Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu: the great expectation of symphony in governance


FREEPRESS – Politics and governance is seen and practiced in Nigeria as an all-comers game. More often than not Misfits get into exalted political offices that they are hardly qualified or prepared for; hence, the pitiable situation described as directionless ”directionlessness” by Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon a.k.a Igodomigodo. Indeed, Bad, ill or poorly prepared leadership sits at the root of  our country’s  backwardness, underdevelopment and maladministration even as we remain the world’s envy in human or natural endowment. The quality of leadership churned out in succeeding elections have made not a few to wish for re-colonization by Europe or some other global powers that be. Democracy affords the people the right to choose their leaders but the Nigerian experience has been most unsavoury owing to the fact earlier identified that those without valid political antecedent get through to power either by omission or commission whilst the prospects of bright future remains bleak.   In retrospect, however the leadership provided by Nationalists like Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi  Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Anthony Enahoro, or younger generation leaders of the 2nd Republic like Ambrose Folorunsho Alli, Bola Ige, Balarabe Musa, Lateef Jakande, to mention but a few, erodes the impression that we are incapable of producing good or visionary leadership. Incessant military incursion into Nigerian governance appeared not to have helped the nurturing or multiplication of this tribe of purposeful leaders. Regrettably, in 1999, when again there was a return to civil governance, majority of those who came through the hurried election or found themselves in public offices were largely neophytes in leadership and governance. Most appropriately, they could be described as accidents of history or premature political ejaculations. Notwithstanding that, it is not the concern here to dwell on the processes that led to the emergence of some of these persons but we cannot forget such unsettling ripples of a pioneer speaker of the House of Representatives who was forced to resign, the ”Okija” oath taking saga in Anambra State and others manifest opprobrium of that time too numerous to enumerate here. Essentially, the fore-going is to drive-home the point that many are today political office holders who have no business with the act  of governance except that the contradictions in the polity threw them up.

There is a world of difference between being in politics and being a politician just as it is correct that it is not every person who works in an hospital that is a medical Doctor neither does the fact of a person working as a judicial staff makes him or her a Lawyer. With due respect, none of the successive Governors of Edo State since 1999 qualifies in my humble opinion as a politician. Chief Lucky .N. Igbinedion is ordinarily himself , a businessman and the eldest son of a successful businessman. Professor Osariemen Osunbor belongs to the academic world whilst Cmr. Oshiomhole is supposedly a labour unionist. Their voyage into politics and political office was rather fortuitous and opportunistic.
 Just like you will find persons qualifying in a profession or vocation so it is with politics; The point has been made earlier that not every persons who occupies elective or appointive political office should be viewed as a politician. A politician loves the people and lives amongst them. The people’s welfare and happiness stand uppermost in his consideration. A politician loves his society and would do everything to make provisions for the elevation of his society. I have earlier given copious examples of Nigerians who were/are distinguished politician. Amongst them I wish to refer yet again to Chief Obafemi Awolowo as an example of a good politician.
 Awo, as he was fondly called,  was a politician per excellence.
 He was an empire builder.
  Awo’s programmes in politics can be found encapsulated in all of the categories or attributes outlined above. Awo as a politician loved the people so much that all through his time, his politics was defined by the people’s welfare. Awo would not put a cost or burden on education instead, he gave the people access to knowledge free of charge.
 Awo gave qualitative and accessible health to the people. Awo gave water via industrial/Urban water projects to different Communities e.g Urhonigbe. Awo built roads without engaging in propaganda. Awo gave his all to sustainable revenue for the State thence he established farms and development boards for such cash crops as cocoa and rubber. It is equally to his credit that once world famous Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation was established.
 Awo loved politics and gave it all his best. He was ready to pay the supreme sacrifice for politics. He was a man of enormous faith and belief in humanity. He was relentless in organizing and building people and political movements. I never met Awo in person but his foot prints in politics remain indelible. One of such disciple of Awo was Ambrose Alli of blessed memory. I also felt Awo politics through Alli’s  welfarist Government.
 Against the millieu of  prevailing civil governance there are indeed certain individuals that have shown outstanding commitment as well as competence as managers of men and resources. Persons with passion and requisite attributes for political leadership. The kind you would aptly describe as a ‘born leader’. Such is the mould in which Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu or POI as he is now fondly called,  is formed. He is currently the Gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Edo State Governorship election, which has been fixed for 10th September, 2016.  His closest rival is Mr. Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who is being sold as a technocrat. With profound respect to every technocrat, I am of the firm conviction that within the context of the foregoing reasoning, a technocrat strictly so called,  might just be good enough as a hired hand or an employee for a defined task and not an overseer, which is a State Governor. Therefore Obaseki really is not a man with  any political clout, credential or credit and would as a matter of fact never have come anywhere close to a governorship contest in Edo state or elsewhere but for the stubborn undertaking by the incumbent Governor, AAE Oshiomhole to foist him on the electorates. Upon the sudden realization that the Edo electorates having come of age, would settle for nothing less than a tested politician like POI, Oshiomhole has boasted that the PDP and her Candidate could win the election over his dead body. Although the Governor is notorious for his garrulity, his boast this time around cannot be seen as a mere threat considering that he literarily rode  Obaseki roughshod over other aspirants of the APC, including a sitting Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu, to become the flagbearer of his party. It is equally not in doubt that the primary election which threw up Obaseki was a record breaker in terms of the staggering amount with which the vote of each delegate to that exercise was purchased. There are already clear indications that APC and Oshiomhole would empty the state treasury to buy the votes.
 Obviously, these are desperation  suggesting that POI  do not in a real sense of the word have an opponent in this election.
 POI is a politician in politics and the end of the search for a productive leadership in the governance of Edo state.
 Ardent watchers of Edo politics would readily admit that POI has been long coming as a politician but this is the first time he is seeking election into public office. He would himself tell you that his interest in politics started at home as a growing child under his father, the late Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief R.I. IZE-IYAMU. Ever after he has in a matter of speaking soaked himself in the politics of his environment. His involvement has seen him playing pivotal roles in the election and enthronement of the only two (2) substantive Governors, of Edo State since 1999 and he worked closely with both of them-Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion and Cmr AAE Oshiomhole.
 POI’s political background resonates a man whose reign would be momentous.
He is a fit and proper person for the top job now. As a seasoned politician and tested administrator,  he would be a the right peg for the right hole; round or square!  If the question is leadership,  the answer definitely is POI. The man whom the cap fits.
A critical consideration of the profile and personalities of the three (3) persons who have so far since, 1999 sat as Governors of Edo State, and even as between him and Obaseki would reveal that POI  amongst them, is the real and actual politician-political leader. This is the crux of this script and as well as how it should influence the outcome of the forth-coming election.
 In my own political sojourn, I have met many persons in politics but none, presently except perhaps Chief Tony Anenih has shown so much passion and commitment to politics in the manner of Awo as POI.
 POI safely pass as a politician of great organizational ability. He has been untiring at making sacrifices for the advancement of his political beliefs. Many have ascended to political positions on account of his sheer doggedness and selflessness. Today he stands himself to be elected as Governor. It is the first time Edo people would have a thorough-bred politician and leader as a Governor. I sense that his reign indeed would be momentous. It would be an era that Edo people would live to relish for a long time. So far he’s been described by no less personalities as  Tony Iredia, Mike Ononomeme, MIke Oghiadomhe, Yisa Braimoh amongst a host of others as a quintessential politician and unarguably the most prepared not only for the ephemeral ego trip of electoral victory but more importantly for the more enduring legacy of succeeding at governance. It is on the latter that the experience and passion of the politician would avail him.  Little wonder therefore that he alone has come up with a document titled the SIMPLE AGENDA embodying his intentions, programmers and aspiration for Edo state when voted as Governor. Anything short of POI as governor would be another long-drawn regrettable period of experimentation as the one we now suffer under a little known self acclaimed labour unionists. God forbid!
Edo state is at a cross road and some insist we should pretend as if all is well. We cannot pretend when children go to schools without teachers and retire to bed without food, We cannot pretend when we have a leadership that has stockpile so much of our resources to do battle with the people whilst salaries are unpaid. Indeed, we cannot pretend when hospitals and health care centers do not have adequate man power, medicine and equipment,  yet the Governor and his party indulge in unbridled profligacy particularly in the manner they have produced and displayed very expensive posters of their candidates in a state where many go to bed without food. Surely Edo people will not feign happiness when they are suffering and they are set to Change the Change!
Politician lawyer and former member of Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA), Representing Orhionmwon South Constituency
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