APC aspirants had agreed to have a consensus candidate.”
The decision of the contenders to settle for a consensus candidate at the end of the day is to reflect the unity of the five aspirants after the primaries.
Airhiavbere pointed out that he was the first of five candidates to declare his interest to challenge the incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki for the APC ticket.
“What we are doing right now is what we call mosquito campaign, trying to make sure that we woo our various groups to ensure that once a candidate appears, we can all work together.
“Nobody wants the experience of what happened in 2015/2016 election through which the present governor emerged.
“This is because many people were angry after spending lots of money.
“We don’t want such situation again. We don’t want acrimony after the primaries and that is why we have decided on a consensus candidate.
“We have agreed that to achieve a unified government and accept the outcome of the primaries, we must present only one candidate and we are working towards it.
“We don’t believe that there is anybody in the field that is doing anything spectacular because we agreed that whatever anybody does, he is doing so on behalf of all of us.’’