Why Edo 2020 Is The Ize-Iyamu Show

As Edo races towards the 2020 elections, there are those who believe that the election is an Ize-Iyamu show.

While the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has failed to seize the occasion of crises in the All People’s Progreasive Congress (APC), the forte seems clear for a battle between the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki and his rival, Pastor Ize-Iyamu as they are pitted in a political battle of their lives.

Political pundits believe that the election is going to be an Ize-Iyamu show as Obaseki has allegedly lost a lot of ground fighting his erstwhile godfather and National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole when he should have exerted more energy on gaining more political grounds, only running off to Abuja when its dawned on him that the local war waged against Oshiomhole did not really work in his favor.

Obaseki is in the proces ended up looking confused as if he’s been bamboozled.

Said an analyst “He knew his nemesis, and walked into it blindly. His nemesis, my sister, from day one, was Osagie Ize Iyamu. How could he have been so tactless? He knew it was coming. And he accelerated it, by throwing punches in empty air, in all directions. His enemies just stood aside, and watched him fight himself. Now, they are about to knock him off with a pooooof of air exhaled from once sealed mouths.

Examining Obaseki’ foray into politics, it is apparent that the governor is more a technocrat than a politician.

He ran a company investing peoples money for them in the stock market and he must have been very successful.

Oshiomhole who was governor invited the finance wizkid to government to help attract FDI to Edo State. From feelers gathered from sources in the government at that time, Obaseki arrived, and was advising them on what to do. Success was marginal, and the state government paid his company, Afrivest, good commission. He then allegedly sweet talked everyone of the politicians on how he could make Edo State the hub of investment credit, make the state the Dubai of Africa.

That was the beginning of all this problem. Ize Iyamu was promised the position by Oshiomhole, before Obaseki came into the fray. It was Ize Iyamu and the local Benin politicians that paved the way for Oshiomole, by pushing his case until he toppled Professor Osariemen Osunbor in court. It was the Benin people who said, why don’t we go for someone from Edo North, a people, who have NEVER ruled the state before, instead of an Esan Man under the spectre of Tony Anenih.

Many believe Ize Iyamu was the arrowhead of that coup, “bury the Godfather Anenih”. And he allegedly made that move because he knew that Anenih would never have him as Governor. Sometimes, when they say this is Oshiomole’s war, it is out of ignorance of Ize Iyamu’s antecedents.

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu right from his days at UNIBEN was a quick -silver in politics.

Why Ize-Iyamu Must Not Be Underrated

There are many who believe that Obaseki is no match for Ize-Iyamu, with or without Oshiomhole, especially those who attended the University of Benin while he was there.

Said an alumnus of the university:

“When he came back after his rustication for student union activities, I knew him. He was very gentle by then. I think the rustication shook him.

“We were on hello terms, as some of his friends were people I knew. But his contemporaries had gradated, and he acted it. He kept his distance. But one day at my Departmental Office, he happened to have passed by for something. When he left, the way the staff talked about him, he must have wielded ENORMOUS powers at Student Union President and you know, that in those days, it was a different thing being in the Student Union. Was it not at their time students were highly respected in Nigeria? Remember the “Ali Must Go” riots in Nigeria?

Why Obaseki Must Be Very Careful

Obaseki must be very careful. It makes better sense for him to use Oshiomhole as a screen. He should avoid a direct battle with Ize-Iyamu guy. Many have noted that Ize-Iyamu is a very very difficult opponent to debate with. He is an orator of some kind, though you don’t get it until you make the mistake of debating with him.

He always comes prepared.

Perhaps, it is his training in Law. He’s a crafty debater. And it would not make sense for both Obaseki and Shuaibu to start a debate with him. Easily, he will turn the table and make it obvious that the battle is not just between Obaseki and Oshiomhole, but one clearly between Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu. He will easily achieve that objective. He’s very clever in debate.

As an interviewee, you can interview Ize-Iyamu from today to tomorrow, only one thing would happen. He would grow in stature from starting point, as the interview evolves. And what I see, if you ask me is that he knows this is his time. He will snatch it. I can hardly see him failing to do so.


As for grassroots politics, it is a walk over for Ize-Iyamu. He has the charisma of a student union politician. I’m not kidding. Edo State politics is in his DNA. He knows all the little villages and their spokesmen. He knows the source of politics in every little village community in Edo State.

And he wants to be Governor. He seems to want it even more than Obaseki and always wanted it since he was SSG to Lucky Igbenedion and even before. He’s reinvented himself for this. He was bidding his time. Oshiomhole there for two terms and he after was his strategy.

What Obaseki Did Wrong

The blame is this:

Obaseki failed to deliver that for which a coup was planned for him. He promised to cause an avalanche of FDI and of Aliko Dangote’s money and NSE funds into Edo State. That was why Ize-Iyamu was shoved aside.

At the end of the day, after about 100 trips to China, nothing came in. So those that were shoved aside went to Oshiomhole to say, “you see Sir, it didn’t happen”. Obaseki knows that would happen if he failed to deliver. I suspect he knew all the while that what he promised was not possible. Oshiomhole and his men were just naive enough to buy into what has now turnes out to be fantasy.

Sharp as mercury, Ize Iyamu understood clearly that it was his time to counter attack.

Ize-Iyamu’s Master Stroke

What did he do? Ize-Iyamu first wrote a book, in which he articulated his ideology and developmental philosophy. Something radically different from the focus of Obaseki’s external credit reliant development policy. Ize-Iyamu outlined in a methodic way now, the thrust of the policy Oshiomole and the rest ignored then.

He says his would focus on “human capital”, harnessing and developing human resource capital of the state…looking local, going local, as an insurance. As the people and the environment they live, can be accessed. If anything is assured, it is that these elements will not disappear.

Foreign credit might not come, NSE might promise and not show up, the Chinese might come and not do anything. But the people are here, and if they have to do something and are empowered to do something, then they will do something. You should read his book, “SIMPLE”. This man is an unusual man it seems.

Either he fails spectacularly, or he will leave his mark someday. Ize-Iyamu is a man manager. The ultimate politician. I suppose, as a bridge builder, he can pacify the various political tendencies in the state, in a way Oshiomole did, or even better. And he’s humble. Very humble. The man they call the “Pastor”. There is a buzz about him. In Edo politics past and present, I think his only match is Adams Oshiomhole, in terms of how quickly he connects to people.

I think he can win because to the constellation forces, and stars…all conjointly are in place for his victory. “…When these prodigies do so conjointly meet, let not men say “These are their reasons; they are natural…” If he fails this time, it’s game over for the “Pastor”. With his experience and the power of his ambition, I hardly see him leaving anything to chance. He looks unstoppable. Only President Buhari and Bola Tinubu together, can stop the force of the Pastor. The game is already beyond Obaseki’s capacity. The Pastor grows bigger in stature as D’day draws near.

This is his chance. Edo 2020 is the Ize-Iyamu show. The reality of all reality shows