Edo 2016: Obaseki In The Crowded Governorship Race
The task to govern the old mid-western region which was one of the most resourceful and intelligent region in Nigeria before the creation of the then Bendel state and now Edo state is certainly not an easy task. All the states within the then mid-western region are always the most eventful state during elections. The high level of human resource in Edo state makes it cumbersome and complex in chosen a particular candidate in a political party. Surely not like one of those jobs for the boys. Apart from been a dicey game, it’s completely engaging and very complicated due to the level of interest that is involve. ‘It’s not one hell of a job for those who delight in sheer vainglory.”
Edo state is not one of those states to test popularity or play down on the human capital capacity and experience. As a traditional and a cultural state, it is one state that has always spelt out the basic qualities and expectations of their governorship candidate and does not compromise on that especially after their dark period with the PDP. As the race to the Edo Government house heats up, Godwin Obaseki is the governorship hopeful to watch out for.
With his strategic experience in politics, policy, diplomacy, practical governance, and skill in raising Internal Generated Revenue especially in a time like now, when every government seek for other means of generating revenue. Edo State would be glad and lucky to have Godwin Obaseki as their governor. On a daily basis the path to his governorship bid keep on illuminating due to various endorsement and support with the believe and confidence that Obaseki knows every policy of government inside and outside.
As the momentum gathers for the Edo 2016 governorship election, political merchant in the state are more interested in selling their political wares of doom and destruction rather than fashioning ways of improving the lots of the people.The floor has been thrown open for aspirants to indicate their interest. The battle over who control the political structure has been a recurring problem in the politics of Edo state. While Oshiomhole is trying to have a firm grip on whom succeed him others are referring to him as a dictator and a godfather who don t want to loosen his grip over the state APC. The comrade governor on his part is afraid of loosen his grip to disloyal party members so that Edo state will not return to the bondage it was before he took over. Desmond Tutu once said; ‘If you are neutral In situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality” In this tight struggle of supremacy, who is the selfish gladiator here? Is it the governor who doesn’t want to handover the state to the dark forces or the party aspirant who feel the governor should play an umpire role like Jega?
This is indeed delicate and tension soaked times for the people of Edo. The state is perching on the horns of dilemma, and anarchy is looming as forces are challenging comrade Adams Oshiomhole for preferring Mr. Godwin Obaseki yet the same governing was also encouraging more aspirant to aspire on the plum job. Due to the unstable body language of the governor, political analyst has fixed their eyes on the deputy chief whip of the senate and the only APC senator in Edo state. As a national leader and the senator representing the governor’s senatorial district, analyst believe that Senator Francis Alimikhena should have access to the governor’s joker hence all eyes are on Alimikhena in order to interpret the governor’s interest. Once the deputy chief whip of the senate pitches his tent with any guber aspirant, the political permutation and calculation is that the deal is seal by the virtue of his tight relationship with the governor.
One of the major issues that will sharp the Edo governorship contest is zoning. In his book Zoning to Unzone: The politics of Power and The Power of Politics, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said, ‘the way and manner the word Zoning is lavishly used as a political concept, has the tendency of creating situations capable of cataclysmic effects thereby leaving the polity at the mercy of regressive forces.” However, many aspirants from other zones have also join the race in the spirit of participatory democracy. To the people of Edo South who has been favor by zoning, this bring to the fore the personality, capacity, and credibility of the aspirants jostling for the soul of the state.Opportunity beckons on them to fine-tune their political warehouse and agree on a consensus candidate ahead of the party’s primaries. Consensus is a very valid tool for democratic decision making.It is only such group solidarity in sentiment and believe that can foster unity among the Edo South politicians otherwise it may turn out to become the case of Delta where the Delta North almost lost out in the governorship contest that was zone to them due to too many interest.
Political merchant in the people’s Democratic Party (PDP) are not left out in the race to succeed Adams Oshiomhole. The clash of various PDP political lords is an issue that may further give APC an edge. It is no longer news that Senator Ehigie Uzamere is eyeing Oshiomhole’s seat in Edo State government house. Pastor Ize Iyamu has been swinking from one political party to the other to seek relevance. As a former SSG to Governor Lucky Igbenedion he may not achieve his objective because the public opinion believe that he was part of the wasted years’ experience during the days of political bondage of the state. The politic and power tussle between him and the former BOT chairman of PDP Chief Tony Anenih in the struggle for the party structure may also play out now as a factor that may work against him. The silence of Mr. Fix is more dangerous than his comment. Senator Uzamere who has benefited from the APC before jumping to the PDP may face double rejection because both the PDP and the APC may have lost confidence in his credibility. In 2011 Senator Uzamere was rejected by his own people until the invention of Oshiomhole who he later refers to as a dictator and the God father of the APC. Both the APC and the PDP are in the horse race formulating strategies to outwit each other in the general election.
Prior to Obaseki’s entry into the governorship race, there have been speculations over Oshiomhole likely preference as his successor, even as names of his alleged anointed candidate keep changing in rapid succession. As these speculations fostered, the governor kept a steady silence. But with Obaseki joining the race it appears the governor has played his trump card.While he has not openly endorsed Obaseki, all indications point to the fact that Obaseki is the favored candidate as Oshiomhole successor. The clearest indication that Governor Adams Oshiomhole is positively disposed to a particular candidate is his choice of Obaseki as his representative in several social functions. For prominent Edo leaders, Obaseki is the next Edo Governor. The courage of Obaseki is currently causing apprehension among the governorship aspirant. The peace in APC was threatened by the Governors endorsement of Obaseki. The situation became worse when the state chairman of APC Mr. Aslem Ojezua warn APC loyalist that Oshiomhole preference for Obaseki is not imposition. According to him, ‘it was the governors right to state who he prefers as his successor: but that will not stop the party from conducting primaries and provide a level playing field for everyone. The good will of the anointed have so much to do in determining whether the anointing will work or not.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the incumbent governor hold a key to who get the party ticket. It was allege that there would soon be a team up against the governor’s candidate. In 2007 the Edo State Opposition party ACN (now APC) accused the PDP that endorsement is the same as imposition. But now in 2016 the same APC leaders are now saying that endorsement is not imposition but a mere statement of expressing preference without prejudice to the party. As a comrade governor and former NLC boss we have no doubt that he is capable to peacefully handle the task ahead. The governor’s romance with the senator representing Edo North senator Alimikhena on his successor shows that consultation is still ongoing and no candidate has been anointed for the plum job. In the multitude of gossip the truth is been told. With the kind of influence that Godwin Obaseki wield he appears to be the most prepared man for the job but politics is too dice to predict. The game of politics changes like human breath. In seconds so many things can happen. Split of seconds Cadbordaoxide can be exchange for oxygen.
PDP is going through serious reformation and a party that is going through such reformation need not win an election. APC victory will be better for Edo State because reformation can only happen when PDP maintain their space as an opposition party. A reform opposition PDP will be an asset but a victorious PDP will spell disaster for the state because APC cannot be a good opposition from the center. The incumbent governor of the state comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole is known to have put Nigeria on the spot as NLC president. He repeatedly organized strikes and mass mobilization against government in his effort to fight for the good of the Nigeria workforce. As a leader who has a nitch for his nation no doubt that he has serve and still serving Edo state with such passion. The current abused that some individual and groups are publishing against the governor were part of the reasons why late Gani Fawehinmi warn that Oshiomhole should run for presidency and not governorship election due to his exposure and zeal in fighting for Nigerians irrespective of various police detentions and arrest. As NLC Boss Oshiomhole determine his own successor. Now as a governor it cannot be otherwise. Every good leader must transfer his mantle of leadership on his trusted follower. The bible told us about Elijah and Elisha. The people of Edo state will not forgive the comrade governor if he fails to handover the state in a safe hand. As I drop my pen let me remind my readers that ‘’the greatest failure of a leader would happen if he has no follower who is worthy to continue from where he stops. Edo must not return to Egypt.
Personal Assistant Media to
Senator Francis Alimikhena
Deputy Chief whip of the senate.
A public affairs analyst
Wrote from Abuja