By Emmanuel Uffot
After the Adams Oshiomhole’s orchestrated APC hurricane swept Governor Godwin Obaseki away from the party given his quest for second term, the coast is now clear for Ize-Iyamu to confront Governor Obaseki again in the forthcoming Edo governorship election in September 19 this year, in what has turn out to be a reverse picture in the eyes of political followers.
To arrive at this, Ize-Iyamu who had been the reason for Governor Obaseki’s disqualification from the party primaries to pave way for him, emerged the expected governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC in a formality party primaries. Few days after, Governor Obaseki who had read the handwriting on the world, and ferried to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP also clinched the party ticket to contest for second term thereby setting the stage for a repeat battle between Ize- Iyamu, a PDP governorship candidate in 2016 now in APC and Governor Obaseki, the APC candidate then, now flying the flag of opposition PDP.
Although pockets of other parties will also field their candidates for the coming Edo governorship election, but the duo who were major contenders in 2016 but in reverse parties they find themselves today, are also this time around the major contenders barring APC dousing the roaring flame trying to eclipse the chances of their candidate not swept away by the various litigations, rulings and technicalities like the Rivers and Zamfara scenario.
However with the emergence of Governor Obaseki as PDP candidate to face Ize-Iyamu of APC whom he defeated in 2016, many analysts and political pundits are already making permutations on either the bright chance of the governor winning the September election or his slim chance having to contest under an opposition party.
For many, the governor still has a fair chance of brushing aside whatever ‘might’ the APC will put out for their candidate to clinch the election. What many believe will work in favour of the governor apart from being an incumbent is the fact that the wings of his albatross Oshiomhole has been clipped by the Appeal Court upholding his suspension as APC National Chairman which has been sealed by the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC hitherto headed by him on President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval.
Another issue analysts feel will also work for Obaseki, is the disaffection of many APC members and Chieftains both in Edo and national over Oshiomhole’s conducts in his inordinate bid to deny the governor his second term because of their squabbles which they find unacceptable.
Prominent among the chieftains in the state angered by the way the suspended APC national chairman has been handling issues of the party in a rather dictatorial manner is John Oyegun whom Oshiomhole succeeded as national chairman. Oyegun was one of those voices in Edos that raised objection to the mock primaries in Abuja that earlier pick Ize- Iyamu and the disqualification of Governor Obaseki by the screening all which were attributed to Oshiomhole’s hand work. In this regard, it is the thinking of many political followers, that Oyegun and those sharing his sentiments against the former party national chairman autocratic disposition would not touch any candidate associated with him with a 12 metres pole.
Beyond that, the defection of Governor Obaseki to APC with his legion of supporters has nonetheless weaken APC in the state ahead of the election. And with the leadership of the party in disarray with the suspension of the former national chairman, the dissolution of his led NWC, the Victor Gaidom factor insistence on being the recognised acting national chairman and the moves by aggrieved NWC members to seek redress, are also factors that could weaken APC chances in the election.
Many equally believed that in his four years as governor Obaseki may have touched many lives and may have also impacted on some areas through projects and economic empowerment. This they believe will also count in his favour. Again, like some APC members that are uncomfortable with Oshiomhole’s conduct as national chairman which they say has cost them some states, many people in Edo going by their condemnation of the way the governor was denied his right to contest by the NWC manipulated disqualification may have given their support to the governor to express their grievance with the former national chairman.
Indeed it has been a turbulent journey for Governor Obaseki in the past one year since he fell out of favour with his godfather Oshiomhole over ire-conciliable differences bothering on party supremacy in the state.
Ever since, Edo has been in the news with the open relatively ‘dirty’ fight between an enstranged godson and his godfather with the fight zeroed to the former national chairman vowing to deny the governor his second term and the later insisting that it is his constitutional right to seek re-election even in another platform which he has done.
However as the clock ticks towards the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, there is apprehension among the people that the election will be anything but peaceful, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has already raised that concern.