Iago is a character in Shakespeare’s play, Othello. He is a senior officer in the Venetian army under the command of its general, Othello. Many scholars see Iago as the most inherently evil of all of Shakespeare’s villains. He spends the course of the play relentlessly plotting Othello’s downfall and his malicious scheming drives the storyline towards its tragic finale. Driven by an overpowering lust for evil rivalled only by Satan, Iago grabs the title as the worst Shakespeare villain hands down.
Iago was able to manipulate language to get others to do what he wants. He cares for no one, yet he devotes his whole life to revenge rather than walking away in disdain. He believes in cheating and lying for gain. He is snobbish, tactless, capricious and seemingly cunny. Throughout the play, characters have described Iago as an honest and trustworthy man, while not knowing the real him. While scholars think and believe that Iago was a product of Shakespeare’s creative imagination, little wonder that a reincarnation of same character has found his way into Udu in the form and person of Sir Pat Willie, a political bigot from Ubogo Town. His recent victim is a young and promising political star, Hon Justice Iyasere from the neighbouring Egini Community.
Both men attend the same Church, drink of the same cup in what is termed, Holy Communion, subscribe to the spiritual authority of the enigmatic and charming ArchBishop of Bendel Province of the Anglican Church, His Grace Dr Cyril Odutemu, yet divided by petty hatred or subterraneous wickedness by one against the other. The campaign of calumny launched recently by Sir Pat Willie against Hon Justice Iyasere over the outcome of the 2023 general elections gave Pat Willie away as the very incarnation of the villainous Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello.
Iago is a Machiavellian schemer and manipulator, as he is often referred to as “honest Iago”, displaying his skill at deceiving other characters so that not only do they not suspect him, but they count on him as the person most likely to be truthful. That depicts the very essence of Sir Pat Willie for you. Iago is a man with an obsession for control and power over others who have let this obsession take over his whole life. Necessity forces his hand, and, to destroy Othello, he must also destroy Roderigo, Emilia, Desdemona, and ultimately himself. Iago seems to enjoy ruining the lives of others. This too is the character of the vintage Pat Willie.
If that were not the case, how could Pat Willie take it upon himself to launch a subterraneous attack on Justice Iyasere over an unproven allegation of anti-party activity whereas, there is nothing that happened in Iyasere’s Egini Community that did not happen in Pat Willie’s Ubogo community? If Pat Willie were not the modern Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello, what stops him from investigating properly or even inviting his ‘brother in Christ’ to get some facts before jumping to conclusions whereas Egini Community is under the leadership of those who hate and does not want anything good to come the way of Hon Justice Iyasere?
My investigations confirmed that in all the elections Justice Iyasere has contested from the 2007 and 2011 House of Assembly elections to the 2018 and 2021 Council elections, the leader of the ward, Elegbete Moses Odibo and his supporters in Egini led by his million, Ovoke Bukaka did not support him. In everything Iyasere does, Moses Odibo and some of the Bukatas led by Ovoke and Matthew are always against him. They too are the ones championing social media crusade against him after the polls. In the last election, even though Iyasere was raised by God to be the number 2 leader in Udu ward 8 by his being an elected former Vice Chairman of the Council, he was not privileged to lead any of the 6 Egini units in the election.
Odibo assigned the jobs of delivering the 6 units in Egini to his trusted boys and he funded them. Not a dime was assigned to Iyasere to deliver the party. Justice Iyasere was given no responsibility. In the end, he voted and hung around only to be blamed by Moses Odibo for the woeful performance of the party in Egini. The question Pat Willie and Moses Odibo have failed to answer is if the PDP had won all the Units in Egini, would they have given Justice Iyasere any credit? Why is Sir Pat Willlie, who could not deliver Ubogo Community and the entire ward Four for PDP complaining about ward 8?
Ward 8 is one of the most disadvantaged wards in Udu having the misfortune of just two appointees, Justice Iyasere, an SA and Johnbul Kenairu, SSA in the current dispensation. The rest appointments that came one or two months before the elections were mere mobilization for elections. Ubogo Community is blessed with over 6 appointments yet Pat Willie could not deliver for the party. Why is he so obsessed with issues of ward 8 to now take it upon himself to campaign seriously against Iyasere as the cause of PDP’s misfortune in Udu?
Like Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello, Pat Willie has so much manipulated Moses Odibo and some other of his victims in Udu to believe the lies he sells smoothly about others. Pat Willie is, in fact, hypocritical, manipulative, cruel, unsympathetic, and vicious. He presents himself as a good, honest man, but in actuality, he is a scheming, manipulative traitor who secretly hates Odibo for denying him the opportunity to be Chairman of the Udu LGC Transition Committee 20 years ago. He is a smooth talker who deploys his native intelligence to bamboozle Moses Odibo who believes him above every other.
Some critics have characterized Iago as an example of someone with antisocial personality disorder; essayist Fred West wrote that Iago, who is “devoid of conscience, with no remorse”, is “an accurate portrayal of a psychopath”. His role is one of Othello’s outwardly loyal courtiers and friends, who hate him and scheme his downfall for choosing Cassius over him as Lieutenant. He also manipulates his friends and master into doing his bidding, eventually persuading Othello to believe that his wife, Desdemona, has been having an affair, resulting in Othello killing her in a jealous rage. This is the path Pat Willie now treads. He wants to destroy Justice Iyasere for reasons best known to him but he has failed.
The man who is branding others with the garb of anti-party is himself the very essence of the anti-party game. Before the elections, arising from his agreement with Orogun, he sent his younger sister, a serving supervisor for Agriculture in the Udu LG Council to resign and join APC. But the outcry and condemnation were massive and deafening. He therefore withdrew and advised his sister to return to the party to continue to work from the inside. The result is the loss of Ubogo community to the APC yet he would want to blame others for the woeful performance of the party in Ward 4.
Pat Willie is ruled by exaggerated pride, and belligerent competitiveness – all traits that define toxic masculinity in Shakespeare’s Iago. Shakespeare characterizes Iago as a resentful, egocentric individual who feels overlooked and undervalued by his peers. Like Pat Willie, Iago has an overblown view of his talents and worth; so, when Othello chooses Cassio over him, it enrages him greatly. Iago’s talent to manipulate the desires of those around him through the use of words made him both a powerful and a compelling figure. These traits are found in abundance in Pat Willie. He warms himself into the heart of his victims and presents the picture of an indispensable ally, yet vicious in operation.
If PDP in Udu must rise from the ashes of the 2023 woeful performance, innocent people should not be victimized and profiled by haters who are close to the authority. Schemers like Pat Willie are everywhere, dangerously seeking whom to devour. Suspects should be made to defend themselves before being pronounced guilty. The hood does not make the monk. Those who hate Justice Iyasere for no just cause are everywhere in Egini Community but the young man is loved by the masses and men of goodwill. Twice he has been denied the privilege of serving as Council Chairman, twice he took his fate with equanimity. To continue to witch-hunt him, would amount to breaking the horns of an innocent goat. Pat Willie should stay clear of ward 8 and mind the hurt of failure in his ward 4.
The only way for PDP to make progress in Udu is to do a proper diagnosis of the issues that have promoted anti-party behaviour in the last election. Udu does not hate PDP as a party but efforts should be made to promote popular candidates. Chief Jite Brown is not a bad person but he made the mistake of bringing his sister in as Vice Chairman. The people revolted against him because of the understanding that once he wins, his sister will be Chairman. That was the tragic flaw that brought the party to its knees and also boomerangs to affect the governorship election. It was an uncontrollable tsunami with unintended casualties. In the meantime, somebody should tell Pat Willie to leave Hon Justice Iyasere alone otherwise there shall be more exposition on his clumsy political escapades soon.
–Joenadab Emuakpeje, an Udu son practices Journalism in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.