As Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu joins the race for Edo State 2024 governorship race under the platform of the All Progressive Congress, Iyobosa Uwugiaren writes that the former Secretary to the State Government remains the subject of discourse in the state’s politics.
In spite of the mounting concerns of dysfunctional governance being experienced in all areas of life in Nigeria today, coupled with a polluted political environment, where political supporters are only attracted by the quantity and quality of patronages, and where occupants of public offices believe that their positions entitle them to unbridle access to public resources for themselves and service their followers, political observers wonder why Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu still remains the main issue in Edo State’s current political narrative.
The former Secretary to Edo State Government left public office over two decades ago, and for those very close to him, he had little or no patronage to disburse to his followers – as commonly practiced by politicians to keep their followers. But the chieftain of the APC still commands a cut-like followership.
This is evident when thousands of friends, family members and political associates gathered recently at his house in Ugbor area of Benin City to elicit his acceptance to run for the Edo 2024 governorship election under the platform of the APC.
According to some of his followers who attended the meeting, the call for Ize-Iyamu to join the governorship race had been growing louder and clearer, with increasing number of groups and individuals saying he was good to go – after several assurances by the party leaders to support him for the race. Prominent party members across the 192 wards and 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state attended the meeting; including representatives from different ethnic groups, including the Edo State Arewa/Muslim group, Christianity Groups in Edo State, Yoruba community, Igbo community, Ijaw, and others.
‘’Notable leaders from the three senatorial districts spoke at the meeting, expressing their unalloyed loyalty and support for the candidacy of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, whom they referred to as their Home Boy owing to his political tenacity over the years’’, an insider at the meeting stated.
To be sure, confirming the meeting in a statement tilted ‘’On Edo 2024’’, the former Chief of Staff to ex-Governor Lucky Igbinedion, explained that he had the ‘’esteemed privilege’’ of meeting with members of his political family from across the 192 wards that make up the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo state.
‘’The meeting afforded us the opportunity of sharing our thoughts on the state of Edo, after, which we collectively agreed on simple and implementable steps needed to put her back on the highway to sustainable development.
‘’As the discussion evolved, the subject of whether or not I will be contesting the Edo 2024 gubernatorial election came forth. Having listened keenly to the discussants and taking into consideration the tarnished hopes of our people and their call for a more responsible government that places them at its epicenter, I accepted the request to enter the race for the Edo State 2024 governorship election’’, the chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC), stated.
The two-time gubernatorial candidate in Edo State election added that although his decision came at no ease, he however, expressed happiness for the implicit confidence reposed in him by friends, associates, admirers and adept followers.
According to him, ‘’As someone who was born, raised, schooled and who works and lives in Edo, I have never hidden how passionate I am about reversing the dwindling fortunes of this state. Therefore, I urge every well-meaning citizen and resident of Edo to join hands with me to set our beloved state on the pathway to a holistic development.’’
Endorsing Ize-Iyamu’s aspiration, an influential politician in Edo State, Dr. Gbenga Daodu said, ‘’Without a shred of doubt, he is eminently qualified and deliberately prepared and divinely commissioned to govern Edo State otherwise known as the Heart Beat of the Nation.
‘’Clearly, his attributes are enormous as gleaned from the perspective of a former first line staffer in the office of POI, when he was Secretary to the Edo State Government.’’
Sharing some of his amazing attributes, Daodu explained that Ize-Iyamu has a passion for listening, saying good listening skills are an important part of succeeding in leadership positions and the office of the governor is not an exception.
According to him: ‘’Listening on the other hand is a highly valued soft skill sought after by leaders. After all, people with this ability are more likely to understand tasks and projects, build strong relationships with colleagues, and are able to solve problems and resolve conflicts. It gives room for leader-follower traffic in getting things done and strengthens bonds of knack for achievement.’’
Describing Ize-Iyamu as ‘’a dependable ally and reliable and steady source of support’’, Daodu said, ‘’he is also relational; those he leads are not viewed as mere employees, servants, or objects. Above all, he is a visionary and has solid vision for the future and gravitates toward it.’’
A well-known grass root politician in Edo State, Ize-Iyamu, narrowly lost the governorship race to Governor Godwin Obaseki in the 2019. However, many political analysts believed he was a victim of skewed, devious and false political propaganda by the political manipulators, majorly paused by emotion.
A Redeemed Christian Church of God Senior Pastor, political figure, he is one of the founding members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Vice-Chairman, South-South Zone of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
He served as Director General of former Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s second term Campaign Organisation, and also the Coordinator of Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation in 2015. He has been honoured by the Benson Idahosa University with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Public Administration.
Born in Benin City on June 21, 1962, Osagie Ize Iyamu was son of Chief Robert Osayande Ize-Iyamu and Mrs. Magdalene Naghado Ize- Iyamu (nee Obasohan), both of blessed memory. His father was a revered High Chief of the Oba of Benin, ranking second in command until his demise as the Esogban of Benin. His mother was a trained teacher who later distinguished herself as a very successful trader.
An offspring of a well-known family – deeply rooted in civility and with an outstanding record of services to the community and society, His forefather, Chief Odia was the Iyase’Nâ ohenmwen (Prime Minister) of Benin during the reign of Oba Osemwende (1816 – 1848 A.D). Ize-Iyamu’s maternal heritage is also of notable repute. His mother’s father was the well-known Obasohan of Akpakpava.
His family hailed from the present day Iguododo in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State. The mother of Chief Izevbizua Iyamu, the Obahiagbon of Benin, Osagie’s grandfather was from Usen in Ovia South-West Local Government Area.
Remarkably too, Osagie’s father’s mother, Igbinoghene Ize-Iyamu (nee Ogiemwanre Obazuwaye) hailed from Ughoton, in Ovia North-East Local Government Area; while her mother came from Ute in Ikpoba Okha.
The Obasohan N’Akpakpava Family, which is Osagie’s maternal family came from Erua of Igieduma Ward, Uhunmwonde Local Government Area. Late Pa Obasohan, Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s maternal grandfather and the mother of His late Majesty, Oba Erediauwa, were first cousins. His mother’s maternal family is of the Oyeru Family of Oredo Local Government Area.
A most significant aspect of the history of the Ize-Iyamu family is that it holds the record of building and owning the first storey building “Egedege N’Okaro” in the whole of the Mid-Western Region, Nigeria – which is the present day Edo and Delta States.
It was built in 1906 by Osagie’s great grandfather, Late Chief Iyamu, the Inneh of Benin Kingdom. It is in this revered historical house that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu grew up under the shadows of inspiration.
The governorship hopeful attended St. Joseph Primary School and Ebenezer Nursery and Primary School in Benin City.
He had his Secondary education at the famous Edo College, Edo State, and passed out with Grade I – in his West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations and attended the University of Benin, where he graduated with an LLB (Hons) and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and bagged the Bachelor of Law (BL).
Ize-Iyamu has a great ally in his pursuit to governor Edo State: a good-looking, friendly, lovely and hardworking wife, Prof Idia. She is a renowned Consultant Orthodontist with the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, and a Professor (lecturer) in the University of Benin. Both of them are blessed with four children.