By Chris Iyare
Embattled Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his team have been
convulsing since the news broke out a fortnight ago that Pastor Osagie
Ize-iyamu is set to return to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a bid
to contest 2020 governorship ticket.
Pastor Ize-iyamu was Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, standard-bearer in the last 2016 governorship election won by Godwin Obaseki. It would be a role reversal since Mr. Obaseki has allegedly perfected plans to move over to the PDP as a result of irreconcilable differences between him (Obaseki) and his estranged godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the National Chairman of APC.
Pastor Ize-iyamu, no doubt, is an enigma of some sort in the politics of the state going by his antecedents as Chief of Staff and Secretary to the State Government under former governor Lucky Igbinedion respectively for 8 years.
Ize-iyamu was a major factor in the Grace Group Movement with “No Man Is God” mantra that metamorphosed into Action Congress (AC); later Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and then into All Progressives Congress (APC). It is on record that Ize-iyamu was the coordinator of ACN’s Constitution Drafting Committee while he was the South South National Vice Chairman of the party.
His exit from the party was instigated by those who felt threatened by his towering personality; political experience, audacity, his tenacity of purpose, fame, his ability to oscillate between the mighty-and-not-mighty
and the respects he earns across the party structure, his clear-headedness and vision for the state in general.
The PDP was virtually an empty shell before 2016 until Pastor Ize-iyamu’s tornadoes resuscitated it to the present dominant level across the state.
The fractures experienced in the last general election was largely caused by the permanent state Chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Obhi who became aggrieved and distanced himself from Pastor Ize-iyamu for convincing Edo delegates to vote for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar against his preferred
candidate, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal in the last presidential election.
Governor Obaseki and his handlers who are already in panic mood over rumoured return of Pastor Ize-iyamu have put mercenaries in place to swipe at the Pastor’s image once he returns to APC. That would be another
political naivety on the part of team Obaseki whose lack of leadership acumen has ripped APC apart. The conventional wisdom is that the fluidity of the nation’s politics is such that takes less premium on cross-platforms activities. Attention is rather paid to individual vintages and clouts.
This is where William Shakespeare’s eternal admonition comes to APC’s rescue in Edo State when he said: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures”.
An Ize-iyamu’s APC candidacy come 2020 would be a balmy; healing pill and a magic wand for the deliberate destruction of the party by Godwin Obaseki’s outlandish; brazen and uncanny leadership style that visibly caused disaffection and disunity amongst the party faithful.
Ize-iyamu should run for the governorship of Edo State on the platform of APC, for two reasons that ought to be dispositive. First, he would be a very good governor, potentially a great one at that. Second, he stands a much better chance of beating Godwin Obaseki than anyone in the current APC candidates hopeful list.
The main question going forward is whether APC are inclined to allow one of their former most organic leaders; a thoroughbred politician by vocation and a lawyer by profession to save them from themselves.