BY YUSUF OSAGIE
Edo State, the only APC state in the whole of South-South Nigeria, is at a precarious precipice as we move closer to the September 2020 Governorship election.
The recent disqualification of Godwin Obaseki by the APC screening committee no doubt has pushed him to a tipping point. Should Obaseki dump APC as widely speculated, APC would have lost Edo State to another party. This first loss may not be as fatal and painful as the imminent one that looms should Osagie Ize-Iyamu become the APC candidate.
It has become incandescently clear that the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole prefers Osagie Ize-Iyamu for reasons not known to others but him alone. Recall this same Osagie Ize-Iyamu was the same person Adams Oshiomhole vigorously campaigned against in 2016, calling a fake pastor and a cultist who caused permanent disability to a fellow student in his undergraduate days in at the University of Benin.
This man lost the election because nearly all the horrible attributes ascribed to him by Adams Oshiomhole were verified to be accurate and the people took judicial notice of them and punished him with their votes.
This attempt by Adams Oshiomhole to turn around to force the same Osagie Ize-Iyamu on Edo people is not only a misadventure to his person but also very dangerous for APC. Osagie Ize-Iyamu is currently standing a criminal trial for N700 million fraud in a case preferred against him by EFCC with suit number (FHC/BBC/2018).
It should be embarrassing to Adams Oshiomhole that this is the best man he can find to govern Edo State in this critical point of our existence. It, therefore, means he doesn’t mean well for the Edo people. This may as well define his character, can two walk together except they agree? This choice negates the hallowed principle of morality, best judgment and good conscience.
What does Oshiomhole take Edo people for? A man you so de-marketed irreversibly in 2016 suddenly became the saint you honour with the patrimony of Edo people. Oshiomhole may need to find out from the streets of Edo what the people feel and say about him and his preferred candidate.
Beyond the EFCC case mentioned above, there are several other cases against Osagie Ize-Iyamu bothering on his eligibility and the much talked about waiver. The most anticipated being the one (HAB/05/1/2) scheduled for June 17th 2020. Should the court restrain or stop Osagie Ize-Iyamu before or after been gifted the APC ticket; APC could just be embargoed. We must be mindful of section 35 of the 2010 electoral act as amended; it states clearly when and how the substitution of a candidate can be done.
Is it that the only lessons learned from Bayelsa, Zamfara, and Rivers are that which can be used to witch-hunt adversaries? Elections are time-bound processes, and once you act outside the window, it amounts to asphyxia which leads to irreversible electoral morbidity.
The earlier Comrade Oshiomhole starts to think of how to extricate himself from this dangerous web of Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his piper the better for him and the party. That Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s candidacy is fraught with intolerable legal wrinkles is an understatement, only time will delay the dire ramifications of this attribute.
The perception of the voting public cannot be ignored going forward. They are asking already how you replace Godwin Obaseki with Osagie Ize-Iyamu who lost an election to him less than four years ago. The people are wondering and questioning the sincerity of APC to fight corruption and deliver on the change mantra when they turn around and seek to enthrone corruption with fellows who are not only indicted but standing criminal trials.
What kind of change should we expect in a situation where a man with multiple court cases is preferred to a governor who has delivered to his people except that he failed to give to the powers that be? It is clear that Adams Oshiomhole has placed his interest above that of the people, and this is unfortunate.
By any estimation, if any reason does exist why Godwin Obaseki should be replaced, Osagie Ize-Iyamu is the most unworthy fellow to replace him. This is a sure verdict that will be passed on Edo APC come Sept. 19th 2020 should Osagie Ize-Iyamu slipped through the cracks as desired by those who are hell-bent on hoisting him on Edo people.
For APC to retain Edo state, a candidate better than Obaseki must be the standard-bearer of the party. It will be absurd to bring in a man who is believed by many to be of a more questionable character as a replacement. This certainly will amount to self-immolation. This pending hara-kiri can only be avoided if Osagie Ize-Iyamu is avoided like the plague.