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Of Obaseki And Barrabas: Why Ize-Iyamu Remains The Best Candidate For Edo 2020 By Eki Iguomoson, PhD

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The article from Paul Ohonbamu, Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Communication Commissioner turned propagandist in the fashion of the infamous Joseph Goebbels of Nazi Germany, is empty just as he is himself. After near four years of complete silence and irrelevance, Mr. Paul Ohonbamu has only remembered his writing skills now because of the dawning realization that the days of his current master, Governor Godwin Obaseki, and other leeches feeding on the resources of Edo State are numbered.

Using flowery words, he tried to manipulate obvious facts and turn logic on its head using the Biblical analogy of Barabbas. But to the discerning, the actual Barabbas in Edo State today is just one individual and his name is Godwin Obaseki.

My choice for Governor, and that of the majority of Edo people, remains Osagie Ize-Iyamu. The reason is simple, as the agenda he plans to execute when he becomes Governor.

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, by the virtue of my close association with him over the years, has distinguished himself to me as a better manager of men and resources than the embattled Godwin Obaseki who is unquestionably a bandit as he robs the meager resources of Edo State without question and without accountability.

Osagie Ize-Iyamu is also my pick of the bunch because others, in my view, lack the spread of followership to deliver the state to the APC in the governorship election slated for September this year.

Admittedly, some persons, oftentimes, rely on second-hand information to get a grasp of political happenings, and as such may be considered to have limited understanding. But the democratization of information, made possible by the internet and its wide adoption, has made it easier for us to follow events, sometimes in real-time, and assess the quality of leadership offered to our people.

To this end, and without any intention to personally attack anyone, I make bold to say that Edo State is totally misgoverned. I can spend pages to illustrate this point but for the sake of brevity and time, I will highlight the relevant points.

Osagie Ize-Iyamu will make a great Governor because he has both a sense of legacy and self-restraint for the reasons I will illustrate below.

Osagie Ize-Iyamu was born and has been bred in Benin city. He grew up and acquired his education in Benin. He’s from a traditional Benin family and fully recognizes the traditional restraints expected of leaders put in charge of the people. His pedigree is noble. His great grandfather, grandfather, father, uncles and other members of his family have all held exalted traditional chieftaincy titles; even the Iyase position, the highest chieftaincy position in the Benin Kingdom. His opponents including Mr. Godwin Obaseki, are not of this noble background.

Although Godwin Obaseki’s great grandfather was Iyase himself, his was an ignoble service well known to the Benin people. He betrayed the Obaship institution, and by extension, the Benin nation. But for the timely intervention of some courageous chiefs, Agho Obaseki wanted to be and was almost forcefully made the Oba of Benin against the Benin custom and tradition. Agho Obaseki was Godwin Obaseki’s great grandfather. Other than this, Godwin Obaseki’s grandfather and his father were never nobles. They were not steeped in Benin traditional mores including that of traditional restraints of the leader like Osagie Ize-Iyamu down to his own father Chief Osayande Ize-Iyamu, who was a popular Esogban (Idionwere) of Benin Kingdom.

No wonder in his nearly four years sojourn as Governor, Godwin Obaseki has been reckless with state funds, reckless with accountability, reckless in the way he relates with the Edo people, treating them as captured people. The result is that there’s absolutely no clear signs of coordinated governance except obvious abuse of power! The few roads tarred were done without tender.

So, no one knows how the contracts were awarded. The required government/official procedures are breached with reckless abandon. The only thing consistent is the recklessness of Governor Obaseki. He seems not to care what happens after he leaves office. He probably believes he can “bribe” his way out of prosecution by the anti-corruption agencies with the huge amount of state funds he has stolen.

In sharp contrast to Obaseki’s lack of direction, Osagie Ize-Iyamu has a plan to govern Edo State. He has had it for years. It’s well articulated in a document published in 2016 known as the SIMPLE agenda. That’s the acronym for the six-bullet points of his plan. I’m aware that this document has been updated to guide him when he’s elected Governor in September and assumes office as Governor in November 2020.

Osagie Ize-Iyamu has a great and uncommon ability of spotting talents who can join him in governing the state, based on their proven merit and capabilities.

Contrary to the lies told by Paul Ohunbamu, Osagie Ize-Iyamu is a darling of the vast majority of the Edo people cutting across the entire senatorial districts of South, Central and North of Edo State. This is why he has remained the single most central issue in Edo State politics since 2007 when he formed the Grace Group political organization or even earlier. That’s the group with which Comrade Adams Oshiomhole ran for Governor of Edo State and won. In turn, Governor Oshiomhole used elements of the same platform to bring Godwin Obaseki from obscurity to run as Governor and emerged even as he actually lost that election to Osagie Ize-Iyamu, but was returned by INEC through questionable means.

Unfortunately, because of our state of electoral jurisprudence, the fraud Obaseki committed to get himself announced as the winner in that election of September 2016 was judicially upheld! However, those who joined Obaseki to commit that act of electoral robbery are confessing today.

The good people of Edo State are yearning for Osagie Ize-Iyamu to be Governor because he has been with them all his life without blemish, compared with Godwin Obaseki who they barely know, but for his name recognition as an Obaseki. Godwin Obaseki had not been in the state since leaving after graduating from the University of Ibadan in 1979. He had spent most of his years in Lagos, before coming to Benin to join the Oshiomhole government in 2009, upon the collapse of his private business in Lagos.

In effect, Godwin Obaseki is a failed businessman who was rehabilitated by Oshiomhole with government appointment, and subsequent sponsorship as Governor. That appointment is the only real credential he can boast of without much controversy. His education in the University of Ibadan, especially starting from how he gained admission with only 3 credits without a credit pass in English and Mathematics, is still being investigated.

From the records in UI, Godwin Obaseki has no other WAEC result at Ordinary Level than the 3 credit passes obtained from Eghosa Grammar School in June, 1973. Godwin Obaseki has never told the world that he obtained WAEC Advanced Level Certificate from anywhere. How then did he gain admission into the University of Ibadan to study for three years from 1976-1979, for a degree in Classical Studies?

In his affidavits sworn to at the courts, he has never claimed to have AL Certificate, even as he was required to disclose all certificates obtained as part of the forms he filled while contesting the Gubernatorial election of 2016. A suit that was filed against him to disqualify him for these anomalies could not be concluded before that election. The issues are still pending.

So, what you have in Mr. Godwin Obaseki is a failed businessman with a questionable past, and an incumbent Governor who’s reckless with state funds, without anything tangible to show for four years of governorship. That’s why Mr. Paul Ohunbamu could not point out any meaningful project, or programs being administered by the state government under the Obaseki administration.

All Mr. Ohunbamu succeeded in doing is to make meaningless references to unrelated, unoriginal quotations, as infants just learning History, Literature and Bible Studies do. None of those quotations explains why Godwin Obaseki’s bid for Governorship is facing serious challenges, with many of those who supported him in 2016 have all abandoned him today.

His claims that they want him to share state funds with him, have since fallen to discredit, because he has no single proof to justify the naked lie. That incredible claim actually points to the reality that Godwin Obaseki has no regard for government financial procedures; for if he does, he would know that every single expenditure of government is expected to be accounted for. So, how would people he accused, many of whom have held high government positions, expect him to dish out state funds to them just like that?

There are many other reasons why Osagie Ize-Iyamu should be preferred to Godwin Obaseki as Governor – however, what I have set out above is just a snippet. I will do my best to further this discussion.

Dr. Eki Iguomoson sent in this piece from Edo State.

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