Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the ‘local’ politician,By John Mayaki

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has had a long history with Edo State, but with that comes various, if not conflicting, ideas of him.

To some he is that illustrious son of the soil devoted to the welfare of fellow Edo people; to others, he is a politician rooted in one place. For the reason of the latter, some persons have termed him ‘local politician’. But is he?

For a start, to consistently be in the political scene of a state, called upon by different administrations to bring his expertise to public use, is an indicator of substance and value. And the refusal to serve one’s state, put mildly, is the real ultimate betrayal. So, what makes one who, by the virtue of his resourcefulness, is frequently called upon to serve, and he answers, often, while perhaps giving up on some other ambitions, a local politician?

The gap in this thinking, if not mischief, is evident. And becoming a popular, or frequently mentioned idea in the months immediately preceding elections, is not coincidental. This is one among the many instruments of propaganda wielded by the opposition, greatly threatened by the pastor’s widespread grassroots popularity. Yet, in a bid to mock the man of God, they resurrect an irony that holds great lessons for them.

In the Nigerian political lexicon, the word ‘structure’ suffers interpretational complexities. However, there is a common understanding whenever this word is deployed. For a politician to have a political structure implies a deep base of support and loyalty across strategic locations, areas, classes of society that is instrumental for political success. Politicians without this capacity often depend on that of their party or sponsors. In Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s case, he has the structure, much to the chagrin of his detractors, the same incapacitated politicians who call him local.

What this buttress is the shortsightedness of these propagandists who, indirectly, mock their own lack.

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