THIS article will attempt to briefly discuss stakeholders who will essentially help in shaping the gubernatorial election in Edo State come 2024 as we gaze at the twilight of Governor Obaseki’ not so popular administration.
We must first acknowledge the fact that in politics, one man’s desires conflict with those of another. Self-interest is the first survival instinct in mankind, let no one deceive you. It is from that self-interest, you find the interest of others. What makes one man better than another in politics is how much he is able to use that self-interest to effect on others.
Governor Obaseki is the stakeholder that will be discussed as being the focal point since he is the sitting governor – in the real sense, incumbent. Having someone to succeed him, as usual with other governors, is top in his priorities. Call it Godfatherism, or whatever version of disenchantment. It is no longer news that his prefered candidate is the outsider political new-face, Asue Ighodalo esq (I am not revealing any privileged information) However, the people of Edo State has issues with this fronting. The people want a well-integrated grassroot politician, not another technocrat in the his mould. The people want a homeboy politician who has given a very comprehensive account of himself at home. Someone who knows the political routes of the state, one who has his own substance, one who does not need to lean to be able to stand, someone who has clearly written his own story, who needs no introduction, one who is hugely successful in his own choosen endeavour…The people actually have their ideal candidate in mind, and from what I have observed, Asue Ighodalo does not fit into that critical and factual discussion.
However, as a fighter who never gets weary, Governor Obaseki will continue to push for his prefered candidate with the state resources until the February 2024 primaries are over. No doubt, in his faction within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State, he is the leader. He is clothed by the state chairman, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, with the authority to direct, to make their laws, give commands and enforce them. He derives his following from the fat he is the one who can dish out appointments and maybe share money to agents and followers.
However, the more than political earth-shaking Chief Dan Orbih is not a pushover in all ramification when it comes to PDP in the state and at national levels. He is the Vice Chairman, South South PDP. The soft-spoken enigma is a movement on his own. Within PDP in Edo State, he has a very large following; from the state executive down the the wards, he has listening and ardent supporters.
The Chief Dan Orbih’s group have made it clear what they want going forward: just like the governor was allowed to run his ticket under PDP with his deputy, they want to produce the next PDP gubernatorial candidate as well as the deputy. The group, under his leadership are ready for dialogue when it comes to other positions, but had said in strong terms that the positions of gubernatorial candidate and that of the deputy are not negotiable.
Without mincing words, the group has learnt lessons from the last duel with Obaseki that ended at the Supreme Court. Any of the groups needs the backing of the National Working Committee for their primaries to be valid. At the moment, Obaseki does not enjoy that like he did 100% under Senator Ayu. Without negotiations for peace, one cannot rule out the cataclysmic eruption within the ruling party, PDP, before and after the election. Are the saber rattling going to grow louder before Febuary 2024?
Senator Oshiomole on the other hand is the leader of, the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Edo State. He is a very influential inner-man within the Tunubu-led administration and this will come to bare during the 2024 gubernatorial election. One of his major focus will be to defeat the PDP candidate if that of Obaseki sails through. For him, it will be a coldly served meal. Every political watcher can still recall how single-handedly he made Obaseki the governor in 2016 and how he betrayed him. The orchestration of his removal from office as the national chairman of the party was one of his lowest in politics in my own estimation.
Edo North is politically liable to APC, which Oshiomole controls. He will need to appease Central and South Senatorial Districts with more appointments to be able to capture those areas before the gubernatorial election. There are visible discontentments concerning his style of distribution of federal appointments so he needs to find away around the percieved marginalization as to court these other two zones.
Another factor he will need to consider is the clamour for an Esan governor. Would a candidate from the more populous Edo South work for him in other to win the election by all means? Will he be able to find a sellable candidate from Esan? Is he going to be able to consider any of the few hopefuls from the North? All these will be critical in the assessment of the APC candidate by the very much enlightened electorates.
The Labour Party, LP, won the presidential election in Edo State but have gone down the political isle since Peter Obi eventually did not win. Some of their members were also allegedly rigged out during the state house of assembly elections. This discouraged a lot of their followers. They have the notion that votes don’t count under the manipulated untruth of election rigging.
However, the party has some very forceful candidates. Bar. Olumide Akpata, the former Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, president, Ken Imansuagbon, AKA Rice Man, Dorry Okoje and Ogbemudia Bassey Osagie.
Akpata is seen within the party as Obaseki’s candidate while others see him as a snub. He has avoided several meetings called by members of the party, especially to raise funds for campaigns. However, he has been spending money on the party in some other ways as to be able to grab the ticket during primaries.
Although Dorry Okojie has a large following because of his youthfulness, Ken Imansuagbon who is known for speeding dollars during primaries cannot be undermined. He is a household name in Edo State and needs no introduction. He will however need to cross the crossroads of primaries first before his popularity will work for him. It is also of note that his support for Atiku during the presidential election against the spirit of justice, equity and fair play will work against him. This is so because one cannot reject zoning at the national level and come to the state to profit from it.
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