By Isaac Asabor
Ahead of the September 19 governorship poll in Edo State, the expectation is not merely all about who becomes the next governor of the state. For residents in the state, especially women, the expectation is also about what do women in the State stand to gain when Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), eventually begins to call the shot from the Government House located on Dennis Osadebey Avenue.
There is no denying the fact that as Ize-Iyamu rev up the speed of his campaign train that is been fuelled by his SIMPLE Agenda across the 18 local government areas in the State that the personality Edo women should watch out for, particularly as to the interpretation of Ize-Iyamu’s manifesto as it concerns them, is Mrs. Idia Ize-Iyamu, wife of the APC Gubernatorial flag bearer.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Idia has raised the bar for governorship poll in Edo. She has not only been throwing her weight behind her husband’s political rallies since electioneering commenced in the State, she has also been delivering speeches where she was, for the umpteenth time, being observed to be conveying promises made for women in the state as stated in her husband’s SIMPLE Agenda, which is invariably the manifesto which Ize-Iyamu is poised to bring to bear during his tenure as the State Governor by the Grace of God for the benefits of Edolites. Without doubt, this innovative dimension in Edo governorship politics has made the campaigns interesting to watch. Idia, has no doubt turned to crowd-pullers at electioneering venues with her powerful oratorical skills and compelling speeches, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Although the election remains few weeks away, the in-coming First Lady is not leaving anything to chance in her quests to ensure victory for her spouse, and take the baton from Governor Godwin Obaseki’s wife, Betsy.
To say that Idia is an intellectual personality is to state the obvious. Her intellectual disposition cannot be pooh-poohed even as her husband’s supporters, including this writer, have been flaunting it as a trump card, and that no doubt has turned into campaign issue. Why won’t her academic background turn to campaign issue when she is undeniably an egghead? The incumbent governor of the state who ostensibly knows her and the husband much better than her supporters attested to this fact during her birthday last year, 2019. Listen to how he described her: “It is a golden age and she is a woman of immeasurable value not just to her husband and family but to her community. She is a religious woman and I celebrate with her, wish her well and wish her more opportunities to contribute to our society.”
Her well-wishers at the memorable event included Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Former Anambra State Governor and Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi.
The fact cannot be mistaken to say that she is a blessing to Edolites, particularly the women as she will no doubt play her role as a development-minded First Lady when her husband becomes the next governor in Edo State. It cannot be false to say that her campaign to women in the recent times on what her husband has in the offing for Edo women immediately he takes his seat as the governor of the State has made the political landscape in the State to become more interesting. Since she embarked on her campaign that aimed at enlightening Edo Women on the “Dividends of Democracy” that are inherent in the Simple Agenda she has been exuding confidence that the plight of the womenfolk will, no doubt, change for the better.
Since she started campaigning for her husband ahead of the election, not few supporters are opinionating that she would be better as governor’s wife by virtue of the quality education she has acquired. For the sake of clarity, Idia is a Professor and Consultant Orthodontist at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. After all, the late sage, Dr. Nelson Mandela posited that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
In the bid to ensure that women in the State buys into her husband’s agenda, she recently met with professional women group in Edo, and assured them of adequate support, protection from abuse, and access to greater opportunities if her husband is elected as the next Governor.
In the same vein, she has also visited the popular Oba Market to share her message of Hope and the Simple Agenda. She said, “I was sad to hear our women lament the unbearable hardship they’ve experienced under Obaseki administration. They said they are sent to Oko prison if they can’t pay fines for violating street trading”.
She disclosed that in her meeting with the women that they bitterly complained that since their shops got burnt that they are yet to receive the N200 million promised by Gov Obaseki, saying they could not hide their joy that their worst is over as Ize-Iyamu and the APC are coming as better alternative to failed Obaseki-led government.
Besides various places she has visited to interact with women and sell her husband candidacy, she had in the company of the state APC Women groups, visited Oregbeni market, Ramat Park, Ikpoba hill to interact with market women, workers and other stakeholders about the ‘Simple Agenda of her husband, Ize-Iyamu and the opportunities his government will give them when elected as Governor of Edo State.
She said, “I assured them of our commitment to ensure infrastructures are put in place. In this market, there are no basic infrastructures like water, toilet, stalls, roads, and security. With Simple Agenda, all these infrastructures will be duly provided as part of the urban renewal.
“I also told the traders that under the Simple Agenda, they are going to be able to access soft loans to expand their businesses. Small and medium scale enterprises are going to be among the major beneficiaries of the agenda to boost economic revival in the state.”