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Edo Election: Between Lycan and Vampire, By Ehi Ekhator

By News Express on 25/09/2016

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The election in Edo State between the two major contenders – Mr Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - can best be described as a contest between lycan and vampires.

There is not much difference between the PDP and APC in the state, as the current administration led by Adams Oshiomhole is a product of the PDP connection. Oshiomhole was desperate to become the governor that he sold his soul to the then ruling party, and the Igbinedion family. That was why Ize-Iyamu played a significant role. Ize-Iyamu was supposed to run for the ‘Osadebe Avenue’, but regarded the advice of Igbinedion’s family to allow Oshiomhole, who at that time was very loyal. The plan was that Oshiomhole would support Ize-Iyamu after his tenure, a plan that went sour as the governor found another candidate more reliable to his pursuit.

The two candidates in the state currently are what one could refer to as Establishments: Godwin Obaseki, who headed the economic team, is a product of Oshiomhole and was allegedly imposed on the party, according to many aggrieved aspirants; while Pastor Ize-Iyamu was another alleged imposition on the PDP, as complained by aggrieved PDP aspirants.

The boat is capsizing on the APC in the state at the moment, for many reasons:

1. The current economic situation in the country under APC government

2. Several campaign boycotts by Obaseki

3. The bad signs detected before Buhari became the President (Forgetting his political party names at rallies and interviews, missing certificate, and boycotting debates)

4. Weak and bad media campaign of the APC

5. Idisi’s family which accused Obaseki of embezzling their father’s millions and attempt by the APC candidate to block a National Assembly investigation

6. Speaking at rallies for few minutes while the governor, who is said to be on third term in disguise, talks for hours

7. Igbinedion-family’s decision to stay away from campaigns, despite the speculations of backing Ize-Iyamu

8. Inviting President Buhari to Benin, at a period the country is accusing him of running the country aground.

On the other hand, Edo people are also stuck with the decision whether to trust Ize-Iyamu due to his connection to the Igbinedion family: Lucky Igbinedion’s administration is still described as the worst in Edo State’s history of governance; a period when Benin women were ridiculed and brought back from Italy with the help of the wife of the then governor, Eki Igbinedion; period of total hardship and betrayal. The pastor was the chief of staff to the Edo State governor. The people have not forgotten the PDP years when Ize-Iyamu played a very prominent role.

Oshiomhole has used this as a song, to remind the people that the pastor cannot be trusted. In a statement issued after the soup went sour between the two former friends, Oshiomhole said: “I kept Ize-Iyamu busy by holding night meetings and saying all the lies. I didn’t want to spend time watching Ize-Iyamu’s files.

“I never gave Ize-Iyamu government job. I gave jobs to those I trusted. Ize-Iyamu would have done to me what he did to Lucky Igbinedion. It was because we kept him away from government that we were able to succeed and deliver on electoral promises. I didn’t allow him access to public fund. Edo cannot go back to what it was before. I laughed when he said he made me governor. Go and check the record on election-day. Ize-Iyamu did not, as he was hiding from the EFCC. I have made my name and I worked hard for the Nigerian workers. We are not tied to anybody’s apron.”

In a separate interview, Ize-Iyamu apologised to Edo people for bringing Oshiomhole in without praying. He opened up that the money the comrade spent on election was what he and others brought for him.

His words: “It was a big mistake, and like you just pointed out, sorry I didn’t pray. I am not being malicious, even if I weren’t running; I would be very strong in condemning him, because I am disappointed. I brought him in, all the money he spent we brought it together for him. So I feel very, very disappointed.”

As expected of the Nigerian politics, there are speculations that many PDP members are working against their party, just as some aggrieved APC members would want their party pay for its imposition and for bringing in what they termed inexperienced politician. A former local government chairman under the APC said recently that more than 60 per cent of the current APC would have since moved to PDP if Ize-Iyamu was not the candidate. They are not happy with Obaseki but Ize-Iyamu to them is not an alternative. On the other hand, some in PDP are just hapless too. Those routing for Ize-Iyamu are core PDP members. Over 60 per cent of the electorate does not trust the pastor.

In all, both Obaseki and Iyamu are two very unpopular candidates. People are just fighting for their own cake. Another PDP member who didn’t want to be named noted: “The truth is this: Majority of ordinary APC members wanted Odubu while majority of PDP members wanted Edebiri. Both Obaseki and pastor are products of what you call the establishments in more civilised democracies. This why the campaigns are dull, uninteresting and not issue-based; and that is why they have resorted to threats, blackmail, propaganda and insults. Edo has never had it so bad and may Edo never experience this again.”

The question of who wears the crown may not be far fetch. There is high possibility that history at the federal level may repeat itself at the state level, from all indications. Several areas in Edo State are contemplating on voting for the PDP candidates solely due to hardship in town. In another word, Edo people may vote for Ize-Iyamu out of sympathy and frustration.

There had been several calls for change of policy under Oshiomhole which were totally ignored. The 10,000 youths sacked by the governor may also be waiting for a pay-back through the governorship election. A poll conducted by NAIJA CENTER NEWS on its website also reflected victory for the PDP candidate. That is, if the incumbent did not wield his power to influence the result as expected in Nigerian politics. Godwin Obaseki also has his younger cousin, Don Pedro Obaseki to contend with. A man who was under-rated and would not stop at anything to tell his uncle that he is not a push-aside.

On the other hand, Ize-Iyamu has garnered enough enemy, for example, ex-president Goodluck Jonathan and those who are currently shaking his hands and having dinner with him may actually vote against the pastor. Major aspirants during the last PDP primaries are still sore and would also make sure that the state’s PDP chairman, Dan Orbih, paid for his manipulations, by voting against their party. Tony Anenih - who seems very silent since his boss, Jonathan, was voted out of Aso Rock - may be another reason the pastor may lose the election as sources said that he was solidly behind the rigging of the primaries. Anenih was allegedly informed of the move by Orbih to use the delegates to swear oaths. Rather than call for an inquiry, he allegedly pushed the information aside and took it out on the informant.

Edo people are in a confusing state and what they decide this month, September, would affect them for another four years.

•Ehi Ekhator can be reached at Phone: +447459853859; Twitter: @naijacenter @EhiEhidan.

Source News Express

Posted 25/09/2016 9:21:18 PM


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