Ize-Iyamu, Dan Orbih; victims of a cuckoo job By Idemudia Oviosun (PhD)

While reading the papers, I came across a story insinuating that Donald Trump may be working for the Chinese, and not the Russians as everyone seems to think. The report read: “The big story everyone is chasing at the international scene is whether President Donald Trump is a Russian stooge. Wrong. That is all a smoke screen. Trump is actually a Chinese agent. He is clearly out to make China great again”.

Then it occurred to me that the voyage embarked upon by one of the known owners of the name Pastor Ize-Iyamu has the trappings of labour that may end up benefitting the labourer’s rival.

I call it the cuckoo job. The idea of the cuckoo job is born out of how Cuckoos go and plant their eggs in other birds’ (take a pigeon for instance) nests and let the other birds hatch the cuckoo eggs, which will eventually grow bigger than the other birds and kick them out.

It is a dirty job, but that is the law of the jungle. The smarter ones outwit the gullible ones and even when the unwise ones think they are working for themselves, the real big guns come out and brush them outside.

The cuckoo job may be playing out in Nigeria now, and the funny thing is that it should not have been a cuckoo job, but the pigeons here are the ones that, unasked, undertook this cuckoo job.

Ize-Iyamu is of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Like Trump, he may not know, but he may be working for his rival, Mr. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, the candidate of the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff.

He is of a faction of the PDP that is losing the battle at the national level and if the PDP conflict is settled properly, it will turn out that Mr Iduoriyekemwen is the real PDP candidate for the Edo Election. There was even a crisis as to which faction should present the candidate for the party.

Ize-Iyamu, with his party, are challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring Godwin Obaseki of All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the governorship election.

According to INEC, Obaseki emerged winner after he polled more than 319,483 votes to defeat Mr. Ize-Iyamu, his closest rival, who scored over 250,000 votes, a result the questionable PDP candidate claims was greatly influenced by rigging and other such unjust things.

Getting some of the defendants before the Justice Ahmed Badamasi-led three-member tribunal sitting in Benin, was not an easy task for the petitioners, as stories abounded of how the Tribunal summons had to be served by hanging them on gates and fences, as the known offices and homes of the defendants had been abandoned.

So far, Ize-Iyamu and his party have not found it funny, as they have no doubt expended resources, financial and otherwise to prove their case. Many witnesses have been called to testify, and truckloads of electoral materials have been inspected.

Early in the week, after close to three months of legal battle, the parties involved adopted their final written addresses, and Justice Badamasi, who expressed satisfaction with the conduct of both counsels, said that the date for the judgment will be communicated to them.

According to Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s prayers, he is asking the tribunal to declare him winner of the election and wants INEC, to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Mr Obaseki.

Therefore, if he, after much fumbling, manages to prove his petition beyond reasonable doubt, the PDP may just emerge the ruling party in Edo State. However, a victory for the party at the Tribunal does not necessarily mean Dan Orbih and Ize-Iyamu have won the war.

In fact, their battles would have only just begun. The crisis in his party may throw up another round of contest to determine the real owner of the secured votes are.

It will be a fine conundrum for both Orbih and Ize-Iyamu, who, it was reported, were comically asked to stand up to mutually recognise each other at the court.

The faction of the party led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi nominated Ize-Iyamu. Another faction, led by national Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff nominated Matthew Iduoriyekwemwen. The latter faction seems to be the legitimately recognised faction, going by the internal battle raging in the PDP.

As things presently stand, Sen Sheriff is the authentic national Chairman of the party. On February 17, 2017, an Appeal Court sitting in Port-Harcourt ruled that Sen. Sheriff is the legitimate Chairman of the Party. A three-man panel of justices delivered the judgment.

The lead Judge, B. A. Sanga, in his judgement said that due process was not followed in the decision by the PDP convention to dissolve the Sherrif-led Chairmanship and should be disregarded.

Unsatisfied with the judgement, the Makarfi faction has appealed to the Supreme Court. The apex court is yet to fix a date to rule on the appeal. A number of organs in the party are earnestly waiting for that ruling to know the next step for the party.

So, how will Ize-Iyamu know peace if he wins at the Tribunal? If the Supreme Court rules in favour of the Makarfi faction of the party, and Ize-Iyamu wins at the Tribunal, then history will be rewritten, as he would become the next governor of the state.

However, if the apex court rules in favour of Sheriff, and he wins at the Tribunal, he may have to contend with Iduoriyekwemwen, who may come after him to claim the PDP votes in the September 28, 2016 governorship election in the state.

From previous petitions and judicial proclamations, the courts have previously ruled that the vote in any election belongs to the party, and not the individual per say, hence Iduoriyekwemwen may be tempted to claim the party’s vote.

The Edo governorship election is still likely to throw up a number of political intrigues in the coming days, which are likely to reverberate in Nigeria’s political space for some time to come.

However, this may never play out. The sanctity of Ize-Iyamu’s identity is under question at the tribunal and analysts aver that PDP is sailing against the tide, and should berth its leaking ship instead of pursuing the matter any further.

Therefore, how can we not conclude that Dan Orbih and Ize-Iyamu are not fighting a losing battle and that they are fighting it on behalf of the Sheriff faction of the PDP. The only other explanation is that he is plain naïve and, like the pigeon, he has not studied the issues or connected the dots between them.

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