Edo State APC Primary Race: Between “Godfather” And “Godson” Who Wins?


The die is cast. Edo State All Progressive Congress (APC) primary election comes up June 2 baring any unforeseen extension.  With all attempts made to settle the warring titans proving futile, the stage is set for the battle royal. Unlike in the past when the suave and quiet Obaseki enjoyed the support of his now turned adversary, the coast was clear.

Now, with the reverse the case, Mr Obaseki seemed to have a Gordian knot to crack. Undaunted, however the tough, firm and determined Obaseki is all but set to upset bookmaker’s predictions. Comrade Adams Oshiomole on his part is adamant; the pint sized, diminutive former governor is buoyed by his added position as the National Chairman of Obaseki’s party with the seeming influence of his acclaimed Federal might. As a result, the man who boasted that Obaseki cannot win his “local government” election has lined up regular faces in the political scenes such as Pastor Osaze Ize Iyamu, Dr. Pious Odubu, Engineer Ogiewonyi, etc., to slug it out with Godwin Obaseki.

No amount of persuasion was enough to persuade the former labour leader to soft pedal and give his now turned “arch enemy” a second chance; and as he had often boasted that he has “never lost any election”, the June 2 primary therefore will be litmus test on how to teach his former godson a lesson. With the alleged support of the national leader of the party himself, only a miracle –as it is—would save Obaseki from the hangman noose. Barring any changes, bookmakers, are confident and staking their necks out backing Comrade Adams Oshiomole to emerge victorious, probably because of the criminal and shoddy manner the 2019 primary in Lagos State was “stolen” by merely writing and announcing the results to pave way for the godfather in Lagos.

But they are wrong. This is democracy and not battle field. This is not the Stalinist era or the Niccolo Machiavelli period when the end justifies the means. Back in Lagos, the “victory” was possible because President Buhari was looking to be re-elected and so found no need to interfere in the primary.

Now the President is not looking for any election. Secondly, the public is now sufficiently informed; Obaseki’s stronghold is his massive performance and the support of the grassroots. Just as his predecessor rubbished the late Anenih for corruption, he too has been rubbished for the crap they did, for example, at the Benin General Hospital.  On top of this, the Benin’s’ have suffered terrible humiliation under the same comrade Adams Oshiomole who engineered the ouster of their son Chief Odigie Oyegun from power.  The same comrade also presided over the disgrace of the late political maestro Chief Tony Anenih and infact retired him from politics. It is now in public domain that virtually everything he accused Anenih of, he is guilty multiple times.

These factors coupled with the fact that some bigwig’s within the National Working Committee are not happy with his so-called iron-fisted style is still lingering. The Police themselves are wary to be unduly used as a result of past experiences. Be that as it may the era of godfatherism is abating; “comrade wants to be a deity and be like the late Ogbemudias and Anenihs; this is not possible because these legends were not limited in their largesse to the people”, said a youth leader in Edo North.  According to him, “Comrade Oshiomole has few followers he empowers; you know them: the Clement Agba, the Odubus, the Ihonvhere, etc. None else ever benefits from his closed circle”. Elsewhere, recent events have shown that unless Oshiomole makes peace, he is heading for a bitter defeat.

A case in point to buttress this, is the bitter feud between Kwankwaso and his godson Dr Abdullahi Ganduje. Ganduje served Kwankwaso for 8 years as deputy governor, yet handed him a resounding defeat at the polls; in Benue, the battle was between two heavyweights, George Akume and his godson Ortom. Against the odds, Ortom roundly defeated his estranged godfather. Akume had even lined up one Emmanuel Jime who at the time occupied a juicy position as NEPZA chief. In Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko was acclaimed godfather to Aminu Tambuwal who because of disagreements crossed over to another party and yet fell his former godfather.  

In Cross River State Godswill Akpabio fell out with his alleged godson Udom Emmanuel, who stood his grounds and trounced him; what about Abia State tango between Orji Kalu and his godson Theodore Orji? Have we forgotten how Willie Obiano in Anambra assailed his bitter foe and former godfather in Peter Obi? Ditto Liyel Imoke and Ben Ayade? The case of Yahaya Bello of Kogi State cannot be forgotten so soon. Tried as hard as they did, their efforts came to nought. Bello triumphed.

If it was difficult to unseat Oshiomole in his days as governor, why does he think Obaseki’s case will be different? Well, maybe because of his much vaunted position as National Chairman! Nevertheless, Oshiomole has not played his cards right this time. He would have been the greatest hero had he succumbed to his obdurate pride and settle the rift with his foe. This has not been possible given the voracious appetite of his factional leaders urging him to drop Obaseki. To them, democracy has suddenly become “persona racy”, government for me, by me and for my family! Whoop!  All said, there is still time to make peace.

The likes of Pastor Osaze Ize Iyamu, Dr. Pious Odubu should tarry till 2024. They are still young. Everyone knows they are not coming to serve Edo people but themselves and those angling for “stomach infrastructure”. There will not be room to “write” results this time; the will of the people cannot be trampled upon this time.

The laws of Karma will take its course. So far a recent Opinion Poll carried out by our reporter’s shows Obaseki is strongly backed by the grassroots and the elites. Thanks to social media no secret can be covered. Our reporters would monitor events in Edo State as they unfold until after the primary; to see whether an individual who was brought to political limelight by the combined strength of the Anenih’s, Igbinedion’s, Ogbemudia’s and the Ikimi’s can prevail against the State and the wishes of the people.