By Dr. Felix Shaba
The just concluded election between Obaseki and Ize Iyamu could be compared to the story of Jacob and Esau in the Bible. For the sake of those who are not conversant with the story, Esau was the first son of Isaac and it was his birth right to ascend the throne of his forefather’s dynasty, but he sold that to Jacob, his younger brother, for a pot of porridge. He didn’t even know the implication of his deeds until it was time for Isaac to pronounce his last blessings on the heir!
Those who have been following the trend of the election in Edo State will agree with me that the battle for the heart of Edo was not primarily for the love of the people. Yes, it was to score political point; a battle between a ‘godfather’ and a ‘rebelled son’. In order for the godfather to ‘teach’ his ‘son’ a lesson, he decided to chase him out of the ‘house’ and adopted a ‘bastard son’ he denounced 4 years ago.
Ize Iyamu lost Edo election, not because he was not popular but because he took a wrong counsel and agreed to join the camp of Oshiomhole in order to spite Obaseki. The very day both Oshiomhole and Ize Iyamu shook hands and agreed to work together was the day Ize sold his birth right to Obaseki!
Looking back at the 2016 election in the state, Obaseki won the 2016 election by polling 319,483 votes with the full backing of Oshiomhole; while Ize Iyamu had 253,173, a difference of 66,310.
Ize Iyamu failed to capitalise on the crisis in APC. He was clouded by his desperation to rule Edo state and rather than critically examining the bait Oshiomhole was dangling at him, he ended up becoming the victim of the crisis, rather than the beneficiary. Instead of leaving Oshiomhole and Obaseki to continue their fight and patiently wait to pick up the ‘juicy meat’ they were fighting for, he decided to join hands with Oshiomhole, whose political influence was fast depleting, thereby losing his focus and in the process got drowned with Oshiomhole.
Naturally, PDP (no matter who they presented) was in the best position to win the election. Even if Obaseki had won the APC primaries, people like Oshiomhole would have worked against him and there was a possibility that he could have lost the election.
Ize Iyamu was supposed to feast on the division between Oshiomhole and Obaseki by distancing himself from the two ‘warriors’, which would have worked to his advantage. The rancour between Oshiomhole and Obaseki would have been a replay of what happened in Lagos in 1991 gubernatorial election. The internal conflict between Jakande’s Awoist Group and Dapo Sarumi’s PRIMROSE Group culminated in SDP losing the 1991 gubernatorial election to Sir Michael Otedola of NRC.
The people of Edo state showed their anger over Iyamu’s decision to be used by Oshiomhole to redeem his fading political image. Oshiomhole knew he would fall and didn’t want to go down alone; he saw the election as his last hope of saving his image and he fought dirty during the election. But the people of Edo state could not forget easily what the same Oshiomhole said about Ize Iyamu four years ago and the injustice against Obaseki during the APC primaries.
The ‘national broadcast’ made by the “leader of all progressives in Nigeria”, Bola Tinubu, was the final straw that broke Ize Iyamu’s back. ‘Edo no be Lagos’.
Whoever thinks Edo people lack political awareness should rethink. An average Edo woman understands pidgin English!
In order to redeem his image, it will be ideal for Ize Iyamu to accept his fate like Esau, reconcile with Obaseki and work for the development of Edo State. He also needs to distance himself from Oshiomhole. They parted ways four years ago and he could now see the bad luck Oshiomhole brought to him.
While Oshiomhole and his party will want to play ‘the election was rigged game’ and seek legal redress (which they have the right to do), Ize Iyamu should not join them in that senseless game. Oshiomhole knows his time is up, he knows it is time for him to retire from active politics; he that is down needs fear no fall!
Now that the election is over, Obaseki should reconcile ALL factions, irrespective of political differences, in order to move Edo State forward.
Edo State is the heartbeat of Nigeria; Edo state is greater than an individual, we must join hands to bring total growth and development to the state. The poor masses have had enough, it is time to put smiles on their faces.
*Felix Shaba (PhD) is from Ososo, Edo State. He is a Researcher and women
empowerment advocate. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org