The Battle for Edo: Winners and Losers

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Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that the recently concluded Edo State governorship contest provided a springboard of promising new vistas for many, while it established a certain graveyard for burying the future of erstwhile political stalwarts

WINNERS

The Peoples Democratic Party: On the Rebound

With Edo safely in the kitty of states where its flag with the umbrella insignia is proudly flown in the Government House, the PDP has recorded a significant increase in territory. The entire South-south region is now totally under its grip, having previously won electoral contests in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers. The party recognised the strategic importance of regaining Edo, which maybe safely argued had always been a PDP state, until the 2008 court ruling that allowed what may described as an All Progressives Congress (APC) interregnum championed by the immediate past Governor of the state, Comrade Adam Oshiomhole. Even in the 2019 national elections, the PDP garnered more National Assembly seats, namely two senatorial and the majority out of the nine federal lawmakers. So it was only natural that the leadership of the party provided a safe berth for Governor Godwin Obaseki when he was denied the ticket of the APC for a second term in office. Supported by his colleague governors including Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom and the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, Obaseki was seamlessly absorbed into the PDP. In the Edo axis, persoanlaities like Hon. Omoregie Ihama-Ogbeide, who represents Oredo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and Dr. Kenneth Imasuagbon who were strong contenders for the Edo PDP governorship ticket sacrificed their ambition to accommodate Obaseki in the PDP. In the end, the entire members of the PDP and its leadership are glowing in copious radiance at this notable victory.

Prince Uche Secondus: Reclaiming the Lost Glory

Arguably, the most joyous person over the party’s victory in the 2020 Edo governorship election is the National Champion of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus. Previous outings by the party’s candidate in similar elections did not bring him an outright and overwhelming win like in Edo. This victory affords Secondus the privilege to thump his chest in deserving accomplishment.

Governor Godwin Obaseki: Defied the Godfathers

His political adversaries made the tragic mistake of thinking of him as an underdog, completely disregarding the fact t that he had so much fight in him. From a seeming disadvantaged position, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has completely turned the table against his former party, the APC and strengthened the capacity of the PDP to completely dominate the political landscape of Edo State. His triumph in the 2020 Edo governorship election means that a larger number of the people of the state trust his judgement and that he puts the interest of the people above self. By decidedly killing the political giant who was the immediate past Governor of the State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Obaseki successfully served Oshiomhole thesame bitter pill that the latter forced down the throat of the late PDP National Leader and party stalwart in Edo, Chief Tony Anenih. Going forward, Obaseki has become the new rallying point for voices of dissident against established political godfathers.

Ifeanyi Okowa: A Worthy Neigbour
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the neighbouring Delta State, could not afford to shut his eyes to political activities in Edo State, particularly when Governor Godwin Obaseki was not only a colleague governor, but a member of the PDP family. Okowa dutifully joined Obaseki’s campaign train. He could also be seen in the border communities, between Edo and Delta, canvassing support for Obaseki.

Phillip Shuaibu: Commander of the Obaseki Troops
The acknowledged general and commander of the troops in the Governor Godwin Obaseki army would definitely have more myth built around his personality. One of such fables has it that Shaibu once came out of his car and walked into a hail of bullets fired by APC hoodlums. Unarmed, he chased the enemies away, went back into his car and continued the journey. Shaibu is also popular among the youths for not only being a lover of, but actively playing soccer. Along with the Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie, both men constituted the arrowhead of the political think-tank for Obaseki, helping him to execute in practical terms, some of the daring decisions that needed to unabashedly make a statement for Obaseki as a no-nonsense governor. For instance, Shaibu was believed to have supervised the exercise that stopped the 14 anti-Obaseki legislators from gaining access into the State House of Assembly. While the Governor concentrated on the all-important job of governance-formulation and implementation of state policies, Shaibu and Ogie made sure they captivate the ordinary folks on the street in favour of the Governor.

The Independent National Electoral Commission: A Promise Fulfilled

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have redeemed its image which was tarnished, at least, by opposing political parties led by the PDP. As Professor Mahmood Yakubu may not be privileged to supervise another round of national elections, the broad perception that he is bowing out on a good note will prevail from the generally acknowledged conduct of a free and fair governorship election recently concluded in Edo. Though, the 2020 Edo governorship election came under the strenuous conditions occasioned by the COVID-19 global pandemic, INEC was able to rise to the occasion and discharge its obligations to the admiration of many right thinking persons.

The Police and Other Law Enforcement Agents: Ready to Confront Real or Imaginary Threat

The pre-election prediction of an electoral process that will be largely marred by violence prompted all the security agents to gird their loins and confront the real or or imaginary threat frontally. The result was a near-violent free election. Though isolated instances of brutality were reported, the alert disposition of the security agents and their readiness to respond to cases of infraction, kept would-be mischief makers at bay

Dan Orbih: Happy End

For eight years when he was Chairman of the PDP in Edo State, the party could not capture the prime political diadem However, Dan Orbih still commands a pride of place as the leader of the party in the South-south. If that designation appeared to have been given to the wrong person, because his home state was not properly entrenched in the victorious PDP family, that notion has changed with the Obaseki victory

Anselm Ojezua: Tenacious to the End

Chairman of the Obaseki faction (to some the recognised faction) of the APC, Anselm Ojezua led a band of loyalists who tactically remained in the APC but were with the Governor in spirit in the PDP. This group ensured that maximum damage was inflicted on the APC and its candidate, because for all intents and purposes, APC agents in a good number of the Polling Units were appointed by Ojezua and it stands to reason that he would only assign persons loyal to Obaseki.

Osagie Ethnan Uzamere: Significant Elevation

The 38 year-old son of Senator Uzamere, Osagie Ethnan Uzamere was elevated to position of Chief of Staff to the Governor. Uzamere was appointed from his job as a Lagos-based investment banker to manage a very important aspect of the Governor’s relations, which can make or mar the administration.

President Muhammadu Buhari : Providing Enabling Environment

The successful conclusion of the 2020 Edo governorship election is a big plus for President Muhammadu Buhari, both locally and internationally. For ensuring that a level playing field was provided for the conduct of the election, even his ardent critics are persuaded to acknowledge this gracious deed. To his credit, the much feared deployment of an amorphous ‘federal might’ by the main opposition party was absent.

LOSERS

All Progressives Congress: Dwindling Fortunes of a Non-Performer

From its distinct position as the ruling party in Edo State, the table has turned completely against the APC. First, Governor Godwin Obaseki swtiched political party to the PDP and with that all APC insignia in Government House were pulled down and replaced with that of the PDP. Finally, the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu suffered a crushing defeat, scoring 223619 votes to the Governor’s 307955 votes. That is a huge 84376 votes that sank the APC governorship ship in Edo State irretrievably.

Adams Oshiomhole : End of a Godfather’s Dream

For Adams Oshiomhole, erstwhile National Chairman of the APC and immediate past Governor of Edo State, trouble is dropping on him, not in trickles, but pouring like torrential rain, giving him no room to hide. What began like a child’s play when he was suspended by his Ward in Iyamho, Etsako West local government area of Edo, eventually led to his removal as National Chairman of the ruling party. The outcome of the 2020 governorship election in Edo State has finally demystified Oshiomhole and removed all the colourful apparels of the big masquerade, exposing his nakedness in public.

Mai Bunu Mala-Buni: Flunks First National Assignment

Governor Mai Mala-Buni of Yobe State who heads the APC Interim Administration has suffered a setback in his first major outing as head of the party’s national leadership. It was the failure of the Mala-Buni led APC Caretaker Committee to broker peace between Oshiomhole and Obaseki that forced the Edo State governor to quit the party and seek the fulfilment of his dream of returning to govern the state in the PDP

Osagie Ize-Iyamu: No Where to Turn

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has gone down in the political history of Edo State as the first candidate to lose a governorship contest on the ticket of two major political parties. In 2016, he held the ticket of the PDP and lost to the incumbent governor who vied on the platform of the APC. In the 2020 contest, the tables were switched. This time Ize-Iyamu was the APC flagbearer, while Governor Obaseki wore the PDP colours. Again, Obaseki thrashed Ize-Iyamu with over 84000 votes.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu: Bloodied Nose

The APC National Leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu must be regretting his open antagonism towards Governor Godwin Obaseki. A teeming number of Edo people saw his intervention as an affront not only against the governor, but the entire people of the state. This led to deep resentment that spurn widely used aphorisms like, ‘Edo No Be Lagos’, ‘ Ibaseki No Be Ambode’ and ‘Oshiomhole No Be Tinubu’.

Captain Hosa Okunbo: Thorough Defeat

The wealthy businessman who boasted that he could spend his last Naira on Ize-Iyamu may have bankrolled the campaign of the 2020 APC Edo governorship candidate, but he was not able to muster support from voters to score a logical victory. He was thoroughly defeated in his polling unit, which was won by the Peoples Democratic Party.

The 14 Anti-Obaseki Legislators
Having been outsmarted by legislators loyal to Governor Obaseki on the evening of inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, they became pained and took their grouse to Oshiomhole. What was initially a misunderstanding among family members was blown out of proportion and hardline positions were taken on either side, making resolution impossible. The legislators who were duly elected have still not been sworn in and their seats have been declared vacant. The attempt to muscle their way back was short lived.

Obaseki’s Aides Who Resigned:

Taiwo Akerele – Chief of Staff

John Mayaki – Chief Press Secretary

Paul Ohonbamu – Commissioner

Omua Oni-Okpako – Commissioner

Monday Ogiegor – MD EDSTMA

Christopher Adesotu – Chairman, Vocational and Technical Education Board

Gabriel Oiboh – Chairman, Post Primary Education Board

Osanyemwere Osawe – Member, Post Primary Education Board

Fulani Yakubu Ekpeyoung – SSA

Adeyanju Noah – SSA

Cordelia M. Iyogun – SSA

James Osheku – SSA

Louis Osamuyi Osayande – SSA

Ernest Unuaghon imina – SSA

Prince Lucky Igbinedion – SSA

Chris Oseiwe Oribhabor – SSA

Solomon Okoduwa – SSA

Kennedy Itepu – SSA

Sabbath Egbeyon – SSA

Emike Obazee – SA

Goodluck A. Uyigue – SA

Razaq Rotimi – SA

Olajide Victor Oloruyomi – SA

Smart Bank – SA

Bright Njor – SA

Kingsley Ekueme – SA

Joshua Akhabue – SA

Oladele Ayotope Josiah – SA

Boyi Magdalene – SA

Osarobo Osaro Anthony – SA

Aibangbee Chico – SA

Obayagbona Augustine – SA

Osamwonyi Atu – EDSOGPADEC

Emmanuel Odigie – EDSOGPADEC

Rilwanu Oshiomhole – EDSOGPADEC

Okondoh Patrick Iyoha – OSM Director

Maureen Osaro Ekhoragbon – Vice-Chairman Ovia North-East

Aghedo Oscar – Secretary Ovia North-East

Kehinde Garrick Osemwingie – Secretary, Uhumwonde LGC

Otaniyen Igbinosa – Orhiomwon Supervisor

Martins Ozakpolor – Orhiomwon Supervisor

Vincent Ehibor – Orhiomwon Supervisor

Mr. Christian Iweka —
Orhionmwon Council Vice Chairman.

Mr Festus Omoruyi —
S.A Media to Council Chairman, Orhionmwon.