By Victor Osehobo
A few years ago, I walked into his House on an invitation and the task was to leave where I was at the time and come join his campaign team. He was certain that the man I was campaigning for or supporting was not going to get the party’s nod as flagbearer. Though initially I was sceptical, I did pack my load few days later to join him.
I believe Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was and is still committed to serving Edo because he loves the state. He talks glowingly about Edo state and believes things can be done differently and even better. Except for a brief moment of doubt about his next move as this year drew near, I have remained with him ever since.
But once you’ve worked or become close with Ize-Iyamu, not for the money, the fact remains, you are certain of the journey he has embarked upon and its destination. There are no corners to cut. The man drives with confidence with his destination sure, and exudes a passion that words cannot describe.
And so as the primary season for Edo2020 hots up, I’ve assessed the aspirants. While many of my friends and colleagues have understandably focused on the impossibility of an incumbent throwing the towel in the face of a dangerous scheme of his own making, I’ve looked through a different lens: Who is most capable of being the best flagbearer at this time for the APC in Edo state.
I’m interested in who has the judgment, temperament and ability to make the many difficult decisions the flagbearer must make to unite the party and win the heart and minds of all and sundry in the party at all levels to trust him with the ticket. Having been close as anyone can be, I’m convinced that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is not only the best the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo can choose right now but also the best election candidate to emerge as Governor for many reasons.
First, he has advanced knowledge of government and governance having been an influential member of the State government from 1999 to 2007, first as chief of staff and later as secretary to the state government. But beyond these formal positions, 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 of the word, made him more followers as a fisher of men, that is. Ize-Iyamu has ingenuity and is a steadfast politician who can provide direction and strategy to political campaigns. Here is a man who believes in party supremacy and discipline and has extensive experience making unifying diverse coalitions with competing interests and turning them into political capital.
Ize-Iyamu has lived a life of faithful commitment to his family and his church. Not a few are convinced that such consistency 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. This tells me that his supporters including myself, will not be moved by smear campaigns against him because he serves something greater than himself.
Finally, the No. 1 issue is the Ize-Iyamu specified rationale for being in politics. Here is a man who is in politics principally to be able to represent the people in the political arena. For him politics is an avenue to government and it is only through government that social amenities can be delivered to the people, who pay the taxes that oils the wheel of government. Everyone knows that it takes those in government to decide on where government resources will be channelled to.
He has a leadership quality of listening to people: elders, leaders and followers alike! Those who know Ize-Iyamu well can tell that he’s a good listener — a very important quality in a person who wants to lead as governor. He needs to be able to consider advice from a wide range of sources on a given subject to make informed decisions.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has been steady, well-organized and disciplined throughout his political life. I’m convinced he’s the flagbearer Edo state APC needs to restore popular confidence in the ruling party to retain the state.