The Nigerian political parties are one big company with different departments. This is the reason why it is very easy for politicians to move from one party to another. However there are some departments within the company that you can’t return to if you had an issue with the head of the department and he or she is still there. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu made a great mistake going back to the All Peoples Congress (APC). While in a Company, there can be forgiveness; in politics forgiveness is a very scarce commodity.
In 2016, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu a.k.a POI under the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP) contested against re-elected Governor Godwin Obaseki neck to neck. He was a grassroots politician who knew more about the game than his opponent. POI moved from APC to PDP when he had issues with Adams Oshiomole, the former national chairman of the APC. POI was the campaign manager for the former governor and was with him all through the struggles to the state house. POI helped to revive an almost dead PDP in the state. He was able to rebuild PDP.
And despite all the insults, accusations and forces he still held sway. He was popular and gave the APC a good run for their money. When Oshiomole started having issues with Obaseki who was against the politics of godfatherism, POI left a party where he had a stronghold and defected to APC after reconciling with the same man who called him all kinds of names. Oshiomole had assured him that he was going to get the APC ticket. When Oshiomole tried to replicate what had happened in Lagos state through disqualification of Obaseki from the primaries, it backfired. Obaseki had no other option but to move to the vacant position created by POI in the PDP.
It was a bad switch for POI. If he had remained in the PDP where he had a stronghold, Obaskei would have nowhere to go as PDP was a strong party. His best bet would have been to Labour Party (LP). He would have used the opportunity of the problem in APC to expand his territory. The election would have been in his favor because there would have been mass defection to PDP and any party that Obaseki would have settled for. Nobody would want to remain in a sinking ship.
Another mistake POI was poor consultation and advice from the right people. He made trusted the former APC chairman Adams Oshiomole to give him the position of governor in Edo state. He forgot that Edo State was not Lagos State. He believed so much in Oshiomole’s federal might but forgot that the Edo people loved Obaseki so much for his transformation of the state and his numerous achievements. Oshiomole already had lots of enemies of which POI was one of them.
They were willing to fight for their governor. If POI had consulted the right people and did his political calculations well, he would have seen the handwriting on the wall that he would lost. He would have been told that the Esan people were not ready to wait for another eight years for the governorship position to come to them. In 2024, the position will go to the Esan group.
POI allowed himself to be dragged into the bed of the enemies. He later realized it during his campaign when even the APC stalwarts refused to follow him to certain parts of the state. APC as a party had those waiting on the queue to replace Obaseki should things go wrong. POI’s emergence as the flag bearer did not go down well with some party members which resulted in defection with Obaseki to PDP. PDP had more to gain because Obaseki was the incumbent governor and stood a chance to be re-elected.
Obaseki’s re-election was not a party structure thing but that of his good achievements. He was loved and his works spoke for him. The people did not look at the party but the man at the helm of the affairs. Former Governor of Lagos State Akinwunmi Ambode was in the same position like Obaseki but he could not take the bold step to fight for his place.
Will what have happened in Edo State change the face of politics in Nigeria?
Photo credit: Leadershipng