Oshiomhole, Odubu Feud Must Not Bring Edo State To Its Knees

Source: thewillnigeria.com

BEVERLY HILLS, May 10, (THEWILL) – The rumoured mutual suspicion between the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy, Mr. Pius Odubu, has snowballed into an open confrontation. The feud is linked to Odubu's avowed determination to succeed his boss in the governorship election due to hold in September this year.

While Oshiomhole is reportedly opposed to the candidacy of his deputy, he is giving tacit support to another aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, APC ticket, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. Of late, the simmering hostility between the first two Edo citizens degenerated into mudslinging, peaking with allegations and counter-allegations. The Governor had fired the first salvo, accusing his deputy of attempting to kill him with fetish powers. The deputy denied it, pledging loyalty to his boss.

But their quarrel took a twist last week when Odubu, who was on a statewide consultation to woo delegates ahead of party primary, was allegedly attacked by gunmen at Auchi, the Governor's home front. Odubu blamed it on Oshiomhole, who also dismissed it, describing the attack as staged-managed to divert attention and whip up sentiments.

Just last weekend, Obaseki and his supporters were also attacked at Sobe, Owan Local Government Area, when armed men shot sporadically at them during a campaign stomp.

Close watchers are however worried that this development is getting worse by the day. Unless urgent steps are taken, there are indications that it might trigger violence during or after the election. This much was deduced last week when the animosity seeped into the state House of Assembly, where sporadic shootings heralded the impeachment of Speaker Victor Edoror and his deputy, Bright Osayande.

While gross misconduct was claimed to be the reason for the impeachment of the two principal officers, they were immediately replaced by Mrs Elizabeth Ativie and Joseph Okonobo as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.

THEWILL cautions these gladiators to sheath their swords in the interest of greater Edo people. We warn that personal interests of politicians should never be allowed to override the delivery of democratic dividends to the people who elected them to serve; neither should such interests thwart the peace of the state. This running battle is like the proverbial fight between two elephants which only leaves the grass (the Edo people) to bear the brunt.

In unraveling the remote and immediate cause of Odubu's attack, we demand that whoever is found culpable should be made to face the law, especially as the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has taken over the investigations.

The APC in the state is better advised to note that this succession crisis would only lead to division in its fold, which the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would gladly exploit to victory. In line with the dictates of democracy, everyone's right to aspire must remain sacrosanct with a level playing field provided for all the aspirants.

We fear that Edo State cannot go into an election under the kind of tension that is currently building up in view of the Bayelsa and Rivers experience. It is condemnable that the personal interests of the two leaders are threatening to tear the state apart. Oshiomhole should reciprocate the favour done him by the Edo people who allowed him to serve for two terms, by not imposing anybody on the people as his successor.

We dare say that it will pay the Governor more to stay neutral in this race, following the heartbreaks and disappointments many a former governor have suffered in the hands of their successors, who they railroaded and helped into office. As a strong advocate of 'one man, one vote', THEWILL does not expect Oshiomhole to appropriate unto himself millions of votes needed to produce his successor.

We insist that the current situation which has polarized the executive and legislature along narrow interests will not augur well for good governance and democracy. THEWILL therefore calls on President Muhammadu Buhari, other national leaders of the APC and concerned stakeholders in the state to intervene swiftly to avert the possible loss of innocent lives. The nation already has too many problems to contend with such that a do-or-die election in Edo should not be added in the mix.