By Olusegun Hakeem-Adebumiti
Barring any unforeseen circumstances the governorship election in Edo state will hold on the 10th of September, 2016. Meanwhile, the main political parties in state, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have started planning in preparation for the governorship election. One thing is certain a successor to Governor Adams Oshiomhole must emerge after the election.
As part of efforts to prepare for the D-day, the ruling APC and the opposition PDP are making determined efforts to resolve their internal crisis before the primaries. In the camp of the APC notable names like Pastor Osagie-Ize-Iyamu and Chief Tom Ikimi had exited the party due to internal crisis while the former Governor of old Bendel state, Chief Samuel Ogbemudia had also resigned from the PDP creating a big vacuum waiting to be filled. Chief Ogbemudia commands respect, especially from Edo and Delta states, due to his numerous achievements as when he was Governor of old Bendel state.
Developments like these are however not new in politics most especially when the race for a coveted post of the number one citizen in the state is up for grab. The two main political parties in the state seem not to be sleeping and are preparing vigorously to go to the election as united as ever.
For the PDP, reclaiming the state which they governed for 10 years is uncontestable. Leaders of PDP in the state including political lords like former PDP Board of Trustees chairman, Chief Tony Anenih; the Igbinedion political dynasty, former minister of foreign affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi among others, have vowed to make sure PDP return to power. On the other hand, the Governor of the state, Adams Oshiomole who is widely described by his supporters as a politician with grassroots appeal and an incredible mobiliser may not be easily dislodged by the PDP. It is believed that Oshiomhole’s APC government has performed so well that PDP will have to work harder to be considered a serious threat to the ruling party’s political fortunes in the 2016 governorship election.
When judging from the strength of the two political parties; with particular reference to the APC and PDP in the results of the 2015 Presidential and National Assembly elections, the PDP won the presidential poll in the state and got two out of the three Senate seats, plus five seats in the House of Assembly. Thus, the results of the last elections confirmed that each of the two parties is strong enough to produce the next government of the state after Oshiomhole.
A lot also depends on the level of unity of each of the parties, how far they would be willing to carry the people along, the quality and acceptability of their candidates and the level of their preparedness for the election. The winner will be the one that prepared better and the one that made the right choice of governorship candidate.
Talking about making the right choice now, the APC seems to be engrossed in a battle of supremacy as to who will be their standard bearer in the election. The rumour peddling around has been that the Governor has an anointed candidate in person of Godwin Obaseki. This is seen as a last ditch effort to make Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole the de facto leader of Edo State post-November 12, 2016. This has however met a brick wall as the Governor’s foot soldiers are finding it difficult and intractable to sell an Obaseki candidacy and possible electoral triumph across the 192 wards, 18 local government areas and three senatorial districts of the state.
In the race for the governorship election, Engineer Chris Osa Ogiemwonyi, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor; Dr. Pius Odudu; Barrister Kenneth Imansuagbon and Mr. Godwin Obaseki are believed to be the aspirants that may fly the APC’s flag, while the camp of the PDP has Pastor Osagie-Ize-Iyamu, Hon. Osaron Onaiwu and Hon. Matthew Iduoiyekmwen among others.
In less than 9 months to the exit of Comrade Oshiomhole as Governor of Edo State, the question which come to mind is: What is the choice before the people of Edo State considering the arrays of aspirants struggling to succeed Oshiomhole on November 12, 2016? As it is in every setting of Nigerian politics, many of the aspirants are either sponsored by individuals or groups with ethnic, sectional, religious, commercial, or spiritual connotations. The bottom line at this juncture is for the people’s choice to prevail come September 24, 2016 when the election will be conducted.
Hakeem-Adebumiti writes from the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo
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