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. 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. Then came the epic political battle of 2016 which saw degrading words being uttered by Oshiomhole to de-market Ize-Iyamu.
When the election was eventually held, there were funny tales at the collation centre that night. The results 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 former APC national chairman in the same room is indeed remarkable!
In 2018, a petition was raised against Adams Oshiomhole. The petition raised several issues bordering on allegations of fraudulent practices, misappropriations, financial misapplication, and embezzlement through contract splitting and outright racketeering. Authors of the petition, Comrade Kola Edokpayi of the Talakawa’s parliament, and Bishop Dr. Osadolor Ochei, J.P of the Achievers Organisation who are renowned “Rights Activists” in the state, were pushing their self-imposed course under the aegis of the ‘Group of Concerned Edo NGOs and Stakeholders’.
The petitioners said they were compelled to act because they believe that the people have not only been short-changed through fraudulent means but also that their commonwealth has been frittered away by an administration led by a pretentious “Comrade” Governor.” Throughout his eight-year tenure, the Governor claimed to be judiciously spending the taxpayers’ money for the people’s welfare, but he was doing anything but this.
According to the Debt Management Office, Edo state Government is the third-highest indebted state in Nigeria and a significant part of the borrowed funds were diverted by the Governor to his private use and those of his cronies.
In Oshiomhole’s eight-year tenure, he obviously plundered the resources of the state and diverted billions of the state’s revenue to his personal account using proxies.
In the face of the current biting recession in Nigeria, Oshiomhole used government funds for his lavish wedding. Furthermore, the former Governor spent the peoples’ money on chartered flights, which were excessive and hypocritical in an administration that claimed to be prudent in the management of the resources of the state. Oshiomhole’s chartered flights amounted to ₦5 billion.
There was more too, Oshiomhole also built a sprawling mansion worth more than ₦10 billion in his home town, Iyanho, in the Auchi axis of the state which was constructed by Verissimo, a South African architectural concern.