The news that the incumbent governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, won re-election into the office for a second term came as a surprise to many.
As the results of last Saturday’s election where Obaseki won with over 307,000 votes trickled in; the consensus that Obaseki and his deputy, Phillip Shuaibu, have dealt the former national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomole, a hard blow in Edo state became crystal clear.
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It was not even much of a contest between Obaseki and Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as it was between Obaseki and Oshiomole. The battle line was drawn and the people of Edo state were waiting for the election day to determine the outcome of the power play.
The final showdown between Obaseki and Oshiomole had been a long time coming. And now; the political relevance of a trade unionist turned politician has been rendered useless overnight with the outcome of the election.
Since the internal crisis within the Edo APC worsened with Oshiomole struggling with Obaseki in marshalling the state’s resources, the deadline for the relevance of the former comrade was thus marked.
Another notable sight in the effort of Oshiomole to defeat Obaseki and install a new godson in Ize-Iyamu was unveiled when a threat he was making after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in August leaked to the press. Oshiomole was overheard to be saying the president must deal with the duo of Obaseki and Shuaibu if the APC wants to win the election.
In all, the past year of Edo politics pre-election has been a circus of complex strategies and counter-strategies by the warring parties.
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From Obaseki not issuing another proclamation for the members of the State House of Assembly who were not sworn to resume office to demobilising Tony Kabaka – an Oshiomole attack dog; from being disqualified from winning the APC gubernatorial party ticket to preventing contested members of the State legislature from impeaching him, Obaseki and Shuaibu have had their fair share in gallant politicking in Edo.
Aside rebelling against the overbearing weight of Oshiomole, Obaseki also succeeded in baiting the National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, into pontification.
In a viral video release, this ‘pontification’ by Tinubu was taken too far when a large section of the voting base began to see it as undue influence from far away in Lagos. It backfired as voters were even more determined to support Obaseki’s rebellion.
The entirety of Edo North – the Oshiomole stronghold which he was looking to capitalise votes and pull a ‘Kano effect’ from those zones – largely voted for Obaseki’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The APC only succeeded in winning 5 local governments out of 18, and with very slim margins to boot.
Thanks to the well-conducted polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the usual controversies which do surround state elections have been hugely erased by the real-time uploading of poll unit results. Ballot snatching and violence generally too was almost non-existent. Edo voters stood tall and defended their vote by ensuring the election officials or hired thugs did not have a field day. Many have, however, ascribed the lack of general violence to be due to the visa ban handed to some Nigerian politicians by the United States of America.
Edo was a hard-fought political game that was almost bloodless. But eventually, the effort of Obaseki to be free of Oshiomole’s weight and to serve the people alone has been crowned with a victory at the polls. And that itself is a victory for the people of Edo state and Nigeria at large.
Featured Image Source: @GovernorObaseki – Twitter
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