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Kanu Okoronkwo Silas
Abia State University
Political Science
200Level, Nigeria.
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The cold war between Governor
Godwin Obaseki of Edo and the
National Chairman of the All
Progressives Congress, Comrade
Adams Oshiomhole has entered
another dimension as the
embattled governor tries to
consolidate his position ahead of
his second term bid in 2020.
Those close to the state of affairs in
the state allege that Oshiomhole is
determined to take back control of
Edo from Obaseki’s iron grip.
Although the governor has largely
succeeded in establishing his own
strong structure since coming into
office, the APC national chairman’s
current prominence on the national
scene is said to give him a joker,
especially as the National Working
Committee of the party which he
presides over will have to approve
the Edo governorship candidate of
the party.
The genesis of tensions can be
traced back to 2016 when
Oshiomhole, the outgoing governor
of the state then, handpicked
Obaseki, who was then the
chairman of the state Economic and
Strategic Unit, as his successor
against the advice of many
stakeholders. Obaseki went on to
win the elections.
Oshimhole must have neglected to
emphasize the virtues of loyalty in
his handover notes, for no sooner
had Obaseki settled down than he
went about hounding some of his
predecessor’s most loyal men
placed in strategic positions. While
some were arrested and detained,
others were summarily dismissed;
the rest were unceremoniously run
out of town. Only a few lucky ones
either too entrenched or too low
on the totem pole survived the
purge. The governor also allegedly
undermined some of the projects of
the previous administration, like
the Benin Central Hospital built by
Oshiomhole which is yet to be
opened several years after
completion.
Since then, Oshiomhole has an axe
to grind with his former protégé.
And as the time approaches to
choose the state’s number one
citizen, he senses his opportunity to
get his pound of flesh. The
governor knows this too, hence the
recent token attempts at
conciliation ahead of the recent
general election. His cause wasn’t
helped by the party’s performance
during the presidential and house
of assembly elections as the party
under his stewardship lost several
seats to the PDP.
Desperate to bolster support,
Obaseki has turned around and
embraced some of those he
persecuted in the early days of his
tenure. By hook or by crook, he has
wooed some of Oshiomhole’s foot
soldiers of yore to his own side. But
he knows that isn’t enough. His
situation is like when the heroes of
a martial arts film have fought their
way through an assortment of
henchmen only to come face to
face with the big bad boss who
stands between them and their
ultimate quest.
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