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Edo 2016: What is the choice before the people?

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EMERGING projections point to the fact that the purveyors of the desperate craze to lure the people of Edo State into the vortex of neo-colonial subservience and allegiance to an Aliko Dangote who, through the sitting Governor of the state is bent on foisting a surrogate on Edo State.

The strident campaign to impose a Godwin Obaseki in a last ditch effort to make Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole the de facto leader of Edo State post-November 12, 2016, has, palpably, met a brickwall as the governor’s foot soldiers are finding it difficult and intractable to sell an Obaseki candidacy and possible electoral triumph across the 192 wards, 18 local government areas and three senatorial districts of the state.   The people are aware that the Oshiomhole people are embarking on voyages of misinformation to whitewash their “anointed” aspirant.

With less than 10 months to the exit of Comrade Oshiomhole as governor of Edo State, a Season of Silence pervades the 18 local government areas of the state, save for occasional political engagements by some parties and their aspirants who are jostling for who will succeed him.   A stealthy climate of underground politicking envelopes the political class which, normally, is expected to set the tempo on high key, has operated in related obscurity and self-imposed dumbness.

For example, the gladiators in the APC have been given to making guarded and “self-censored” comments that will not make them run foul of the governor’s purported ban on pre-primary hustling in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State.   Many of the aspirants who had hurriedly set up campaign offices in the state capital, Benin City and other relevant places, were reportedly “advised” to dismantle such structures and fall in line within the Code of Silence and sedentary political engagement or attract strict and serious sanctions from the party.

The question that pops up in the guided politics of Edo APC is: What is the choice before the people of Edo State considering the motley crowd of aspirant struggling to succeed Oshiomhole on November 12, 2016?   Those who are conversant with the mechanisms of Nigerian politics will agree with me that some of the seekers of the prime position of governor are either sponsored by individuals or groups with ethnic, sectional, religious, commercial, spiritual or other interests in the jostling for the coveted diadem or are going into the race partially blind folded by the out-going administration’s seeming giant strides in the human capital and infrastructure development sub-sectors.

The two political divides seem to be pursuing the same agenda of delaying the commencement of full-blown campaigns that will herald the actual selection or election processes of the parties governorship primaries.

In the race for the governorship, Engineer Chris Osa Ogiemwonyi, a former Group Executive Director, NNPC and former Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Works; Professor Oserheimen Osunbor; Dr. Pius Odudu; Barrister Kenneth Imansuagbon and Mr. Godwin Obaseki are believed to be the aspirants that may fly the APC’s ensign considering the factors on the ground.   One of the  Governor’s premier choice for the position, Barrister Osarodion Ogie, who is the current Commissioner for Works fell out of reckoning as he (the Governor) felt that Ogie may not fit into his idea of a successor who will protect his rear post-November 12, 2016.   Insiders are of the view that the Governor’s previous calculations that the Bini Royal Palace will support Ogie, in spite of himself, had been overtaken by some irreversible occurrences that may not favour a pro-Oshiomhole governorship in November 2016.

Rather than back his known governorship lackey, the governor has partially unveiled his preferred choice who, for all intents and purposes, exhibits a gaping historical wound on his best foot that may prove tragic for the party, if he is allowed to run and fail.

The contention in Edo South Senatorial District is that Godwin Obaseki, who has the governor’s support at the prompting of the Kano State-born mega-businessman, Aliko Dangote, is weighted down by a widely-known negative historical antecedent that is bound to be the albatross and counting factor in his quest to fly the APC ensign or winning the coveted governorship election this year.   Most party members also believe that if the Dangote/Oshiomhole/Obaseki governorship deal jells, Obaseki, as the governor of Edo State, will pander to the selfish whims and caprices of a power-less Oshiomhole and concurrently whet the colonialist appetite of a Dangote, who is gradually extending his business empire into the political realm, using Edo State as a veritable guinea pig.

Many rate Dr. Pius Odubu as a lone ranger whomthe  Governor cannot touch with a kilometre-long pole when it comes to who will pick the governorship mantle of the APC and win the actual election.   For him, the issue of Odubu,  a Bini does not count because he does not fit into his (Oshiomhole’s) specifications of malleable person.   In fact Oshiomhole envisions Odubu as a political recidivist who will not be amenable to his manipulation or direction as governor post-November 2016.  If any aspirant needs consideration for the position of Governor of Edo State post-November 12, 2016, Engineer Chris Osa Ogiemwonyi’s abiding characteristics  come into positive play on the side of all Edo people.

Dr. Godfrey Osadolor, a political analyst, wrote from Abuja.

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