The sad occurrence of shootings at the palace of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare N’Ogidgan 11 on June 25, 2020 magnifies the fracas between the two main candidates for the September 19th gubernatorial elections in Edo State. Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the incumbent governor of Edo State and candidate for the People Democratic Party (PDP) is hotly ready for the smack down against other 14 candidates including his Chief of Staff, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The First class monarch of Edo State, Oba Ewuare had condemned in strongest terms the aberration committed by certain political actors in the state. Following the attacks which has left scores wounded, properties destroyed and lives lost is a pre-election tussle for the governor of Edo State. It is alleged that the clash was purportedly by the supporters of the leading gubernatorial candidates in the state. This is a sign that democracy in the country is still in its infancy.
Statements from the camps of both Ize-Iyamu and Obaseki points accusing fingers against each other in what reminds us of the ‘’Na me do am, Na you do am’’ scenario. However, this dastardly actions perpetuated at the King’s courtyard did not deter the visiting gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Candidate (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu in the company of the Caretaker National Chairman of APC and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni; Executive Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje; Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State; Deputy Senate President, Senator Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege; Chairman APC Edo State, Col. David Imuse (rtd) and others to receive royal blessings from the retinue of royal fathers of the land led by the Oba himself.
It would be recalled that the sitting governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, a trained financial and investment guru had a long standing rift against Adams Oshiomole, his political godfather in the State. Obaseki had accused the foremost labour union leader and former governor of Edo State of so many wrongdoings. On other hand, Oshiomole in an online viral video apologized to the people of Edo State for ‘’misleading’’ them by seeking for their support for Obaseki some years ago. The outcome of these dirty fighting between these Edo godfather and godson had dearth consequences with one losing his seat as the National Chairman of the ruling party and the other losing his gubernatorial candidature in a direct primary organized by the State chapter of the party leading defection to the opposition in the state.
Engulfed in the considerable pains of the loses, it is crystal clear that the die is cast between the supporters of both political gladiators. In the arena of the politics, the race is indeed not just for the swift but the smartest. In times as this, sound political strategies is the needed totem of victory as each of the candidates are equally up to the task of clinching the mantle of leading the state. Going through the credentials of the candidatures of Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu, their pedigree being from prestigious Edo families, the only question that readily comes to mind is that: Who would be the cat?
Like every game, the chances of luck and preparedness is very crucial.
The incumbent Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki was the Chief of Staff for Comrade Adams Oshiomole when he ruled the state for eight years. His political know-howness is in no doubt. Having mastered the political landscapes of the state for an uptrend of 12 years, there is no gainsaying that anyone would want to give him a benefit of the doubt to run and retain his seat for another term.
As the saying goes, A Devil that one knows is better than the Angel no one knows. Also, the power of incumbency in the game of politics cannot be underestimated no matter how unlikely it is. Aside the misunderstanding between him and his former party, Obaseki has not done badly in terms of structural developments of the state, the contributions of the state to Education and technical empowerments. Infact, the Godwin Obaseki-led government is one of the most proactive state governments at present. One can give him kudos towards his sharp response to matters affecting the state including security, health, culture, media, commerce and industry. Obaseki was one of the state governors that immediately sprung to its feet when the first case of the global covid-19 pandemic was first announced, noting that the second reported index case of covid-19 was at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. By the foregoing, can one say that the incumbent Governor makes true the meaning of his name – Obaseki: “the King has reached the market or the King has arrived his home“. As a traditionally inclined Edo man, would it mean that his name is foretelling his re-emergence as the Governor of the State or the end of his tenure. Time will tell.
For Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a one-time contender for the gubernatorial seat (on the platform of People Democratic Party) and the current Chief of Staff to the incumbent Governor of Edo State, it is a win or win situation for him. Having defected to All Progressives Congress (APC) after he lost to his principal in the last elections in the state, it is time to seize the opportunity afforded him by the party to run, overrun and retrieve his mandate that he lost four years ago. Like Obaseki, his name typifies the current situation, Iyamu meaning (What I hold Firmly). Does that resonate with you? Is the name trying to voice out of his hearted aspiration for the seat of the Edo State Governor? Osagie Ize-Iyamu was born and raised in Benin City, the son of a revered Benin High Chief, Esogban of Benin. A Lawyer by profession, his contributions to national politics is very much as respectable as Obaseki’s. Ize-Iyamu was the National vice-chairman, South-South Zone of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria which metamorphosed into All Progressives Congress. He was the Director General of Adams Oshiomhole‘s 2nd term Campaign Organisation and coordinator of Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation.
Like the game of soccer, the 90-minutes play will determine the winner of a particular contest. Between Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu or any of the gubernatorial candidates for the governorship seat of Edo State, the time is ticking very fast in determining who the real winner would be. Between Iyamu – the one who holds firmly and Obaseki – a king that has arrived home. Come September 19, 2020, the electorates of Edo State will be lining up in choosing the one who would steer the leadership wheel of the state for the next four years.
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