The Vultures and the Edo Governorship Tussle

868 views | Akanimo Sampson | June 26, 2019

The vultures, the political vultures of Edo State appear to be very desperate for a plundering feast. It seems they have not been having their way easily to the resources of the state since 2016. To therefore, dismantle every obstacle to pillaging the state from 2020, their scheme is to abort Governor Godwin Obaseki’s  re-election bid on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Surprisingly, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, seems to be galvanizing the abortion surgeons against Obaseki who he foisted on the state in 2016. The governor may not be a saint, but he has not been allowing the political vultures to feast with the treasury of Edo. To dislodge him from power, they are plotting to inject him with the killer Ambode virus.

In the not-too-far Lagos State, the political demi-gods of the commercial capital of Nigeria, programmed Akinwumi Ambode into Alausa in 2015 as governor. Before him have been Bola Tinubu (1999-2007) and Babatunde Fashiola (2007-2015). Arguably, by the quality of some of the development projects of Ambode, he may have outperformed those before him.

Apparently not impressed by his performance, the seeming intolerant political potentates of Eko unleashed their fangs on him. Allegedly, Ambode’s undoing was not keeping the vaults of Lagos open for the plundering king makers to feast on at the expense of his ambitious development drive. As a gentleman he appears to be, he restrained himself from fighting the entrenched political forces despite his gubernatorial powers.

Obaseki must have learnt a lesson from the gangsterist politics of Lagos, and therefore, not in the frame to allow such gangsterism in Edo. The pioneer National Chair of APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, who was a progressive governor of the state under the inconclusive transition programme of the Ibrahim Babangida military dictatorship, has been busy accusing his successor, Oshiomhole, of allegedly working to undermine Governor Obaseki.

Like they often say in some local communities, when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. In what is currently playing out in Edo APC, a supposed progressive party, it is the electorate that will suffer deprivation of the tangible dividend of democracy. The determinant of where the political pendulum will swing as 2020 approaches is the peoples of Edo. They have to choose between forces seeking to feast on the resources of the state, and those seeking to deploy them for her orderly development.

The political crisis in the state which is currently playing out in the state House of Assembly over the election of a Speaker is just a prelude to what to expect in the coming months. Already, a guarded whisper has it that those who are anxious to see the back of Obaseki at the Government House, Benin City, are showcasing a businessman from Oreos, Capt Hosa Okunbor, as his possible replacement.

In the mean time, Frank Okiye, who hails from Uromi, in Edo Central Senatorial District that emerged as the Speaker of the Legislative arm of the state government, is said not to be enjoying the blessing of Oshiomhole, who seems to be battling to be the political godfather of Edo like Tinubu in Lagos. He has been allegedly micro-managing the lawmakers to reverse the situation in a seeming bid to make a political mincemeat of Obaseki.

While the APC State Chairman, Anslem Ojezua, is said to be in a dilemma on the fierce power game in the state, some lawmakers, nine of them, are said to be on the side of Governor Obaseki, with their Speaker. The rest are with Oshiomhole.

For Odigie-Oyegun, Oshiomhole and his faction who are protesting being outwitted by the Obaseki faction in the Speakership recruitment in the Legislature, ‘’is guilty of anti-party activities by working against the interest of the governor ahead of the governorship election holding next year’’.

It is being alleged that nine out of the 24-member state House of Assembly, sat on Wednesday and recruited the principal officers of the Legislature. But the APC in a statement by their National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, stoutly condemned the action of the state legislators.

‘’As a party that has made a commitment to change, we strongly reject any attempt to recourse to brigandage of the past, when democratic practices were defined by the inordinate whims of people in power. It is an unfortunate reminder of Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) queer brand of democracy. Practices like this are unacceptable under APC-led administration’’, the APC statement said.

While the party has vowed that it will use all democratic means necessary to ensure the right thing was done, Odigie-Oyegun, speaking through his Special Assistant on Political Affairs, Ray Murphy, lamented that Obaseki was receiving the highest distractions from his own political party and not from the opposition PDP.

According to him, ‘’today, there is rancour in Edo State. They all boil down to godfatherism that is heating up the polity in the state. Obaseki is the executive governor of Edo and he should be allowed to exercise the powers vested in him by the law. To what purpose is the APC chairman putting the state under tension?

‘’As a governor under APC platform, he should be allowed to run out his tenure before they decide whether to bring him back or not. There are so many antics going on and you don’t need to be a prophet or Babalawo to trace where they are coming from. They are coming from the APC.’’

The pioneer APC national chairman is harping on the need for the ruling party to remain united, pointing out that the power game is all because of the 2020 governorship election, adding, ‘’I want to think that they are all targeted at weakening the governor. Ordinarily, the man in Edo should be given every support so that he can succeed to fend off the opposition PDP already around the corner.

‘’I have not heard that PDP or Edo leaders want to remove Obaseki. What has been trending is how his predecessor who happens to be the party chairman does not want him back in the office. This party must be stronger because we cannot go into the 2023 general elections with these discordant tunes especially as President Muhammadu Buhari will not be contesting.

‘’We need to get our acts together. I have no personal grievances with Oshiomhole but Nigerians must know that he cannot go to equity with unclean hands.’’

Oshiomhole had publicly declared that he was disappointed that Governor Obaseki  was behind the leadership  crisis rocking the state House of Assembly, and had allegedly seen 15 lawmakers fleeing the state to Abuja for the safety of their lives.

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