Ize-Iyamu: Living in denial one year after losing to Obaseki


By Albert Obazee

When you are confronted with a dizzying defeat, what do you do? Take stock of the situation, assess your options and get back on track? Or sit in a puddle of shame and wallow in what is not yours – what you clearly lost to a better, more qualified candidate? Some would go the former route, ruing their chances, blaming every other person but themselves.

In psychology, this state is captioned as living in denial. Scholars say this condition lingers for some time but will eventually fade, leaving the victim to confront the reality of the situation and forge ahead in life.   

But sometimes, given the magnitude and outsized ramification of a defeat, one might linger in this hazy oblivion for a while longer, wherein he or she is tormented by the hunger of the object of desire. It is at these times in a man’s life that he would wish he made smarter choices or was better prepared for the sharp bends he is confronted with.

Carl Alasko, author of Beyond Blame, on Psychology Today, America’s premier academic website on Psychology, gives an idea of what it means to live in denial. He argues that fact-based decision-making can be beclouded by racy emotions, fueled by ideology, stubbornness, and impulsiveness.

Given his recent outburst after several months of rumination, it is quite safe to say that the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate in the 2016 governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has found himself in this deprecating conundrum. It is not clear when or how this episode started, but it is quite settled that Pastor Ize-Iyamu hasn’t come off the catastrophic defeat he suffered not only at the elections but through the court judgements in the wake of the elections, which has left him in a constant trance, grappling at fantasies.

In a recent report in the Nation Newspaper on February 3, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, at a rally in Ovia South West Local Government Area, told barefaced lies that betrayed his claim to the clergy. He told PDP supporters that the recounting of ballot papers ordered by the election tribunal showed that he won the election.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu said there were huge differences in the figures written in the INEC result sheet and the votes from the ballot papers, claiming that he was satisfied that the ballot recount exposed the rigging of the governorship polls. “The ballot recount showed that we won despite their having all the agencies to support them,” he was quoted as saying.

It is quite troubling to hear these words from Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who is said to be a law graduate. That he is coming out to say this at this time shows that not only has he not gotten over the defeat, he is caught in a continuous, disturbing reverie that has denied him proper use of his training and expertise to interrogate reality and own up to the fact that all matters regarding the said election have been settled at the apex court of the land.

From the tribunal to the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court, all doubts as to the actual winner of the 2016 gubernatorial election in Edo State have been put to rest. The judges who should know better have given their verdict which is binding on all parties. Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s rambling cuts him as a poor sportsman. He should be pitied, albeit not forgetting the unwholesome governance model he would have foisted on the people had he been given the mantle to lead.

That a disgruntled Pastor Ize-Iyamu is still trying to goad the people into thinking that the process is flawed and compromised, and that Governor Obaseki is running on a tainted mandate is – to put it mildly – an affront to the collective will of the people, a slap in the face of justice and a testament to his penchant for sneaky, fussy ways. He should know better, and in fact, it should be made clear that whatever he is saying now that was not said, while the case lasted in court is mere conspiracy theory calculated to massage his lightweight ego and feed his denial syndrome.

However, Professor Alasko has a word for Pastor Ize-Iyamu and many people in this state. According to him, “There is an immutable fact about denial: it does not work—long term. Reality always wins. And when it does, the next step in the process is blame, which shifts responsibility onto someone or something else. “I only did it because of you! If you hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have done this.” So where there’s denial, blame is always available to ease the pain when reality bites.” So, Daddy Ize-Iyamu, be guided; this phase does not last long. Reality will set in a very short while.

The troubled clergyman is apparently lost in transition and it is understandable if he is still grappling at straws. But he should keep this delusion to himself and not extend it to the good people of Edo State. A man may have lost his way and seeking redemption, but he shouldn’t allow such beclouded thinking to extend to members of his community. Pastor Ize-Iyamu should bear his cross alone. Edo people know better.

Obazee writes from Benin