Open Letter to Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu
By Sunny Oduware-Uwadiae
Dear Mr Ize-Iyamu,
You are aware that since the start of this campaign I have vociferously expressed doubts about your integrity and credibility. I have addressed you as “POInocchio” and called you a “fake pastor” as a result of my doubts. I have even done caricatures of you. By this open letter I avail you the opportunity to put all doubts about your personality to rest. I do this in the spirit of fair play and trust that you will grab this opportunity with both hands. My mind is open.
To be succinct, and for the benefit of those who are so busy that they only have time enough for an executive summary, I would like you to answer these three SIMPLE questions.
Firstly, are you currently a member of either the Pyrates Confraternity or Ogboni Fraternity or both? Many of us Nigerians have come to accept membership of secret societies as an inextricable part of our culture. However, what most of us cannot accept is for a pastor of a Pentecostal church to also belong to a cult or secret society. To clear the air, you need to publicly denounce these societies.
Secondly, do you have any employment history, work experience and human and resource management experience outside the political offices you held? You cannot convince me that you can manage the resources of Edo State judiciously unless you share with me your human and resource management experience. In particular, what did you do for a living during the years 1987-1999 and 2007-2016? The SIMPLE way to clear the air on this matter is for you to update your biography at your official website.
Finally, if you become governor of Edo State, will you probe the murder of my kinsmen who were assassinated from 1992 to date? We as a people must learn to respect the sanctity of human life. Starting from 2016, it should become the norm that when one Edo person dies an untimely death, the rest must cry out and take necessary actions to ensure that it does not happen again. To answer this question you can simply update your official campaign website to say that you will unearth the truth about all murders in Edo State dating back to 1992 when George Idah was murdered.
I will now delve into greater details as to why each of the three questions should be answered and what a satisfactory answer would look like.
I have watched the video of your confession that you joined the proscribed Pyrates Confraternity when you were a student at Uniben. In that video you explained the circumstances leading to your rustication from Uniben for two years. Anyone who went to university in Nigeria during the 1980s would realise that you were not forthright, to say the least. Rival cults do not meet for an amicable settlement as you claimed. Instead, when a member of a cult is attacked, his fellow cult members carry out a revenge attack. Therefore, I put it to you that when you took a group of your fellow cultist to confront the people who attacked a member of your cult, it was a revenge mission and it ended with the pouring of acid on the face of a member of the rival cult. As leader of the mission, you are culpable and answerable for the crime committed by the group. Therefore, having served the punishment for that crime, you could have owned up to it and asked for forgiveness.
In that video, (that can be found on you tube using the search keywords “Ize-Iyamu cultist confession”) you lost the opportunity to clear the air about the rumour that you are still a member of the Pyrates Confraternity and Ogboni. You failed to renounce your membership there and then. As you are aware, any member of Pyrates Confraternity and Ogboni who publicly renounces their membership is never allowed back into the group. Therefore, to dispel the rumours, I expected you to say “I am no longer a member of Pyrates Confraternity. I am not a member of Ogboni or any secret society. I am a pastor of a Pentecostal church and my faith forbids me from being a member of a secret cult.” If you had made this proclamation, most people, including my humble self would have been very willing to forgive you past mistakes and accept that you are a reformed character. After all, we all made similar mistakes when we were young.
Do not get me wrong. I do not have any problems with you joining a secret society. I am aware that there are lots of highly placed Nigerian politicians who belong to such secret societies. It is even likely that some of your opponents in this election also belong to cults. Some of my best friends and some members of my extended family belong to secret cults. What I have a problem with is for a pastor of a Pentecostal church to also be a member of a secret cult. That is hypocrisy of the highest order. I do not think that Edo State wants to be ruled by a hypocrite. The Bible you preach says you cannot serve God and Mammon. The Bible described hypocrites as whitewashed sepulchres and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Are you a whitewashed sepulchre? Are you one of the wolves in sheep’s clothing masquerading as a pastor?
Being a pastor gives you an advantage over your opponents. It confers on you an aura of grace and conformity with the will of God. However, you must know that there are thousands of fake pastors out there. They were called charlatans in the early church. It is possible that since 1984 you have been working towards becoming governor of Edo State and that you became a pastor as a deft political move. Unless you completely dissociate yourself from secret cults, it will ring true that you joined the pastoral calling to advance your political ambition.
Much said on the issue of the need for you to publicly renounce membership of any secret society. I should now expatiate on the question of your incomplete biography.
I have perused all profiles and biographies on you on the internet. Whereas they all establish that you graduated from Uniben in 1986 and left Law School in 1987, and whereas they all mention that you were ordained a pastor in 1995 and served in the Lucky Igbinedion’s cabinet from 1999-2007, they are all completely silent on what you did during the years from 1987-1999 and 2007-2016. Thus, over 20 years is unaccounted for in you biography. Consequently, the following questions arise:
1. Why did you deliberately omit the years from 1987-1999 from your biography?
2. Why did you not name a law firm you worked at?
3. Did you pass Law School?
4. If you passed Law School, did you complete NYSC?
5. If you completed NYSC, have you ever worked or owned a business?
6. What is your employment history from 1987 to 1999 when you became Chief of Staff?
7. Beside “loyalty and trust” what qualified you to be Chief of Staff and later, SSG?
8. What have you been doing for a living since 2007 to date?
9. Have you ever managed people in an employment environment outside your political employment?
10. Have you ever managed resources?
In my research, I discovered that Godwin Obaseki challenged you to publish your employment or business history. There is no evidence that you have taken him up on this challenge. Your answers to the questions above will help the people of Edo State decide who the better qualified candidate is between you and Godwin Obaseki. The longer you delay in answering these questions the more the rumour will spread that you have always been “the hit man in the dark” of Lucky Igbinedion.
It is not enough for your supporters to chant “unripe mango” and for APC to retort “rotten mango”. Unless you can convince everyone that you have demonstrable and verifiable work experience most people will deduce that you are indeed the “unripe mango” in this race.
Yours is the first profile and biography I have seen with so many missing years. Suppose you are fortunate enough to be elected governor, would you employ any person whose biography or Curriculum Vitae has 20 missing weeks? Your biography has over 20 missing years! Not weeks; not months but 20 years! I would not expect Edo State people to elect you as governor unless you can tell them what you did during the years from 1987-1999 and 2007-2016.
It would be a lame excuse if you said the omission was unintended and inadvertent. A man of 54 does not forget over 20 years of his life history without a cogent reason. So, if you do not mind me asking, how come you left over 20 years out of your biography? Arguably, the first 10 years after graduation are the formative years of your future career. Why would you leave that out? It is pertinent, very pertinent information. Could you please tell everyone what you did between 1987 and 1999 to prepare you for your career in politics?
In the forthcoming election, the contest is between Godwin Obaseki and you. I have read Godwin Obaseki’s biography and found that every week of his life is accounted for. I have also studied his employment history and found it impressive. However, I have not been able to compare his work experience with yours because there is no record of your work experience anywhere; not even at your official campaign website. So, unless you urgently publish your employment history I would have to conclude that you either have no employment history or that you have indeed been working underground for Lucky Igbinedion all these years. Sections of your biography at your website lend credence to the latter.
Your biography at your official campaign website says you “became one of the operational planks that saw to the election of Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion, as the then Chairman of Oredo Local Government Council, Benin City, in 1983”. What does this mean? I know that Lucky Igbinedion was elected Oredo LGA chairman in 1987 (or was it 1983?). You were either a University of Benin or Law School student at that time. At best, you had just completed Law School. Are you telling me that you were so politically active for LNI at a time when your mates were studying? Do you now see why I asked whether you passed Law School? Are you telling us that you left university and went straight into politics? You would not describe yourself as a “political plank” unless you were more than influential in winning the election for him.
Your biography went on to say you were “appointed as the Chief of Staff, Government House, Edo State, under the administration of Dr. Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion, Executive Governor of Edo State- an evidence of the virtues of loyalty and trust”. Where did you demonstrate this loyalty and trust between 1987 and 1999? Were you already working for Lucky at that time? If you were working for LNI; in what capacity? It is ominous that you used the words “loyalty and trust” to explain why Lucky made you his second in command. Loyalty and trust are two qualities men of the underworld revere dearly. I would have thought that competence and experience were more essential characteristic in governance.
My investigations revealed that you are the first person to be appointed Chief of Staff to a politically elected governor of Edo State. When was the decision made to create this office and why was it made? I suspect that in his bid to reward you for the various “loyal and trusted” work you did for him, LNI created this office to make you his official sergeant at arms and second in command ahead of the SSG. When you became SSG later on, who was the Chief of Staff?
Much said about the need for you to give us a complete biography or profile of yourself. Whilst looking forward to you accounting for the missing years I now move on to a controversial but far more important issue.
In a truly democratic society, no one is above the Law and no group constitutes a law unto itself. This has not been the case in Edo State. The high and mighty still acts with impunity and gets away with murder. That has to change.
In a truly democratic society, the sanctity of human life is sacrosanct. Everyone is equal and some are NOT more equal than others. The life of a beggar on the street is as sacred as the life of the state governor. Therefore, no one has the right to take the life of another. This too has not been the case in Edo State.
It is on record that the during the period from 1992 to 2007 Edo State witnessed over 8 high profile assassinations on the streets of Benin City. People who committed these murders got away with it. It is also on record that they years between 1983 and 2007 were the worst years of students’ cult crimes in Edo State. I refrain from insinuating that the spike in crime rate coincided with your rise (along with your loyal and trusted friend, Lucky Igbinedion) to political power in Edo State. What is more important to me and all well meaning Nigerians is that this sordid past does not repeat itself.
When I raised this issue in a previous post, some people expressed the view that we should forget the past. Those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat mistakes of the past. We cannot learn from our sordid and decadent past unless we confront it frontally by looking back at all those murders with a view to shedding light on who committed them and how they managed to avoid the short arm of our law. Thereafter, we can put structures in place to ensure that no one is able to commit such a crime and cover it up in future. This is how political systems grow.
Therefore, Mr Ize-Iyamu, is it important to you that such murders are never again experienced in Edo State? Are you going to set up a cross party committee to investigate every single murder since 1992 and publish their report? Will you pledge to ensure that political killings, murders and cult crimes are confined to our past if you become governor of Edo State? My vision is for four good years with no single political assassination.
Finally, I want to thank you and Godwin Obaseki for your interests in serving Edo State. I hope you appreciate the fact that my questions arise from my love and passion for the state. Gone are the days when elections were won by the sharing of rice and money. We are moving towards an era when those aspiring to positions of office will be x-rayed thoroughly. The questions I have asked you today will ensure that the people of Edo State know more about you.
I reiterate that my mind is open. The ball is now in your court. Will you take this opportunity to renounce or denounce membership of secret cults? Are you ready to shed light on how you earned a living from 1987 to 1999 and from 2007 to 2016? Are you going to commit to investigate all political murders since 1992 and promise that your government will not tolerate such?
I humbly await your response.
Dr Sunny Uwadiae