*Those who believe one man is God, may one man continue to be their God-Governor
*Impeachment plotters are anti-development; we will resist them-Shaibu
By SIMON EBEGBULEM
The defection of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former Secretary to Edo State Government, and his supporters to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was a political earthquake in the state.
The mass defection did not come as a surprise to many following their complaints that the congresses of the All Progressive Congress (APC) were skewed to frustrate them out of the party. Though Ize-Iyamu can be said to be a political tactician, that cannot be said about other leaders who left with him.
Since the defection, Ize-Iyamu, a very close ally of Governor Adams Oshiomhole when the going was good, has not failed to use any opportunity at his disposal to unleash verbal missiles at Oshiomhole.
In a TV programme in Benin-City, which the former SSG during the Lucky Igbinedion administration tactically granted last Monday, the same day the APC held its state congress, he alleged that the governor had, on several occasions, promised him governorship in 2016, just as he debunked the insinuation that he received several contracts from the state government.
He accused the governor of destroying the APC in Edo and warned that the APC will not win any seat in the 2015 general elections. However, when it became clear that Ize-Iyamu was leaving the party, Oshiomhole invaded his camp and some of his foot soldiers such as Lawrence Orka, regarded as his field marshal in Edo South, rejigged.
Elder Patrick Igbinaken also denied resigning from the APC, saying he was deceived to attend a meeting where he and some others purportedly resigned from the party. Igbinaken, Chairman of the defunct ACN in Ovia North East Local Government Area, said as a founding member of the APC, nothing could make him desert a house he helped to build.
While this was happening, royal fathers in Edo South paid a visit to Oshiomhole and expressed their support for his administration. They described the defection of the members as selfish and urged the governor to disregard them.
The Enigies, numbering over 60, said they were happy with the developmental strides of Oshiomhole, especially in Edo South and have absolute confidence in his government.
The Chairman of the Enigies, Edomwonyi Iduozee Ogiegbaen, the Enogie of Egbaen-Siluko, and five other royal fathers spoke on behalf of the Enigies. According to Osazuwa Idurase, the Enogie of Eyaen, the reasons given by Ize-Iyamu for defection are selfish and not in the interest of the people of the state.
In an address by the Public Relations Officer of the Enigie, Professor Aduwa Ogiegban (the Enogie of Ogbeson), the royal fathers said, “Everybody that is here today is representing a community. Everyone of us is authentic and nobody is fake. We have watched over the years as you provide development across the nooks and crannies of the state; from Edo South to Edo North.
But we are from Edo South and we will be concerned with that in this visit. You are about six years in office now and we have seen the changes that have taken place in Edo South. We appreciate you because you are God-sent.
Prior to your coming as governor, we know what our senatorial district looked like; it was shoddy, dirty, no good roads, no potable water, health facilities were in shambles. We are here to appreciate you for the development you brought to Edo State and Edo South in particular.
Some people said you have not been carrying them along but all the Enigies here and those at home have come to say that we have been carried along by you. Some people said that your government is a one-man show, we know better than that and if by one man’s show, they mean the government of Oshiomhole for the generality of all, and not for the few, so be it. If that is what modern democracy looks like, we will take it”.
The royal father cited some areas where the governor has performed wonderfully to include Sapele Road, Mission Road, Airport Road, Siluko Road, New Lagos Road, 5 Junction, Uselu Road, Ogan/Igbanke Road and Urhonigbe/Urohmili Road. “The educational sector has been transformed and health centers have been built and facilities provided where there have been none.
You provided succor for our children. Many schools have been renovated and wearing the red- roof. We know you are going to do more. The problem is that you started from the scratch. There was not much for you to build on. In some parts of the state, you went down the deep sea to provide clean water for the people and that is where some people feared they would get drowned in the deep blue sea.
Those who are going home, the so-called home that is in ruins, allow them go because we do not want to return to the dark ages which they took us to some years back. The era of the Stone Age is over. We want to tell you that gone are the days when the Enigies were referred to as uneducated people is gone. We are on the path of development”.
But the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, condemned the visit of the Enigies, to the governor, accusing Oshiomhole of alleged attempt to drag Edo royal fathers into politics. The Enogie of Obazuwa and younger brother of the Oba of Benin, Prince Edun Akenzua, described Orbih’s comment as insulting and urged the PDP chairman to apologise to the royal fathers.
However, the political tension in Edo heightened last week after Sunday Vanguard learnt about an alleged plot to impeach Oshiomhole; his deputy, Dr Pius Odubu; and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Uyi Igbe. I
t was reliably gathered that the plot was masterminded by members of the APC who recently defected to the PDP including their lawmakers and some leaders of the PDP in the state. It was alleged that the lawmakers who were expected to execute the plot received N30million each while N20million will be added to it later.
The plot was said to be geared at causing crisis in the state so as to give the PDP the opportunity to win the majority in the state House of Assembly and National Assembly elections come 2015. If the alleged plot to impeach the three succeeds, one of the lawmakers, who recently defected to the PDP is expected to transform from Speaker to governor.
With the recent defection of four APC lawmakers to the PDP, the PDP remains in the minority. But with eight PDP lawmakers against APC’s 16, Sunday Vanguard learnt that there were strong moves to induce more lawmakers to back the plot.
The Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Mr Philip Shaibu, who reacted to the situation, said: “We are aware of their plot but they will fail. My joy is that we have lawmakers here who believe strongly in the developmental strides of the Comrade Governor so they cannot never be part of such plot to impeach the governor.
We are very much aware of all the moves they are making to destabilize the state, to ensure that the Comrade Governor does not continue his developmental efforts but they are wasting their time. The problem with some people is that they now think like God, they act like God but what they fail to understand is that when the majority of the masses are with the Comrade Governor, God will always protect him and his administration.
Oshiomhole, who reacted to the defection of the APC members and some of the allegations levelled against him by Ize-Iyamu during the Monday state congress of the APC, said: “A rolling political stone cannot make a difference. Those who rolled on those that left the party were people who insisted that I should unilaterally decree them as the governor of Edo; there is no way they can fit into the logic of APC.
Those who insist that I should appoint them as Chairmen of APC because they were chairmen before, there is no way they can fit into this democratic setting. Those who insist that I should make them woman leader whether or not the women want them, they cannot fit into the logic of change. Those who insist that because they cannot get what they want then they can move on, it is important that we assist them to move.
Those who insist that no man is God who now affirmed that man is God, may man continue to be their God. Let me remind all of you that I am a thorough democrat, I understand the principle of multi-party democracy, APC is not at war with PDP. APC recognized the legitimacy of PDP, and we are here to contest on the basis of ideas but we are all united in a commitment to build a great nation. We might not agree on everything, which is why we have built an alternative political platform.
Let me remind all of you that my fight to liberate Edo people is not a personal fight. Indeed those who have moved on, they started fighting not on the basis of Edo people but over their own ambition.”
Anslem Ojezua emerged as the Edo Chairman of the APC at the state after other chairmanship aspirants stepped down. Others elected include Gentleman Amegor (Vice Chairman), Osakpanwa Eriyo (Youth Leader), Chief Osaro Idah (Secretary) and Comrade Godwin Erhahon (Publicity Secretary).
The battle line has been drawn and the political tension in Edo is expected to remain as charged as ever till the end of the 2015 general elections.