Home HOME Salient lessons to learn from Ize-Iyamu’s defeat, Obaseki’s feat and Oshiomhole dethronement

Salient lessons to learn from Ize-Iyamu’s defeat, Obaseki’s feat and Oshiomhole dethronement

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Ize-Iyamu, Oshiomhole And Obaseki

By Isaac Asabor

Since the news broke that Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State has won the gubernatorial election that was held in the State on September 19, 2020, I must confess that I have been demoralized and discomfited. The reason why I was deflated cannot be farfetched as I have been a staunch supporter of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and recently extended the same support to his wife, Prof. Idia Ize-Iyamu, on account of her knack for social mobilization as witnessed throughout the campaign she was involved in in the just concluded gubernatorial elections conducted across the 18 local government areas and 192 wards in the State.  For the sake of clarity, social mobilization in this context is the process of bringing together all societal and personal influences to raise awareness on the need for good governance, assist in the delivery of resources and services, and cultivate sustainable individual and community involvement in politics.

However, according to Ernest Agyemang Yeboah, an author and a lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana, “Sometimes we learn the lessons of life through pain, melancholy and the vicissitude of life and sometimes we learn the lessons of life through joy and comfort. Whatever be the case, the most important thing is the great lesson we learn out of the lessons life teaches us. If you fail to learn the lessons greatly, life will teach you a great lesson.”

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Against the foregoing backdrop, it is not an exaggeration to say that there are several lessons to learn from Ize-Iyamu’s defeat in the just concluded gubernatorial election as well as from Obaseki’s feat and that of Oshiomhole’s dethronement from the political echelon in the State.

Since the news that emanated from the election was made public, not few political observers were unanimously sharing the view that if Ize-Iyamu had remained in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he could have won the just concluded election. The reason for their extrapolation cannot be farfetched as they were of the view that he would have faced another candidate other than Governor Obaseki since the party could have denied him the ticket as it was done to him that he defected to PDP.

Be that as it may, there is a school of thought that has suddenly emerged pontificating that Ize-Iyamu couldn’t have won even if he had chosen to remain in the PDP. The reason for the foregoing view cannot be farfetched as Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the outgoing governor of Edo State about four years ago, made several allegations against Ize-Iyamu alleging among others that he was a cultist and could not be trusted with financial resources of the state.

In demonstration of his perceived sincerity, the former APC governor has also had to physically kneel down for stakeholders in the state and apologized for bringing Obaseki to government.

It could be recalled that Oshiomhole spoke, and did the damages on Ize-Iyamu’s image when he was marketing Godwin Obaseki as his successor as governor. However, Edolites were not convinced, and could not see the sincerity in Oshiomhole’s new position on Ize-Iyamu, ahead of the just concluded election that saw Obaseki emerged as the winner when he recanted his words about Ize-Iyamu and adopted him as the best person to carry on as governor of the state. To most political observers, it was a campaign gone awry as the calculated damage done to Ize-Iyamu’s personal image, and by extension his electoral worth is somewhat irredeemable. Without mincing words, the de-marketing of Ize-Iyamu while marketing Obaseki in the past has today remained Ize-Iyamu’s albatross.

By accident or design, the internet and social media have during the electioneering campaign ahead of the just concluded election increased the false information and conspiracy theories sparked off against Ize-Iyamu in the last political dispensation. This no doubt caused Ize-Iyamu real harm offline, especially because digital literacy and digital policy are both currently unable to keep up with the pace of change.

At this juncture, it is expedient to caution that politicians should be cautious of how the image of their political opponent is tarnished all in the name of de-marketing him or her before the electorates ahead of any election.  It is against this backdrop that one can say that a salient lesson has been learnt from this aspect of putting people down in politicking.

As a prelude to how anyone can learn from Obaseki’s feat in the election, it is expedient to say that electioneering campaigners have for ages been grappling with the answer to the question; “How does a person decide whom to vote for?” The question has indeed become a riddle that it has remained very hard to solve. However, political pundits have identified a number of factors and tried their various combinations. They count on party loyalty, ideological inkling, ethnic and religious affiliations or simply a community’s vested interest.

Some think that an untoward incident can give rise to a wave of sympathy that can make voters change their earlier decisions and cast the ballot in favor of the sufferer or victim. This is termed as the sympathy vote. Without any iota of exaggeration, this is one factor that helped Obaseki as not few electorates sympathized with him over his disqualifications ahead of the primary conducted by the APC in the State, and the broadcast made against him by the national leader of the party, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu. Majority of the Edolites unanimously stood on the same grounds that “Edo Is Not Lagos”. The political apothegm was no doubt expressed at the polls on Saturday.  The slogan started resonating in electronic and social media as soon as it was clear that there were conspiracy to give Obaseki what is now politically known as “Ambode Treatment”, and given the fact that Tinubu’s recent broadcast that trended on social media platforms the decibel of the mantra reverberated thereby positively impacting on the electoral successes of Obaseki across almost all the polling centres in the State. Political observers have attributed his victory on Saturday to the sympathy votes that both Oshiomhole and Tinubu had inadvertently invoked by the roles they played ahead of the election.

Looking at the lesson to learn from Oshiomhole side of the political debacle, it will be nice to look at it from a proverbial perspective. For instance, there is an African proverb that says “He that pursues a cock should be ready to fall many times”. As it is, the fall has started. With the foregoing in mind, it would have been better for Oshiomhole if he had heeded calls from eminent Nigerians that he should stop pursuing Obaseki.

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