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The Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday suspended its former governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, from its activities until further notice.

The party, in a statement by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Chris Nehikhare, said that the temporary suspension was informed by his unwillingness to confirm or refute his rumoured defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

It explained that the suspension remained until he “acknowledges, accepts and addresses the issue of his decamping to APC.”

According to the statement, “In the last few days, the Edo PDP has been inundated with calls and inquiries regarding the stories trending both in print and social media as it concerns one of our leaders, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

“The party leadership has patiently waited to hear or read his reaction to confirm or deny the stories, but to no avail.

“We boast of being a party of men and women of integrity and high moral standing. It is a brand we have earned and wish to maintain.

“As a result of the ‘uneasy quiet’ from our dear Pastor and the impression our silence will send to our teeming supporters and followers, Edo PDP is left with no option but to announce the exclusion of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from all PDP related activities with immediate effect, until he acknowledges, accepts and addresses the issue of his decamping to APC. This decision has been taken without prejudice.”

A close aide of the two-time governorship candidate, however, told our correspondent in confidence that “Ize-Iyamu has moved on in his political career for good.”

The source added that “Ize-Iyamu is a Nigerian who enjoys the freedom of association and is free to make any decision that best suits his political aspirations.”