With the declaration of incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Demoocratic Party (PDP) as winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Edo state by the Independent Nation al Electoral Commission (INEC), so many gladiators may have been affected in one way or the other, following their positions and role in the campaign process. Political Editor, EZEOCHA NZEH, writes on the possible changes and repositioning that trailed the poll as well as the likely winners and losers in the new political calculation in the state
Incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP literally proved so many book makers wrongs from his overwhelming victory at last Saturday’s governorship election in Edo state. Obaseki, who was frustrated out of the then ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), along with his Deputy, Philip Shuaibu when he was disqualified from seeking a second term in office by the Adams Oshiomhole led National Working Committee (NWC) of APC was warmly embraced by the then opposition PDP, who offered him the party ticket
It was not however an easy task for the Governors, who needed to convince the PDP to drop their three contending aspirants, including the favoured Kenneth Imasuagbon, who initially bluntly refused to step down for the governor
Obaseki, from the final results declared by the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer, Professor Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, polled 307, 955 votes, while Ize-iyamu got 223, 619 votes.
With the election having won and lost with Obaseki’s dusting of Pastor Ize Iyamu of the APC and his number one supporter, Adams Oshiomhole, in 13 out of the 18 local government areas of the state, it has no doubt turned into a period of jubilation for some while other will be in tears and wondering how the new political arithmetic of Edo state will be panned out, as well as calculations ahead of the 2023 political atmosphere
Winners of the election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
INEC has since its last outing in the last governorship election in Kogi state, where the APC candidate, incumbent Governor Yaya Bello was declared winner amidst protests and allegations of mass killing and riging, may have kept several Nigerians in suspense over its ability to conduct a free, fair credible election. Despite the commission’s efforts in Kogi, the outcome of governorship election no doubt pulled back its efforts at entrenching a globally accepted electoral process in the commission. That election was allegedly marred with so many irregularities, which it was reported, happened in the presence of some INEC officials.
But the conduct of last Saturday’s election in Edo has put the commission back to its desired ranking by Nigerian. Starting with its stakeholders meeting, where it sued for peace among the major actors, INEC never left any stakeholder in doubt, its determination to re launch its high rating, using the Edo state election. Its transparency in distribution of ele3ction materials, both sensitive and non sensitive, open disclosure its code for the public to follow the commission’s process of announcing election results, coupled with the commitment and transparent actions exhibited by its staff have singled INEC out as one of the major winners in the Edo governorship election
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, capped it when he expressed appreciation to all those who worked to make the Edo State governorship election a success. While winding down the Situation Room on the Edo Governorship election at 2.20pm the Honourable Chairman reminded all that “there is no respite yet for all as the attention shifts to Ondo State where the Commission will in three weeks conduct another Governorship election.”
Prof Yakubu challenged all INEC staff and participants in the conduct of elections in the country to prove that the success in Edo was no fluke but the standard in the conduct of elections.
Obaseki and Philip Shuaibu
With the tenacity of the APC campaign, and the manner in which Governor Obaseki was humiliated by the APC, as well as the teeming number of his 42 commissioners and aides who dumped him, even at the eleventh hour of the poll to join the Oshiomhole/Ize Iyamu camp, many believed that it was game over for the governor and his deputy. But the hard fighting Edo governor proved book makers wrong when he fought a Spartan fight, insisting that it was not over for him. Victory for him in the poll has no doubt launched him back to a bigger political reckoning both in his political party, the PDP, and the national sphere
Also the deputy governor, Philip Shuaibu, who gave the likes Oshiomhole and the APC deputy governorship candidate, Ganiyu Audu, a tough fight in Edo North stand to be listed as one of the winners in this election. Shuaibu, a former “Oshiomhole boy” refused to betray the governor, when he was allegedly called upon to ditch him by his former boss, followed Obaseki to the PDP when he was rejected by APC
Though Shuaibu could not win for the PDP in any of the three local government areas of Edo North, the margins at which he lost to Oshiomhole and Audu shows his doggedness and fighting spirit to crown his boast of being a grassroots man in the zone
Edo PDP, Oyegun and Ikimi
The duo of former Governor John Odigie – Oyegun and former chairman of the defunct National Republican Convention (RC) and erstwhile chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Tom Ikimi, may also emerge as one of the beneficiaries of the victory of the PDP candidate in Saturday’s election.
Oyegun, who openly criticised the treatment meted out to Obaseki by the APC was though listed into the APC governorship council for Edo state. But he was not prominent in the campaign, and his last statement which distanced him from the earlier report that he has called for Edo people to vote Ize Iyamu, also helped in favour of the eventual winner. Obaseki’s victory will no doubt return tOyegun, a former Edo state governor to ;political stardom in the state, after he was long abandoned by previous governors.
For Tom Ikimi, who dumped the APC in 2014, after failing in his bid to secure the party’s chairmanship position to returned to the PDP may also use the party’s victory may revive his low political profile both in the state and national.
The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF)
There has been conflicting reports on the position of the Progressive Governors Forum on the APC candidate, Ize Iyamu. It would be recalled that Governor Godwin Obaseki was the vice chairman of the Kebbi state governor, bubakar Atiku bagudu, led Progressives Governors Forum before he left for the PDP
The PGF it was reported joined hand to sack the Adams Oshiomhole led APC national Working Committee, immediately after his masterminded the disqualification of one of them. The governor it was gathered , pleaded with with Oshiomhole and President Muhammadu Buhari to live Obaseki alone, but the them NWC chairman never agreed
Not satisfied with the humiliation of their colleague by Comrade Oshiomhole, majority of the APC governors it was gathered rallied behind Obaseki, even as he was flying the banner of an opposition party (PDP), leaving only only the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinmma, and his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to work for Pastor Ize-Iyamu.
The AUTHORITY also gathered that the APC governors used the Edo state election to send their message ahead of the shaping of 2023 presidency. It was further gathered that the governors backed the sacking of Adams Oshiomhole as APC National Chairman as a prelude to what will play out in the party’s 2023 fight for presidency
Comrade Oshiomhole will no dobt be counting his loses after INEC declared his sworn opponent, Governor Godwin Obaseki winner on Sunday. Having fought with so many of his war arsenals to send Obaseki to his Lagos base, and enthrone his preferred candidate, Ize Iyamu, the former governor could be counted as one of the major losers in the election. Obaseki’s victory may have spelt doom to the former Labour leader’s political future, having already lost the exalted office of party national Chairman
The September 19 election was the battle of his life to remain relevant in the local politics of Edo and launch himself back to national politics. The defeat of his anointed candidate, Pastor Iyamu may have denied Oshiomhole that opportunity
The former Chief of Staff and Secretary to Edo State Government may have ended his political carrier with this second defeat he has suffered in the hands of the same person, Obaseki.
For the second time, he has lost in his bid for the Osadebey House under the two major political parties. Analysts believe that it would be very difficult for POI to revive his battered political carrier, especially he suffered this second defeat. In his quest for the governorship of Edo state, Ize Iyamu defected to the PDP ahead of the 2016 governorship election and lost to the APC candidate, Godwin Obaseki. He returned to the APC and emerged its candidate having been granted waiver by the party NWC, who disqualified all major contenders in his favour
Captain Hosa Okunbo
Business mogul, Flight Captain Hosa Okunbo, fell apart with the governor as the countdown to the 2020 governorship poll attained the fever pitch. Citing irreconcilable differences with Obaseki, the Edo State-born bnillionaire joined forces with Oshiomhole and allegedly emerged as one of the major sponsors of the Ize Iyamu. With his now irreconcilable state with Obaseki, Captain Hosa okunbor will no doubt be counting his loses in the election
The 14 Edo lawmakers and 42 Aides of Obaseki who resigned to fight him
The Edo State House of Assembly has been polarised into two camps following the decision of some members not to be inaugurated by Governor Obaseki in June 2019. The lawmakers, who were those loyal to Oshiomhole have never joined their colleagues at the Edo state House of Assembly, who were grouped as Governor Obaseki loyalists
Last August, the rank of the anti-Obaseki group in the House grew to 17 as they claimed to have removed Frank Okiye as Speaker and pronounced Victor Edoror, as new Speaker
With the victory of the governor last Saturday, how the impasse in Edo State House of Assembly that has courted several litigations be resolved is still not known. One wonders what will be the fate of the lawmakers, if the governor decides to write INEC for a fresh election to fill their abandoned seats, as required by the assembly laws, having stayed out of their legislative duty for the legal period of months
Also to be counting their loses after this election are the 42 commissioners and aides of Obaseki, who resigned their appointments to join forces with Oshiomhole and Ize Iyamu to fight the governor
Edo poll: Ganduje, Buni meet Buhari
The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)(,Mai Mala Buni, and chairman of the party’s Edo state governorship election campaign council, and governor of Kano state, Abdulahi Ganduje, on Monday, held a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Although the agenda of the meeting, which was said to be a private one was not made public, there were suggestions it dwelt more on the last Saturday’s Edo state governorship election, which the APC candidate, Osagie Ize – Iyamu lost convincingly yo his PDP counterpart, incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The meeting also held a day after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, the winner of the governorship election
Ganduje, who was among the APC governors who monitored the election in Benin, it was reported left the state on Sunday shortly before the result of the election was formally released.
The governor however sneaked out of the villa, using different routes, apparently in their bid to avoid any encounter with State House correspondents, who were eagerly waiting for their comments on the meeting and the Last Saturday’s election.