By Paulinus Nsirim
Governor Nyesom Wike's experience in the political arena keeps him in good stead to know a bad, unsaleable political product.
If he tells you that a particular politician is a bad product that cannot be sold, you can take that to the bank and keep your money or better still invest it in a better product, that will give you more value for your money
Recently, in a special no-holds-barred interview with Gbenga Aruleba, on the popular African Independent Television, AIT Programme, Focus, Governor Wike gave a critical assessment of the forthcoming Edo State Governorship election, slated for September 19, 2020.
After an analysis, backed with supporting video footages from the campaigns of the last election in the state, he declared with unequivocal clarity, that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Edo State Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC is a bad product and you cannot sell a bad product to good and discerning people of Edo State.
Governor Wike is the Chairman of the PDP Edo State Governorship Campaign Council and this, on its own is a strategic and political masterstroke decision of the PDP for all the right reasons. It is indeed not a position meant for the faint hearted or lily livered, especially at this time in our present political space, for two reasons:
First, Edo State is the only State in the South- South that the APC has dominated over the last two Governorship elections spanning 12 years.Though, the State is now technically under PDP control, following the decamping of Governor Godwin Obaseki to the Party, the fact remains that PDP would dearly want to reclaim the State again after Professor Oseheimen Osunbor was sacked as Governor by the Courts in 2008.
There is no better man, more capable and possessing the charismatic political savvy and astute electoral strategem to reclaim Edo State for PDP than Governor Wike.
Secondly, the APC, perhaps unwittingly recognizing the importance of Edo State in the political nomenclature of the South South, picked Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, a politician who has not only become well known nationally for his metaphoric 'babanriga pockets' but also commands tremendous political influence and authority over both the massive Kano electorate and in the entire North, to head its Governorship Campaign Council.
The PDP therefore needed a strong leader, who has a towering political presence and popularity; who cannot be easily intimidated and is also well loved across the South South and especially in Edo State.
Governor Wike fitted this position perfectly and indeed many Edo indigenes will recall happily, that the Rivers Governor is only one amongst a select group of Governors that the revered Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopolo, Oba Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, has graced with his royal presence in Government House Port Harcourt, on January 14 this year.
Governor Wike adores the Oba of Benin with great reverence and respects the Bini tradition and the majestic Benin Monarch also definitely holds the Rivers Governor in very high esteem too; a point he made clearly, when Governor Wike led the Edo PDP Campaign Council to pay homage to the Oba in his place, seek his permission to campaign in his kingdom and receive his royal blessings before commencing the Governorship Campaign flag-off.
The choice of Governor Wike to head the Edo PDP Governorship Campaign Council was therefore never really in doubt. While many will say that he was simply campaigning for his Party, the fact remains that his profiling of Pastor Osagie Ize-iyamu, the Edo APC governorship candidate, as a bad product that cannot be sold to Edo people, is right on point and supported with copious instances captured in video footages, delivered by none other than former APC national chairman and Ize-Iyamu's political godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, which he referred to in butressing his point.
Quoting the comments of Adams Oshiomhole exclusively, on the personality and reputation of the APC candidate, Governor Wike said: "Adams Oshiomhole told Edo people that Ize Iyamu was rusticated from school; that he poured acid on a fellow student that destroyed his manhood. That he is an armed robber that cannot be trusted with money. Such a character cannot be accepted by Edo people as Governor during the election.
"I respect the Binin tradition and I know that Edo people are educated to know that Oshiomhole cannot play on their intelligence. If he is now retracting what he said of Ize Iyamu, who is sure that he's saying the correct thing now.
"Adams Oshiomhole's sudden u-turn is a great insult on Edo people. This is an opportunity for Edo people both at home and in the diaspora to use their votes to tell Oshiomole that they cannot take his lies anymore.
"From all indications, it is obvious that there is no strong opposition against Obaseki and he will win convincingly, " the Governor Wike said.
According to Governor Wike, the description of Pastor Ize-Iyamu as a bad product that cannot be sold to Edo people, by the former APC national Chairman has already boosted the PDP and Governor Godwin Obaseki's campaign immensely. It makes it easy for the Governor to now concentrate his campaign on issues of governance and his numerous achievements in the last four years. Sadly, Pastor Ize-Iyamu has nothing to offer Edo people, except the emoty promises, which even Oshiomhole has dismissed by telling the world that Ize Iyamu lies too much.
The only hope the APC is relying on now, according to Governor Wike, is to rig the Edo State Governorship elections, because it knows that the people of the State will not buy the bad product Oshiomhole is presenting as the Party's candidate in the September 19 Governorship elections.
This has prompted the Rivers Governor to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, to leave a lasting democratic legacy behind, by ensuring that the Edo State guber election is free and fair and devoid of the intimidation and threatened subversion of the electoral laws, which some APC members are planning to unleash on Edo people on election day.
The Rivers State Governor in the special AIT interview, also praised the recents efforts of the PDP in resolving internal party conflicts and saluted the courage and magnanimity of the other aspirants in the Edo guber primaries, who decided to work together to support the candidature of Governor Obaseki who is the Party's flag bearer.
"It was not easy to have a sole candidate for the Party in Edo state. People thought there will be problems, given the fact that Obaseki was coming from another Party. But Party members who are grounded and believe in the Party didn't see any sacrifice too much to make".
He noted the success recorded by the PDP in conducting free and fair Party primaries in Edo state and Ondo states, adding that he and his team accepted the responsibility to lead the campaign in Edo because they are satisfied with results coming out already from Edo State.
He commended the Delta State Governor and South South Governors Forum Chairman, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for his impressive efforts in strengthening the nation's democracy with the promotion of internal politics and resolving conflict of interests of members to achieve common goals.
"That is exactly what Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the Chairman of South-South States' Governors had done. He is making sure that we are all on the same page to ensure that all States in the South-South are controlled by the PDP," he stated.
Indeed, only very few people will disagree with the Edo State PDP Governorship
Campaign Council Chairman on his comprehensive political analysis and especially on the electoral truism that you cannot sell a bad product, no matter how many times you kneel down to beg the people .
From all indications, it is obvious that Edo people are already in agreement with Governor Wike on this matter.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers StateOMOKOSHABAN