Now that Obaseki Has Chosen to Stand and be Counted…

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Now that Obaseki Has Chosen to Stand and be Counted…
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Now that the characters to be played by the actors are known, the stage is set and the audience is cheering and chanting, what level of spectacle should the audience expect?

The angel has fallen, the master has installed a new arch-angel, the fallen angel seeks to form a new kingdom rather than bow to his master. Edo state has emerged the scene of one of the most anticipated political actions as Nigerians look forward to the outcome of battle of gladiators.

Incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki had become a political orphan after his disqualification by the All Progressive Congress (APC). Since the constitution of Nigeria does not yet permit for independent candidates for elections, Obaseki needed a political party which he would fly their flag.

In 2018 after Akinwunmi Ambode had been denied the ticket of APC, losing the primary to Babajide Sanwo-Olu. He resisted the urge to go against his godfather. Ambode has gone into political retirement since then as he currently holds no elective position.

After similar event played out in Edo state, Nigerians were keenly interested in his reaction. He wasn’t one to be quick to jump ship and seek realization of his ambitions elsewhere, without due consultation. Obaseki had announced his resignation of the APC after a meeting with Professor Agboola Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari. It appeared the party hierarchy were neither willing to grant Obeseki waiver or alter the decision of the screening committee.

Obaseki was pictured on a visit to governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state who is a key figure in the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Visit to Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom followed after which he was reported to have had a virtual meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and other party stalwarts.

Now the cat was let out of the bag. Obaseki declared his official cross-carpeting to the PDP to seek reelection bid.

What has become of his godfather Oshiomhole?

What started off as a cold war between Obaseki and his benefactor- Adams Oshiomhole ended up in an open verbal attack in the media. Oshiomhole had claimed the first victory over his godson- Obaseki had been sent packing from the APC fold.

Oshiomhole was speculated to have masterminded the disqualification of Obaseki whom he had sold to Edo electorates as the messiah to build on his giant strides as the chief executive.

Few days after Oshiomhole’s masterstroke over Obaseki, an Appeal court which sat in the nation’s capital upheld Oshiomhole’s removal as the National Chairman of the APC. He had received a fair dose of disappointment. This meant he lost some grounds in the scheme of affairs of the APC. The emergence of a new Sheriff was imminent.

The National Working Committee was quick to appoint Abiola Ajimobi as his successor to fill the void. However, twenty-four hours later, Victor Giadom Deputy National Secretary of the APC made claim over the Acting National Chairmanship position. He reversed Obaseki’s disqualification and offered him a second chance to fair consideration.

Giadom’s offer came at a time Obaseki already resigned his membership. Now that Obaseki has decamped to the PDP and Oshiomhole deposed as APC National Chairman, what are Obaseki’s chances of retaining his seat? How much influence will Oshiomole have on the outcome of the election?

At first glance, it would seem like Oshiomhole’s wings have been clipped but the influence of Oshiomhole in Edo state transcends his position at the national level of APC. The two-time governor enjoys massive grassroot followership in the state. Prior to venturing into politics, he had fought for the right of workers as a Labour leader. The gains and goodwill steaming from his good tides accords him followership.

Oshiomhole has established himself as a force to reckon with in Edo state. It was his achievements that influenced his elevation to the APC chairmanship position. President Buhari had told him while on projects commissioning visit in Edo towards the end of his administration that his expertise was needed at the national level.

Obaseki on the hand, boasts of technocratic abilities. He has performed remarkably well and overseen some sustainable projects in the state. As he charges towards the polls, achievements of his first stewardship will contribute to garner votes for him

Now, with the backing of the main opposition party, Obaseki stands as much chance as his APC opponent. The PDP would be out to prove a point that they could woo a rival and support him to victory. Forces in PDP would be expecting a similar outcome to that of Ortom in Benue state.

As the actors fasten their gloves and roll up their sleeves, it will be fascinating to witness where the pendulum swings.

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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