…APC governors’ meeting with Oshiomhole in deadlock
The battle for political supremacy in Edo State is presently not between the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition, People’s Democratic Party, PDP but obviously among the Broom stakeholders in the state.
The power tussle has turned Adams Oshiomhole and his erstwhile disciple, who is also the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki to the biggest rivals. They have drawn the battle line with each scheming to outwit the other as Edo State governorship election beckons.
As it usually plays out in every game that one person’s loophole is what the person’s opponent tactically exploit to win the game, the duo are seeking for each other’s blunder, but the point is the man with the weightier clout always wins in the power play irrespective of the people’s sympathy and outcry.
Nigeria as a nation has witnessed many political fights between godfathers and their protégés since the current phase of our democratic life began in 1999. Prominent among them include the ones between Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu and Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State; Chief Olusola Saraki and son, Dr Bukola Saraki of Kwara State; Rotimi Amaechi and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, and recently Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State.
It is therefore not surprising to see another one surface in Edo. It has become, sadly our ordeal as a nation. In the end, after a winner emerges, we all move on. But, an emphatic question to ask is: Who is winning this time around? Without mincing words, Oshiomhole with all indications has more clout than Obaseki!
The general opinion whenever rifts ensue between the masters and their understudies, always queues behind the latter, with the claims that the former is rather excessive in wielding influence. Be that as it may, the populace who are the spectators in the political arena usually forget to reckon with the same influence of the godfathers that rests on their godsons.
It is an incontrovertible fact that present Nigeria’s political wheels are being lubricated by godfatherism. It is a dangerous truth we are afraid to embrace. In most cases, if not all, major political office holders get a nod from one godfather or the other before occupying their respective oppositions with some agreements. Whether the people accept them as offers from the godfathers or not is a story for another day.
In a nutshell, the political game of every state is run by its main political godfather – either directly or indirectly. Having realised this, Edo State politics is still massively run by Adams Oshiomhole. He is the National Chairman of the All Progressive Party. He was a two-time governor of Edo State and was once the President of Nigeria Labour Congress. It will be suicidal for any politician in the State to undervalue Oshiomhole’s clout.
Oshiomhole’s clout in politics started when he wrestled power from Oserheimen Osunbor of the People’s Democratic Party in the Edo Governorship election in 2008.
Oshiomhole’s clout in politics started when he wrestled power from Oserheimen Osunbor of the People’s Democratic Party in the Edo Governorship election in 2008. He had always known how to navigate his ways. He negotiated on behalf of his Labour Party to pitch tent with Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and he ran as the governorship candidate under the ACN. Osunbor declared winner, but ACN and Oshiomhole appealed the victory and this led to the nullification of Osunbor’s victory and on November 11, 2008, a federal appellate court sitting in Benin City upheld the judgment of the state’s elections petitions tribunal, declaring Oshiomole to be the Governor of Edo State.
To a great extent, Governor Obaseki has done creditably well, and anyone that has the interest of the masses at heart will believe that Obaseki deserves another term. This, however, has nothing to do with reality.
But as the saying “never dare bite a finger that fed you” goes, Obaseki has may continue to have a hard time unentangling himself with his former ally, Oshiomhole.
Whenever there is a breach in the agreement, the deal is terminated. That has been the case with most political godfatherism cases. The most recent case of the Tinubu and Ambode’s political brawl is still fresh in our memories. Obaseki has angered his godfather, and the handwriting on the wall is almost obvious that he would vacate the Osadebe House this year. This is not to downplay the power of the governor, but as stated above, history has taught us lessons that godfathers usually have the heavier blow in the ring.
On March 4, 2020, a high court in Abuja ordered the suspension of Oshiomhole pending the determination of a suit filed by one Oluwole Afolabi, who challenged the continuous stay and parade of Oshiomhole in office as the national chairman despite his suspension by the Edo chapter of the APC. Oshiomhole appealed, and the suspension was restrained by an appeal court sitting in Abuja. Obaseki should have known better, that the feat was enormous enough to reverence and reunite with the national chairman.
The recent stepping down of other APC aspirants for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to contend with Obaseki should be of great concern to him. It hugely has the undertone of his estranged godfather and national chairman of his party. Oshiomhole is hell-bent on retrieving power from Governor Obaseki, and this would not be possible unless the main rival in Ize-Iyamu is given a morale boost by withdrawing his distractors. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was used in that manner against Akinwunmi Ambode.
Some APC Governors led by the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu had a meeting with the national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on Sunday and Monday respectively, but both gatherings bore no fruits. Oshiomhole declared that he could not go against the decision of the National Working Committee of the party which wants a direct primary election. Obaseki in his own conclusion disclosed that his relationship with his former boss remains frosty.
In as much as this country deserves great minds with novel ideas to govern the affairs of the state, it is then an impeccable mechanism for the two aggrieved parties to find a common ground and sheathe their swords, at least in the interests of the populace.
We also saw an instance of this when Fashola and Tinubu had a face-off, but the former who sought for a second tenure in office as the Lagos State Governor reconciled with his superior. It might look like the gulf between Oshiomhole and Obaseki seems hard to bridge again, but if the governor weighs his options, he can mend fences with his former boss. He should have a thorough study of Oshiomhole’s political credentials and acknowledge his irrefutable clout for the good of the State.