I HAVE taken time to read several times over the reported apology tendered to the people of Edo state by Pastor OsagieIze-Iyamu, a defected member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state, for allegedly being in the vanguard which drafted Comrade Adams Oshiomhole into the gubernatorial race under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state in 2007. A national newspaper had reported penultimate week that the pastor said that “the apology became necessary because the governor had turned the truth upside down’’.
According to the report, OsagieIze-Iyamu asked Edo people to “forgive me for being one of those in the forefront that brought Mr. Oshiomhole to be the governor of the state, We now know who he is.
Therefore, in the coming elections, Edo people should not repeat the mistake of the past’’. He was further reported to have noted: “When I remember how we brought in Oshiomhole to contest the 2007 governorship election, I weep because we brought in a bad thing’’.
I still have not been able to find any substance in the remarks made by OsagieIze-Iyamu save for the continuing penchant of opposition leaders in the state to paint Oshiomhole black.
There is no doubt that all those present at the occasion where OsagieIze-Iyamu allegedly delivered his apology would have sneered at the remarks believing, as I know they do even if privately, that the apology was laughable and utterly misplaced.
There is also no doubt that OsagieIze-Iyamu needs to render copious apologies to Edo people for the almost ten years his party ruled in the state without much to show for it before the fortuitous emergence of Comrade Oshiomhole as governor of the state. It is a well known fact that he was with Chief Lucky Igbinedion as his right-hand man for the eight years he presided over the affairs of our state.
OsagieIze-Iyamu served under Igbinedion variously as Chief of Staff and Secretary to the State Government for those eight years. He it was who is believed to have been the man pulling the strings in the puppet dance by Lucky Igbinedion. Edo people decided, as they did in the governorship election of April 2007, that Edo deserved better governance and democracy dividends than could not be provided by the PDP and voted ACN. If as he claimed, Oshiomhole turned out to be a bad product, should it not be the people apologising to the PDP now for voting it out despite the ‘unparalled infrastructural development’ it wrought on our state?
I submit that OsagieIze-Iyamu, who claims to be a Pastor and who knows the meaning of “NO MAN IS GOD’’, was merely appropriating to himself the gratitude, honour and adoration which rightly belongs to God for giving Edo people Comrade Oshiomhole at a very critical time when poverty and underdevelopment were ravaging the state. Osagie Ize-Iyamu must know that it is only God who gives power, not man. It is God that brought Oshiomhole to redirect Edo state away from its dangerous slide into decay into which Ize-Iyamu as SSG under Lucky Igbinedion plunged the state.
Edo people deserve many apologies from Ize-Iyamu personally and on behalf of his principal, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, as well as the PDP for the many things which they either did wrongly or out-rightly failed to do which wrongs have now been corrected by Comrade Oshiomhole in just six years. Edo people now know the difference between a visionless, purposeless and insensitive government as was under Chief Igbinedion and a visionary, purposeful, sensitive, accountable, transparent and development oriented administration now in place in Edo state under Comrade Oshiomhole.OsagieIze-Iyamu had tried very unsuccessfully in the past to distance himself from Chief Igbinedion in the maladministration that characterised governance in our state under their watch from May 1999 to May 2007. In June 2013, the pastor politician put the blame for the failure of the Lucky Igbinedion administration at the door steps of Igbinedion, claiming that “the crisis within PDP and a godfather led to the failure of the administration’’. According to him, “I was not the most powerful in government then. I was the Chief of Staff and later Secretary to the State Government and I don’t award contracts or was I in charge of any ministry but people misconstrued my simplifying the offices of COS and SSG to a level that created industrial harmony in the state and goodwill for government to mean that I was very influential’’.
Indeed, Ize-Iyamu was influential. If not, how was he, still holding office as SSG under the PDP government headed by Lucky Igbinedion, in the forefront of those who brought Oshiomhole as governorship candidate of a rival party, ACN? Did he look the other way when Lucky Igbinedion was misruling our state? Why should Edo people take him serious now that he wants to be governor of our state? If he would not take responsibility for what took place while serving in the government of Lucky Igbinedion, can he be trusted to take responsibility for his congregation moving away from salvation towards hell for poor leadership?
Edo people deserve apologies from OsagieIze-Iyamu for the many roads the government he ran with Lucky Igbinedion refused to build; the electricity projects it denied our people; for the many communities it left without potable water; for the many dilapidated schools infrastructure and health care centres it neglected or refused to build; for the erosion control project it refused to embark upon; for the urban renewal and beautification it neglected; for the Oba Ovonramen Square it left in a filthy state; for the non-existent transport sector it left behind; for the state treasury put at their disposal for private use and for the fruit juice factory, fertilizer blending plant and cassava processing mill through which state resources were wasted.
In the last six years, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has demonstrated to the satisfaction of Edo people how a state can work. The level of infrastructural development witnessed in the state is quite commendable. Edo people know and are happy and proud that they made the right choice in 2007. The landslide victory of Comrade Oshiomhole in the 2012 governorship election in which he recorded majority votes in the 18 local government areas of the state is an eloquent testimony of the acceptance and support Edo people continue to have for him, his administration and APC.
Ize-Iyamu should be reminded that No man is God!
Mr. Osaretin Omoregie, a public affairs commentator, wrote from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.