Home The Politico Drumbeats for Oshiomhole’s Successor Begins

Drumbeats for Oshiomhole’s Successor Begins

Correspondent AGENE AKHERE in Benin writes on the permutations towards the forthcoming governorship poll in Edo State and the various factors that may influence the race across the All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)…
The attention of the country will be focused on Edo State from now on because the state is one of those the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be conducting governorship elections in this year. True to that, the contest for who will emerge as the candidates of the major parties in the Edo poll has already begun.
Meanwhile, two-time governor of the Mid-western region and also defunct Bendel State, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, has called on the people of Edo State to organise a ’roundtable meeting’ on the battle for succession, ahead of the search for who becomes the next Governor. He said the people of Edo State must come together, reason, negotiate and act in unison to ensure that the legitimate aspiration of every Edo man and woman is fulfilled in a politically-competitive Nigerian environment
Ogbemudia spoke in Benin-City, Edo State capital, while unveiling a platform to begin the search for the next governor of the state. He had said: “The reality is that the collective effort would be needed to maximize the potentials of the Edo man or woman for Edo State, thus the birth of the Edo Mass Movement”.
While saying that himself and a few Edo patriots including late Modino Emovon had painstaking taken it upon themselves to find who to take the state to the next level the former governor said: “This movement will largely be politically active but lean not to any partisan sentiments. The period when partisanship inclinations may become unavoidable would be when a person with a proven track record of achievement aspires for political office and he or she is able to command the support of the Movement as to necessitate a direct intervention to get him or her elected or appointed as the case may be.
“In galvanizing the people to action, Edo Mass Movement shall embark on sensitization exercises through appropriate channels. The focus shall be to make the people understand their civic responsibilities as well as their rights and privileges.
“Therefore, for sometime, some of our compatriots have laboured to develop the concept and structure of the Edo Mass Movement (EMM) to accommodate the grand yearning for good governance irrespective of age, tribe or partisan learning.
“In a nutshell, the aim of Edo Mass Movement is to support good governance, transparency, credible citizens, patriotism and those who work for the success of Edo Mass Movement.”

All things being equal, the governorship election in Edo will be due in a few months from now and preparations though subtle for now have begun by most of the aspirants who wish to pick the ticket of their political parties. 

As at today, the main political parties expected to slug it out in that election remain the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
However, apparently not to unnecessarily heat up the polity, the leadership of the APC, some time ago, cautioned those jostling to get the party’s governorship ticket to allow the party come out with appropriate modalities for the exercise and also to not distract the government from performing its responsibilities to the people of the state in the remaining months of the administration of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The state Chairman of the party, Chief Anselm Ojezu, cautioned the aspirants not to build any alternative structure, as he said such would create factions in the party.
He urged them to rely on the structure already built by the party to further their ambitions.    
“The party will come up with guidelines; we have told all those working to embark on consultations and not serious campaigns yet because governance is a product of politics but experience has shown that both of them cannot live side by side, one must give way to the other. That is why when it is time for campaigns, governance suffers and politics, campaigns and all the rest take the centre stage. By the same token, when the campaigns are over, governance must be allowed to hold sway so that you can perform those things you said during campaigns.
“That is why we emphasised the need for those who aspire to exercise restraints at this moment. For now, they should confine themselves with making consultations not building structures because it has a capacity of creating factions in a party and we are not going to allow that because the only thing that will make APC lose election now in Edo State is self-implosion but if we manage ourselves well, we are the party to beat in Edo State at the moment, so we are not going to allow anything that will create the impression that there will be factions or so called structures. There cannot be any other structure but the party structure, anything outside that we will eliminate before they start and if we trace it to an individual, we will disqualify that person.”

Just like the APC, the PDP is yet to come out with modalities, but its leadership led by Chief Dan Orbih recently said it would field a credible candidate that would defeat the APC and its candidate in the election.
Factors That May Influence Governorship Race
However, observers strongly believe that certain factors including zoning/ethnic consideration, influence from the traditional institutions particularly the Benin Monarch, Governor Oshiomohole and some opinion leaders may likely affect the choice of who flies the flag of the parties especially that of the ruling APC. 
But even in the face of all of that, the APC is expected to cede its ticket to the Binis, although some of its current aspirants are not Binis who believe they could ride on their popularity to get the ticket of the party. The two non-Bini aspirants of APC at present are former governor of the state, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor and popular philanthropist Ken Imansuagbon, popularly called the Rice Man.
The other aspirants of the party who are Benin indigenes are- Deputy Governor Pius Odubu; former Chief of Staff and current Commissioner for Works, Osarodion Ogie; former Minister of State for Works, Chief Chris Ogienmwonyi; PDP gubernatorial candidate in the 2012 poll, Charles Airhiavbere, a retired army officer. And of course, there are also the Obasekis- Don Pedro Obaseki and Godwin Obaseki, a late entrance into the race, whom Governor Oshiomhole is being accused of backing to succeed him.
PDP’s Direction Yet Unclear

For the PDP, it is not clear which direction, particularly in terms of senatorial zone, it would cede its ticket. But the race is also dominated by the Binis except former Minister of Works, Chief Mike Onolemenen, who is from Edo Central Senatorial District (Esan) just like Osunbor and Imansuagbon. Other aspirants of the PDP are Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Solomon Edebiri, Senator Ehigie Uzamere Matthew Iduoriyekemwen. 

But it is generally believed that the contest would be between APC and PDP and some Benin leaders and even the PDP leadership have previously argued that Edo State should not be in opposition to the federal government in Abuja, euphemism for saying the state should still go the way of APC in 2016. But all eyes are on the party leaders as to whether that would still be their position when the governorship election draws nearer.

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