By November 2016, the eight year reign of fery labour unionist, Adams Oshiomhole as Governor of Edo State would come to an end. ‘Oshio Baba’ as he’s fondly called by supporters, leaves behind pillars of infrastructural and administrative reconstruction of the South-south state. Having worked his best, committing
himself to the welfare of the workers against the negative trend from many of his colleagues, the unionist turned politician is one of the few governors’ not owing
workers in their state’s.
As the expiration of his tenure draw near, so is the September 10 governorship election to elect his successor, and
gladiators from various political parties are gearing up and hoping to test their popularity among the voters.
In August, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) released the names of contenders to the Edo Government House, displaying names of candidates from a total of 19 different political parties. The list signed by the commission’s scribe, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu included Mr. Godwin Nogeghase Obaseki of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and running mate, Mr. Philip Shuaibu; Pastor Andrew Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) with John Yakubu as running mate.
The Action Alliance (AA) is elding Comrade Ishaka Paul Ofemile with Ewemade Nancy Osagie as running mate. The Labour Party (LP) has Mr. Amos Aroloegbe and Mrs. Jane Osagie as its candidates, while the Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP) will be represented by Mr. Richard Oronsaye and Omijie Ehinor as the candidate and running mate respectively. The Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) is equally in the race to the Government House. Other candidates are Mr. Cosmas Irabor of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Onaiwu Osaro of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), David Okoror of Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Tobi Adeniyi of Independent Democrats (ID), Thompson Osadolor of KOWA Party (KP), Peter Omoragbon of National Conscience Party (NCP) and Akhalamhe Amiemenoghena of the People for Democratic Change (PDC). Mr. Thomas Sadoh of Progressive People Alliance (PPA), Mrs. Ebun Agol of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Mr. Omorogieva Gbajumo of Social Democratic Party, Mr. Shadrach Efogie of United Progressive Party (UPP) and Mr. Nurudeen Inwanefero of Young People Democratic Party (YDP) conclude the list.
Although these 19 candidates are expected to slug it out at the polls, the real contenders are the candidates of the APC, Godwin Nogeghase Obaseki and his PDP
counterpart, Andrew Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Days preceding the election have become intense as each camp works harder to shore up support and acceptance among
the Edo electorates. Candidate of the APC, Obaseki, backed and supported by the state governor, Adam Oshiomhole is reveling in the goodwill of his mentor, with full backing of the federal government at the center and the endorsement by the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari who recently led other party women to Benin, the State capital, to garner support for the standard bearer. Not only the president’s wife, Obaseki has seen overwhelming endorsement from traditional rulers from Edo North senatorial district of the state, led by the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru H. Momoh, Ikelebe III. The monarchs whom were said to have demonstrated their endorsement through the donation of an undisclosed amount to the Obaseki campaign organization, argued that It would only take an ingrate not to Obaseki after all the Governor Adams Oshiomhole led APC had done across the state.
As the campaign progresses across the State, the wheel of the APC candidate, while boosted by the perception of an average Edo person on the achievements of the outgoing governor, appears oiled. It may be safe to say that he might be seamlessly coasting to victory already, except that not everyone considers much of the achievements of Oshiomhole.
PDP’s Ize-Iyamu in an interview granted The Punch recently, criticized the APC’s campaign method as deceptive. Our condence is the fact that Oshiomhole has failed woefully and you can see that every campaign he has gone to, rather than show Edo people his scorecard, he has resorted to name-calling, insulting Ize-Iyamu, insulting Chief Tony Anenih and everybody in the PDP. But the truth about it is that the PDP is no longer in government, according to Ize- Iyamu. He called out Obaseki for lacking in capacity to lead the State and accused him of hiding behind whatever Oshiomhole was credited to have done to distract voters. Ize- Iyamu, who was a former Chief of Staff and Secretary in the state, was also a former member of the APC. He has vowed that if the election was a free and fair contest, his party the PDP, would uproot the ruling party in the state. If you take your mind back to the 2015 presidential election, the APC was demystied in Edo which resulted in the PDP having two out of the three senators representing the state. We have ve out of the nine members of the House of Representatives.
Many people do not know that of the 17 local government councils that were announced in that election, the PDP won in 15 while the APC managed to win in only two. That result tells a story. I believe that in the forthcoming governorship election, if the election is free and fair, I think the PDP would do better than what they did during the presidential election, the PDP candidate said.
As each party tries to outwit the other, pundits assume that both candidates’ chances are dependent on the overall judgment of the electorates, especially with the less than impressive performance of the APC at the center. Reports that the local government employees in the state are still owed salaries piling into months having only recently been paid some months of their wages and the prevailing hardship across the nation under the APC are factors that may work
against the ruling party. Conding in this magazine, insiders said that although the state government doesn’t owe workers, suffering employees at the local councils consider their hardship as a result of the poor handling of the economy by the government at the top, whose affliation with the State by way of political
party, would likely affect the chances of
However, whatever decision the Edo people make come September 10 on Oshiomhole’s successor, would be as valuable as the credibility of the electoral process itself. One thing the people are still anxious and waiting to know is, if the Edo election would restore the condence of the electorates in INEC to conduct conclusive
elections or would the electoral umpire add the State to its list of inconclusive elections.