By Prince Ovbiebo Smith
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has made true the adage that you can take a thief or a criminally violent person out of detention, but you cannot take the act itself out of that person. It is a fact of history that during the election of Chief Lucky Igbinedion as Local govt Chairman in the late 80s, Osagie Ize-Iyamu was arrested for illegal possession of firearms. He was found culpable for that criminal act, and was in detention for a very long time. This accounts for the reason why he didn’t play any role in the 1999 election that brought Lucky Igbinedion in as governor of Edo State, for fear of being detained again. His love for violence was re-enacted recently, when in one of the meetings of the PDP strategic campaign team in Benin, (while he was still in the party), he suggested the idea of supplying guns to some of the cult boys he was to recruit for the election. But, when he was reminded that such a suggestion should not come from him as a pastor, he rebuffed it, saying that he was more interested in winning the election than being labelled as a pastor who could not win an election.
Blast from his past
Osagie Ize-Iyamu, was the only son of his father, Pa Robert Ize-Iyamu, who was conscripted into the Ogboni confraternity at a young age. He was their drummer boy, and was present in most of the ceremonies of the cult at e’gedege’ n’okao, in order to carry out his official assignment. This singular act of cult membership during his teenage years had a spill-over effect on his character and this also gravely affected his academic conduct in school. For example, when he was in class 3 at Edo College, during a particular exam Osagie was caught cheating and was consequently punished for examination malpractice. He lost a year in secondary school and this accounts for why he entered the 5-year secondary school programme (as it was then) in 1973, but did not graduate with his mates in 1978, but left in 1979. Osagie Ize-Iyamu while at Edo College was found of stealing the personal belongings of other students. He did this with impunity. Before he got to form 4, he was notorious for arranging the raping of young girls who innocently ventured around the school premises. In fact, he gave the act the acronym of UAC (Use and Clean), which became his guy name at Edo College.
The cheating antics in the character of Osagie Ize-Iyamu is similar to what dark variegated patches are to the skin of a leopard. Instead of raping grown up girls, he now pays to satisfy that urge in him. Psychologists have since established a common trend in violent people who turn to religion for transformation. They get back to their old ways wherever and whenever trigger factors are present in their social endeavours. In the case of Osagie Ize-Iyamu, his trigger factor is money and politics. No man can be a servant of God and mammon at the same time. Ize-Iyamu’s love for the politics of money transfers from the top is unrivalled. You can’t go through this process without activating certain anti-social traits in you. Stealing, violence and cheating have always been a recurrent trait in Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and these three factors can only be exorcized from him if he is confined to a monastery outside Edo for a long period of time. Otherwise, it will be foolhardy for anyone to suggest that because he became a born again pastor his old ways suddenly disappeared. That is false!