By Osehobo Victor
Only those who underrate Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s political sagacity since his last public assignment as Secretary to the Edo state government, SSG, are being deceived that he will be a pushover in the coming battle for the Edo All Progressives Congress, APC governorship primaries.Unlike every other aspirants, Ize-Iyamu has explicated his rationale for coming back home to the party he helped to nurture when he was a member of the Merger team of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, which is one of the five legacy parties which coalesced with others, into the APC.
And like he said, he is among those eminently qualified to be governor of Edo state which must naturally begin with getting the party’s nod at the primaries. “There is nothing wrong at all if I want to contest as Edo state Governor…but if my contesting will destroy the party or bring war, of course I can decide not to bother in the interest of my party. However if at the same time I also believe that I can add value and there is a genuine desire for a competitive process I will offer myself”.
Yet its not a do or die desire for POI. This is because he is in politics, “principally to be able to represent our people in the political arena. We are in politics because we see it as an avenue to government and it is only through government that we can attract amenities to our people”.
With his return to the APC, Ize-Iyamu has been trying to sell himself first to the party membership and leaders across board as these are the ones with the responsibility of choosing the APC candidate, at the soon to hold primaries. Ahead of the battle, he has re-oiled his various political machines across the state, in each of the 18 local government councils and the 192 wards to ensure the party deliver him.
There has been so much tension in the state ahead of the primaries and the primaries is basically the reason. And Edo people know for a fact that when the party picks its flagbearer, normalcy with return. However, there are several factors that will give Ize-Iyamu victory. One is the fact that his creditable performance as Chief of staff and Secretary to Edo state government, is yet to be equalled.
In this rare capacity, though he was not in charge of any Ministry or parastatal, and did not have financial authority, or the authority to award contracts in any form, he put his office in the frontline for all and sundry – workers, traditional rulers, students, civil society – to trust in negotiations with government. In addition his office served as the political clearing house of the administration.
Ize-Iyamu thus have an advanced knowledge of government and governance and also understands the true essence of party supremacy. But beyond these credentials, Ize-Iyamu is acclaimed to be a great mobilizer of men and women and a stubborn grassroots politician.
Naturally Ize-Iyamu has many people following him everywhere he goes and his calling as a Preacher, has made him more followers as a fisher of men, that is. His ingenuity as a steadfast politician is evident in his capacity to provide direction and strategy to political campaigns.
Here is a man who believes in party discipline and has extensive experience unifying diverse coalitions with competing interests and turning them into political capital.
Ize-Iyamu has lived a life of honest and faithful commitment to his family values and his Christian faith. Not a few are convinced that such an attitude is an asset, because for them a Man who lives his faith through service and significant politicking, apparently demonstrates great care and compassion as a church leader.
Ize-Iyamu also has the gift of listening to people: elders, leaders and followers alike. This very important quality is key in a person who wants to lead as governor because he needs to be able to consider advice from a wide range of sources on a given subject to make informed decisions.
Meanwhile the name Ize-Iyamu is a household name in Edo state. Born to Chief Robert Osayande Ize-Iyamu, the Esogban of Benin and Mrs. Magdalene Ize-Iyamu (Nee Obasohan) , Ize-Iyamu grew up in the first storey building called Egedege Nokao, built in 1906 by his great grandfather.
The building which still stands today at No. 30, Erie Street, Benin City, is where Osagie was born and raised; a place which his father donated free of charge to serve as Secretariat when the agitation for the creation of Edo State kicked off in the 80s.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is a ready, steady, well-organized and disciplined, persistent, credible and erudite politician. I’m convinced he’s the flagbearer the APC needs to restore public confidence in governance and keep the state within he ruling party.#