Monday, June 8, 2020

Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu: A matter of grace

The ways of the politician have been well decrypted in the saying, ‘that there are no permanent friends, but permanent interests.’
It is as such not amazing to many that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has become the favoured man by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to replace Mr. Godwin Obaseki as governor of Edo State under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Exactly four years ago, the two men were in opposite camps with Ize-Iyamu as flag bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Oshiomhole was then the chief campaigner for G.O. as the incumbent is popularly hailed by his acquaintances.
The triumph of the Oshiomhole/Obaseki campaign was a particularly significant political milestone in the political history of Edo State.
Obaseki’s succession in 2016 became the first time in the state’s history that one political party was able to hold on to power for three consecutive terms.
It was also the first time that one of the most enduring political actors in the state, that is, Ize-Iyamu was on the losing side in a political battle since the advent of the Fourth Republic.
Ize-Iyamu had managed the 1999 and 2003 campaigns of Lucky Igbinedion. Following that, he also alongside Lucky, packaged Oshiomhole for the 2007 election.
He wasn’t the campaign manager given that he was still in name in the PDP. He, however, delegated the title of campaign manager to his elder cousin, Prof. Omo Omoruyi. However, he pulled the strings for Oshiomhole against his party, PDP in the election.
His tricks against an older political player in the person of Chief Anthony Anenih initially failed with the declaration of Senator Oserheinmen Osunbor as the winner.
However, a year later, both men celebrated Oshiomhole’s judicial affirmation after Osunbor’s rebellion against Anenih triggered overt and subvert political realignments.
In 2012, Ize-Iyamu again emerged as Oshiomhole’s campaign manager and gave him a popular victory in the election.
They subsequently parted after Ize-Iyamu as national vice-chairman, South-South of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN left for the PDP just before the birth of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
As he prepared to retire from politics, Anenih sought to clear his visage of the ‘demons’ that Oshiomhole had unleashed against him. One man he believed would demystify Oshiomhole was Ize-Iyamu.
And so, the stage was set for the epic political battle of 2016 in which degrading words were uttered by Oshiomhole to de-market Ize-Iyamu.
Winning for Obaseki in the consideration of Oshiomhole was by hook or crook. The elections were postponed at the last minute with the claim that terrorists were set to overrun the state!
When the election was eventually held, there were funny tales at the collation centre that night.
Willy-nilly, the result returning Obaseki was confirmed by the tribunals. It projected the ascendancy of the financial expert who Oshiomhole claimed would uplift Edo, a state, he said he did not trust to give Ize-Iyamu a single appointment!
More harsh words were used by Oshiomhole in his desperation to sell his candidate and rubbish the opponent. The extent to which those damaging words worked remains in the imagination of his hearers.
But whatever, those words are already re-echoing ahead of APC primaries as forces seem determined to separate the reunion of the two men.
It is no surprise that both the Obaseki camp and PDP camps are today recycling those Oshiomhole tirades ahead of the possible duel with Ize-Iyamu.
How Ize-Iyamu can reconcile with Oshiomhole or even abide with the APC national chairman in the same room is indeed remarkable.
It was easy for many to rebuke Ize-Iyamu who saw the reconciliation with Oshiomhole as a mark of desperation. It is interesting that the man is yet to publicly speak on whether he is desperate or not.
His move also brings to mind some notable political reunions in the country in recent times with President Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar being about the most notable.
How Oshiomhole also returned to his own ‘vomit’ is another wonder of the Nigerian politician. The gist is that Ize-Iyamu was actually not his first choice in the war to force Obaseki out.
The first choice was reportedly Benin’s richest man who declined and preferred to focus on his business. The gist in some circles is that the wealthy captain proposed Ize-Iyamu with an assurance to finance the deal.
Ize-Iyamu’s days in the PDP had also become difficult. His critics in the party say he wanted an automatic ticket, others allege that differences with the powerful former PDP chairman Dan Orbih made the party hot for him.
Whatever, Oshiomhole’s gesture proved handy.
National figures in the APC were also said to have easily underwritten the deal.
Ize-Iyamu was the leader of the Grace Group, the group within the PDP that in the period leading to the 2007 election worked for the emergence of Oshiomhole as governor on the platform of Action Congress, AC.
That time they were joined by the political philosophy of the Grace Group that chimed “No man is God.”
The demystification of Anenih, enthronement of Anenih, and now political somersault of Oshiomhole may have really proved it that no man is God.
Their reconciliation today is only a reflection of the grace that God has shown to mankind that despite our sins, he can bring us into his banquet hall. That truly is the meaning of grace. For Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu eating together is indeed, truly a matter of grace looking beyond the sins of the past!

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