Edo 2016: How Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu fare in North and Central
By John Mayaki
The Peoples’ Democratic Party – home-abroad is confronting a daunting electoral map, survival and significant intra-party disadvantages even as we approach the zero-hour to the September 10th Governorship election. From Edo South to Central to Edo North – Owan West and Owan East down to Akoko-Edo and still counting there are tell-tales, handwritings on the walls signaling time-up for PDP – the more so, in the three local government areas that makes up the Etsako Federal Constituency.
The Oshiomhole’s dancing steps and gesticulations – giving hope to the people – is enough intimidation for the PDP – they are already complaining that the Comrade has taken campaigns to another height and it’s becoming difficult for them to comprehend. I think we need more of it – never mind if it runs their belly – so far the purpose is achieved.
Talking very seriously, the PDP candidate – Ize-Iyamu has less than 24 hours to cobble together the remains of his party before challenging Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s All Progressives Congress (APC) magniloquence campaign necessary to win the Osadebey Avenue race.
Twenty-Four Hours from this publication is a lot of time in life, but not much in a governorship campaign of the PDP – the PDP that we see today.
The most precious asset any governorship candidate has is time. Mr. Ize-Iyamu’s must be wisely invested in local governments and wards that are on the bubble, especially ones he may be able to take from the APC column – if there are.
Start from Senatorial Districts – Ize-Iyamu shouldn’t go near Edo North and if at all, maybe to refuel while on transit. He shouldn’t waste his time there – at least, he saw how the people of Akoko-Edo heralded Godwin and Shaibu when they visited – in the similitude of the triumphant entry. You saw enthusiastic old men and women jockeying for space – you saw people struggling to be counted and to crown it all, the Oshiomhole style!
Although, there are a handful of octogenarian PDPs such as Col. Tunde Akogun, Chief Johnson Emasealu among others unfortunately, they no longer can eat a cow in the time it took them to brush their teeth when Mr. Fix it had teeth to bite.
Here, you talk of the Domingos, the Akpatasons, the Adjotos, the Emilos, the Jemitolas, among other political generalissimos who will corner the substantive votes needed for the sail. In this local government, Oshiomhole’s achievements will speak for him just as the role unity in the party will play – all these, the PDP does not enjoy. It’s a no-go-area for the PDP and the votes will bear me witness come September 10th. In all sincerity, the PDP is sure going to pick up some crumbs!
Let’s not discuss the three Etsakos – West, East and Central – it’s one-way-block-votes. Here, you have Mr. Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the Distinguished Senator, Francis Alimikhina. Here too, you have the running mate to the APC candidate, Godwin Obaseki – Comrade Philip Shaibu among other personalities and factors not necessary for this discussion.
Like I said earlier, he can refuel his car here, since there is a federal road that leads from Benin City to Abuja – for Pastor to expect votes here, is to waste his time. Remember, time is not his friend – the carnival in Jatau the other day is a pointer!
In Owan West and Owan East, Professor Julius Ihonvbere is a household name – “na im bi dis” – he will bring his political pressure to bear. Don’t forget, House of Representatives man, Mr. Pally Iriase – the ‘political iroko’ is here. Am sure you know former Deputy Governor, Rev. Peter Obadan, Comrade Abdul Oroh, Abolagba, Ogedengbe, Asiens, Victoria Amu, Obasuke among others.
All these among other political foot soldiers of the Comrade Governor will stand to bear their father’s name – and the crumbs will go to the Pastor, nobody can deny him of this too.
In aggregate, the crumbs from Akoko-Edo and the fragments from Owan West and Owan East without a snifter from Etsako is the expectation of the PDP in Edo North – to be fair, 25% of the total vote cast.
However, the PDP is preparing to fall back to Edo Central votes with the bulk of her time – five local government areas to sweep her way to Osadebey Avenue – after the red card in Edo North.
But, there’s over there, a blockade! Their calculations have been untied by the ravaging APC and the bubble busted – thoroughly smashed. Today, in Edo Central – from Ewu to Irua, Ubiaja to Ekpoma, Uromi and beyond, it’s all endorsements galore for Obaseki and Shaibu – not the ‘arrangee’ and micro-managed outing of the PDP.
For instance, hear how the Onojie of Uromi with his counterpart from Opoji, Ubiaja and Ekpoma nailed the PDP’s coffin, “I do not trust Pastor Ize Iyamu enough to become a Governor. My people want Godwin Obaseki. I am not a politician but a business man. Politics is not about sentiment but development”, these highly respected custodians of our customs and tradition revealed.
They didn’t stop there. Hear this, “I supported him (Oshiomhole) before and he has been nice to the people of Uromi so we have no fear in the candidacy of the All Progressive Congress, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy.
“I will pray and the ancestors of this land will support them to make sure that they fulfil their dreams” Onojie of Uromi poured his sincere heartfelt support.
Won’t you ‘dust your sandals’ and take to your heels from such a place – assuming you are Pastor – as reality dawn?
But hear this – on that their visit, they needlessly bribed the traditional rulers and trust, the Royal Highnesses turned it down – food meant for idols! And, just as they were leaving, the fearless Opoji Royal Father took to the microphone in the market-square and announced the ‘fake’ – no wonder, he was threatened. It’s a daunting task!
The following factors will further crash the PDP’s hope here – Oshiomhole’s achievements, Obaseki’s family tie with the Esans, APC men-of-timbers-and-calibers, the role of Rt. Hon. Mr. Speaker, Dr. Justin Okonoboh and other political appointees like Commissioner Didi Adodo who is ever ready to crush anything that smells PDP. I hear his colleague commissioners from Esan are hatching a plan to give the PDP a bloody nose on Election Day.
Or, where will they pass when Mr. Victor Eboigbe is right over there non-sleeping? Did you see Professor Oserheimen Osunbor over there in Iruekpen? What about those die-hard Edo N’ Safe Hands loyalists? This group, so formidably built by the Director General of the Obaseki Campaign Organization, Hon. Bar. Osarodion Ogie and Comrade Hon. Philip Shaibu is said to be ready to crack anything crackable from the PDP.
Over there, you see Comrade Peter Esele – he will deploy his labour union tactics of mobilization, engagement and prowess – his campaign structure is already being oiled on a daily basis and would be rolled in on the PDP.
But, wait, there is the man, Chief Inegbeneki – the Ozoya – he doesn’t play the away matches but home. He’s right there waiting for them let alone, the indefatigable State party Chairman – a three-time-Commissioner, the Honourable Chief Barrister Anselm Ojezua. Where are the Shaka Momodus among others? Leave Mr. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Justine Okonoboh – he will bare his fangs!
Esan people are a grateful lots – they have a rich cultural value of never compensating failure but hardwork – appreciation for good things when they notice any and that’s the more reason Edo Central will prefer Obaseki to continue from where Comrade Oshiomhole stopped.
Haven’t you noticed that Ize-Iyamu and PDP are campaigning bare-handedly – no nothing – “I will do this”. “I will do that”. “I will probe Oshiomhole” and “I will build a castle in the air for the people”. “I will construct an overhead bridge from Ring Road in Benin to Auchi” – day-dreamers!
This divisive campaign messages will further alienate the voters and swing the votes against the PDP – unfortunately, Ize-Iyamu’s most plausible senatorial district. The APC intensive campaign here, makes it a must-win coupled with that threat on traditional rulers.
But, Obaseki is campaigning thus: We have done Isua-Uzunema Road, Irrua-Usugbenu-Ugbegun-Ujogba Road, Ewohimi-Ewatto-Ohordua-Emu-Okhuesan Road, Amedokhian-Ugboha Road, Igueben-Ewohimi-Ewatto-Ohordua-Emu-Okhuesan Road, Igueben-Udo Road, Ugbegun-Ujogba-Ebudin Road, Ewohimi – Agadagba Road, and flagged off the construction of 7.5km dual-carriage intra-city roads in Ekpoma – this is apart from hospitals and schools. And, we will do more – continuity.
Juxtapose both campaigns and see who the good people of Esan would vote for – I mean between Ize-Iyamu’s “I will” and Obaseki’s “We have and we’ll continue to” campaigns.
And so, the votes to be counted by Ize-Iyamu in Edo Central remained narrow – and may have grown even more precarious. It now looks exceedingly difficult for him to assemble even the barest swing wards – like Arue ward – where the godfather lives in Uromi. He sure will have that polling unit, with that of Ugbesias. Chief Tom Ikimi is not known to have won his polling unit neither Chief Tony Omoaghe among others.
Obaseki will sure carry the day in this local government area – I can place a bet on this – though betting is unchristlike. Ize-Iyamu can ‘run-away’ with the fragment of less than 35% total votes cast – he should console himself – No venture, no success! No harm in trying.
In all fairness, the PDP should be kind to herself by looking at the mirror. Compare and contrast both the pictorial evidence at the campaigns – the sea of people – still pictures and electronic footages – then spot the difference! If, peradventure, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is asked to conduct a mock election in this Senatorial District today, am sure Ize-Iyamu knows he would go home shedding tears.