Less than 24 hours before the All Progressives Congress governorship primary election in Edo State, one of the aspirants, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has quit the race.

In a letter of withdrawal (which was not dated) he sent on Friday to the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Ganduje, and copied the acting state chairman of the party, Jarrett Tenebe, to notify the party of his decision, Ize-Iyamu said the decision was a painful one.

Ize-Iyamu had been one of the top contenders before he quit the race to the surprise of many.

It would have been his fourth attempt at becoming the governor of the state having served as Secretary to the State Government under Governor Lucky Igbinedion.

The letter read, “Few months ago, after extensively interacting with family, friends. political associates, and supporters, I joined the 2024 Edo State gubernatorial race as a result of my passion and commitment to the cause of rescuing Edo State from its current condition of decrepitude.

“I entered the contest as a progressive democrat, with an open mind to keenly contest and accept the result of a process that is fair, credible, and transparent, I| appreciate the commendable effort made by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC to correct the erroneous impression maliciously created by certain persons that some aspirants including myself had been disqualified from the gubernatorial contest.

“The NWC constituted the authentic screening committee and all twelve aspirants who purchased and completed the nomination forms were successfully screened and subsequently issued clearance certificate.  This step was praiseworthy and helped in restoring our integrity in the eyes of the public.”

He added that he had to sacrifice his ambition for the peace and unity of the party

“Having being cleared to contest, I regrettably wish to announce my withdrawal from the race. Although painful, this decision has become imperative after an exhaustive consultation with my family, friends, political associates, and supporters I make this sacrifice in the interest of the peace and unity that the party desperately requires at both state and national levels, I humbly appeal to the good people of Edo State to accept my decision which is very personal and I promise to be there for them at all times.

“Thankfully. I acknowledge the fatherly role of President Bola  Tinubu, as well as the party’s National leadership for their fairness and commitment to the democratic process. Likewise, I remain grateful to the state’s working committee for their principled stand to allow a level playing field for all aspirants.

“I am extremely appreciative to my family, friends, supporters, well-wishers, and the extraordinarily hardworking men and women of our campaign organization who were prepared to stop at nothing to see me fly the party’s flag. I salute your great works, your steadfastness, and your courage.

“Finally, as a loyal party man, I wish to pledge that I and my teeming supporters shall support any candidate that emerges in the primary election held tomorrow on Saturday,” he declared.