By Isaac Asabor
There is no denying the fact that Politics of inter party decamping has become a global phenomenon that no developing nation is free from. As presently been witnessed by not a few political observers in the ongoing electioneering ahead of the September 19 gubernatorial election in Edo State, inter party decamping has no doubt become an order of the day but the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has undeniably remained the most favorable beneficiary as key party members from the opposing camp, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are by each passing day decamping to the APC in the bid to rally round him ahead of the upcoming election. This, to many may be attributed to his charisma. It goes beyond his charisma; it is divine.
For instance, he received decampees from Ovia North East Local Government Area of the State from the PDP on Monday, August 3, 2020, in Benin.
While receiving them he said it was difficult for development to take place in the state when some seats were vacant at the house of assembly, and added that his administration would also revamp projects abandoned in the state by the present administration for the benefit of the people.
In the same vein, he noted that the present administration had closed the College of Education in Ovia North East Local Government Area, and bemoaned that the institution would have brought development to the Council, and on that note assured them that “College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and College of Education, Ekiadolor would be revamped, and insisted that anything that would benefit the people will not be shut down.
He said, “We are into politics so that the people will progress through good governance, and I don’t support thuggery and oppression of our people, only government officials wearing uniforms will be allowed to collect taxes.
“We must look for jobs for the thugs in the motor parks and markets. You cannot solve one problem and create another problem in the long run”.
Earlier, Mr. Vincent Uwadiae, member-elect, Edo House of Assembly (EDHA), from Ovia North East Constituency 2, who presented the decampees to the Edo APC Ize-Iyamu said that more opposition members would decamp to the party.
Uwadiae said that the decampees from opposition parties in his local government area were ready to support Ize-Iyamu to victory in the Sept. 19 governorship election. Names of the decampees cut across Emmanuel Agbaje, Nosayaba Okunbor, Dumez Ugiagbe and the Deputy Speaker of Edo Assembly, Hon. Yekini Idiaye,
Unarguably excited and pleased over the development, Ize-Iyamu tweeted, “This makes it a total number of 17 elected members of the Edo Assembly, out of 24, who have announced their support for our party and will be mobilizing their constituencies to vote the APC.
“I commend them for their integrity and courage and for standing up to a Governor who, in a brazen act of tyranny, ignored the resolution of both arms of the National Assembly, and denied representation to 14 constituencies by locking the door of the House to their elected reps.
“Our party, the APC, is strong and united and together with the people, we are going to turn a new page on the 19th of September. #EdoMustMoveForward #EdoForAPC #POISIMPLEAGENDA”.
To my view, I am not in any way surprised that things are falling in pleasant places for Ize-Iyamu since he declared for the race to Osadebey Avenue. After all, he is a Pastor. This is even as it is written in 2 Kjngs chapter 7 verses 6 and 7 that “For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host. Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.” On the celestial strength that is inherent in the foregoing scripture, members of the PDP in the State will someday jettison their party for APC.
Against the foregoing backdrop, there is no denying the fact that members of the PDP in Edo are already hearing some fearful sound that is making them to run down to the APC in support of Pastor Ize-Iyamu.
Not only are politicians to be reckoned with in the opposing camp are decamping in the bid to support his candidacy come September 29, over 5,000 youths across the 18 local governments, under the aegis of the Edo Patriotic Youth Movement, few days ago endorsed him again, thereby causing jitters in the PDP.
The endorsement, announced during a meeting between selected representatives of the group and Ize-Iyamu as well as other APC leaders, came on the back of similar endorsements from other youth groups in a week that witnessed high-profile resignations from the Obaseki-led government over electoral weakness, intimidation and lack of leadership.
Receiving the endorsement alongside his running mate, Mallam Gani Audu, Pastor Ize-Iyamu thanked the youth and reassured them that his government would prioritize job creation and youth empowerment.
He criticized the incumbent administration for implementing harsh policies and prolonged detention of the poor over their inability to pay unfair fines and taxes.
Ize-Iyamu said: “I find it outrageous that instead of empowering youths, creating opportunities for them and engaging them directly in government projects, the current administration is instead disparaging and castigating them as lazy criminals.
”Government should solve problems, not lament, fold its arms and insult people. I have an agenda of what I will do; the incumbent has nothing to show after four years in office.”
It would be recalled that Ize-Iyamu has before now received the blessings of the Enigies in the Benin Kingdom for him to emerge victorious in the September 19 governorship election.
Together with other leaders of the APC, including Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, they visited the Enigies at the palace of its President, His Royal Highness, Edomwonyi Iduozee Ogiegbean, the Enigie of Egbaen town, to present the core policies and plans of his campaign manifesto, the SIMPLE agenda.
While parleying with the Enigies, he lamented the elitist detached style of administration of the incumbent Governor, which, according to him, has resulted in the implementation of wrong policies that has failed to address the problems of the people, especially at the grassroots.
Ize-Iyamu cited the worsening security situation in Edo State, saying that Governor Obaseki has failed to tackle the problem due to his poor investment in the security architecture of the state, and refusal to work with traditional rulers and community heads that are closer to the people and in possession of vital intelligence reports.
He criticized the government’s failure to address the acute shortage of teachers in rural communities across the state.
According to him, most of the schools in the communities have only one teacher, a situation which has resulted in poor performances during national exams and low enrolment.
He promised to reverse the failures and run an inclusive government that will bring development to the grassroots through a respectful partnership with the traditional rulers, who are well versed in local infrastructural needs.
His Royal Highness, Edomwonyi Iduozee Ogiegbean, who spoke on behalf of the Enigies, expressed their non-partisan position and gave him their blessings for his governorship bid.
Comrade Oshiomhole, who received a warm reception at the event, assured the Enigies that Ize-Iyamu will continue his tradition of regular meetings with the traditional rulers to give an account of his stewardship and seek their inputs in policy formation and implementation.
Like the biblical lepers that were calumniated, Ize-Iyamu has been the target of desperate calumniators since he ventured into politics, particularly in 2016 when he was castigated. Like the biblical lepers, he refused to bear the ignoble names that were given to him as a result of the expediency of the electioneering campaign at the time. As they got up to go forward, God went ahead of them. It is crystal clear that if they hadn’t gotten up, God wouldn’t have moved. To my view, that is the same way Ize-Iyamu took the bold step by throwing his hat into the ring ahead of the upcoming gubernatorial election in Edo State.
God made his opponents hear a noise. Without the somewhat deluge of decampment to in his support, there is no denying the fact that his opponent are hearing the kind of noise the Syrians heard that made them to be confused, not knowing that it was God that made the noise. Imagine a noise that the natural ear may not hear but the spiritual one will. When the devil, hears a noise from God, he lets go. When Jesus said to Lazarus, loose him and let him go. Satan heard a noise and let him go. Imagine four lepers matching towards an army of soldiers that had all kind of weapons. The soldiers heard a noise and they all fled. The defeat was unimaginable and unbelievable. As I conclude this piece, I am optimistic that more decampees are coming to APC even from the other 12 parties that are registered for the election in the state before the D-Day, September 29.