By Suleiman Umaru
More facts have emerged why the political battle for control of the south-south state of Edo in the September 19, 2020, governorship election between the People’s Democratic party , PDP and the All Progressive Congress, APC, is very fierce .
This is because of the battle for supremacy between Godwin Obaseki, the state governor, who incidentally was a former political ally of Adams Oshiomhole, a Court sacked National Chairman of the APC. Note that Oshiomhole was a one –time governor of the state.
Note that the dismissed APC, National Chairman, was said to have used his political clout as a former governor of the state to prepare the ground for Obaseki’s emergence as the governorship Candidate of the party, in the 2016, and subsequent victory in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, organised election, by beating Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a Pastor and PDP, Candidate to it.
The relationship between Obaseki and Oshiomhole may have gone sour because of the refusal of the former to allow his alleged godfather run the Affairs of the government from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The relationship may have worsened in the last two years forcing Obaseki to decamp to the Opposition PDP with the party machinery and paraphernalia of office.
This may have forced Oshiomhole to look in the direction of Ize-Iyamu, the then PDP, governorship Candidate in the 2016 election in the state. The former Edo state governor wants to prove that Obaseki is no threat to him in Edo politics. He wants to sho w Nigerians that if he could install Obaseki in 2016 as the Edo sate governor, he will repeat same in 2020 by installing Ize-Iyamu, as the next state governor of the state. But Obaseki wants to prove him wrong , describing him as political feather weight.
There had been accusations and counter-accusations between the key players in the two major parties in the state over plot to rig the election . Reall that Obaseki had accused Oshiomhole and Hosa Okunbo, a retired Naval Captain, shipping magnate and Chairman, Marine Solutions Nigeria Limited , MSNL, of holding a secret meeting with thugs and paying them upfront in order to rig the September 19, 2020, election in favour of Ize-Iyamu, the APC Candidate.
Given the fact that president Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo including Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and the Party National Leader do not want what happened in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa states in the 2015, general election to repeat itself in Edo, they were said to have endorsed the APC Candidate which had strengthened the resolve of the party Chieftains in the state to win the election at all costs.. They may have taken the bold decision to endorse and support Ize-Iyamu, to avoid division in the party that may give the PDP an edge over the party in the election.
Political Observers believe that the plot by the two major parties, PDP and APC, to win the election at all costs may have created political tension in the state. They noted that the tension had been worsened by the crisis rocking the state House of Assembly.
Recall that Oshiomhole , the APC , former National Chairman had camped fourteen of the Lawmakers in Abuja, forcing Obaseki, the governor, to make a proclamation for the ten other Lawmakers who turned out to take the Oath of office. He may have Camped hem in his Abuja base with the intention to win their heart in order produce the Principal officers of the house and prepare the ground to impeach Obaseki . He go it wrong.
T Oshiomhole may have known that a misstate had been made that he and his allies had moved to take over the House with the approach of the September 19, governorship election. He was said to have mobilised the APC leadership to piled up pressure on the governor to make a proclamation for the inauguration of the House
. But Dan Orbih, Edo PDP Chairman Campaign Council, may have dashed the hope of the APC leaders to think that the governor will make another proclamation. He was said to have told the APC, political jobbers that’’ once a proclamation is made by the governor, the law prevents him from making another’’.
Aware that APC had lost the battle to control the House may have informed why Tinubu, regarded as the godfather of south west politics, had accused Obaseki, who was elected in the 2016 , governorship on the APC ticket and now the PDP Candidate in the upcoming election of ’’resorting to the tactics of dictators o deal with the Edo Assembly Crisis’’. Many believe that the Comment may have fueled the tension in the state.
Perhaps to prepare the mind of the people of the state to be watchful in order to forestall the election being hijacked by the desperate power hungry APC, Chieftains , Philip Shuaibu, the state deputy governor and who is also Obaseki running –mate in PDP, had raised alarm of the plot ‘’to assassinate some high profile personalities in the state’. He had claimed that the state government had received information through intelligence gathering that Thugs were in the state noting that ‘’their assignment is to assassinate certain known individuals’’. He may have alluded to the fact that those on the mercenaries hit list are from the ruling PDP in the state.
The aggrieved Edo state deputy governor had said at a recent press briefing in Benin , the state Capital that the state government had aleady communicated to the Heads of the various security agencies in the state about’’ the activities of the thugs and why they are in the state’’.
He may have known that the Heads of the security agencies are handicapped to take major decision without Abuja interference that he had appealed to the Katsina state born Nigerian President and Commander –In- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chairman, National Security Council, NSC, to intervene to save the security situation of the state from degenerating. He was said to have pleaded with the President to charge the security agencies personnel in the state ‘’to do their work by tackling the security issues as the state ‘’is not a theatre of war’’.
It is instructive to note that Oshiomhole and his political allies are determined to deliver Edo state to APC, by employing every known political tactics. This may have informed why Ize-Iyamu, the party governorship Candidate who flagged- off his electioneering Campaign had said that he will clear the 18 local government areas of the state during the election.
The feelers coming out from the troubled Edo state ahead of the governorship election may have sent a warning signal to the International Community that all is not well with the state for now. This may have informed why the United States , US, government last Friday through its Embassy in Abuja, had expressed concern over the deteriorating Edo political Climate, stressing that that ‘’it is disappointed with the role played by the key political actors in the state’’.
The North American continent country however,, said ‘’it supports a democratic process where the will of the people is reflected in the results of an election. The Donald Trump led US, government had made it clear that ’’ it does not support any party or Candidate in the Edo governorship election.
Even Ike Ekweremadu, a former Deputy Senate President in the 8th National Assembly was said to have advised the key players of the two major parties, PDP, and APC, to give the people of the state the opportunity ‘’to exercise their Franchise and elect who they want as their leader’’.
An angry Ekweremadu, who could not hide his feelings had called on the players irrespective of the party affiliation to desist from any act that will threaten the young Nigerian democracy .’’What is happening in the Niger delta state is an affront to democracy, I believe it is not supposed to be so’’, he had said. The former Deputy Senate President ,lamented that ‘’ the issue and attitude of bringing in tugs, security men to come and determine the will of the people is anti-democracy’’.
Ewuare Ogidgan II, the Oba of Benin, who do not want to be dragged into the crisis in the state of either supporting the PDP Candidate or the APC Candidate , had told the people of the state that the ‘’Palace does not meddle into partisan politics , insisting that he has no Special Candidate when it comes to who becomes the governor of Edo state.
Recall that the duo, Obaseki, the PDP Candidate and Ize-Iyamu, the APC, Candidate had both paid courtesy calls to the royal father in his Benin palace in order to receive his royal blessing.