In the true Shakespearian sense “the entire World’s a stage, and all men and women are merely players; they have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts.” I wish Adams Oshiomhole is reading.
On the Nigerian political scene, every man comes to play his part and go away. John Odigie Oyegun governed Edo State, played his part and left the stage. Lucky Igbinedion became governor, he fulfilled his purpose and off the stage. Oshiomhole took over as governor ended his two term, but has refused to hand over the state to his successor, rather he has given him the seat while Oshiomhole still controls the state.
Like Shakespeare, Oshiomhole has his entrance, but has refused to go through his exit. This was why Martin Luther King Jr, emphasized that “if a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the street.” Oshiomhole swept, but did not sweep hence he suddenly remembered he had unfinished business in the Edo State Government House hence he is seeking a third term through Ize-Iyamu in order for him to remain on the stage forever without exit as against the postulation of Shakespeare.
The Iyasele of Esan Land, Chief Tony Anenih once said “any successful leader knows that his value lies not only in managing group, men and materials, or in running organizations or parties, but also in the inspiration he engenders in others, setting purposeful goals, executing strategic vision and creating the desire excellence and success.” There is much more to be desired from the former governor of Edo State based on the above view of Chief Anenih.
With the battle of Oshiomhole against the second term bid of Governor Godwin Obaseki, the political eclipse enveloping Edo State political scene has become thicker. How long this political eclipse that has engulfed our state will last and the ramifications of its consequences both on the economy of the state and the peace and security of the state can’t be predicted as at today. The option of Adams Oshiomhole in waging war against the incumbent governor of Edo State has polarized the state along various fault lines.
The battle to stop Obaseki from seeking a second term in office was bound to generate an explosive negative impact on the Edo State political scene. The palpable injustice of depriving a performing government from continuation has made the move by the former APC National Chairman unacceptable to the people of the state.
It was a legal mockery by the screening panel that disqualified Governor Obaseki. By disqualifying Obaseki, Oshiomhole has, by his action, encouraged the creation of an atmosphere that would plung the state into chaos. It will be gross disservice to the state for anyone to incite the ordinary people of the state into lawlessness.
The battle for the control of Edo has proven to be a Titanic struggle. It has assumed a dangerous dimension like the August 1991 battle between the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who fielded Chief John Odigie Oyegun as its candidate and National Republican Convention (NRC) that brought forward Lucky Igbinedion. The difference between that election and this forthcoming September governorship election in Edo State is that both candidates of the 1991 struggle, matched each other and fit the bill judging by their number of supporters. But Ize-Iyamu doesn’t occupy such or enjoy such privilege to match Godwin Obaseki in the forthcoming governorship election.
Just as the SDP victory was so stunning to the NRC, the forthcoming defeat of Ize-Iyamu would be his greatest shocker. They will suddenly go into mid-day swoons and wake up days later to dispute the election results as usual on several grounds.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will definitely win the forthcoming September election because the PDP is better organized and more in touch with the grassroots, with powerful manifesto that’s more inspiring to the masses. The PDP has more role models and inspiring leadership in the state as at today. Governor Godwin Obaseki has constantly strived to exert himself to his utmost best like he has always done in the financial management world as a stock broker unlike the picture of Obaseki that Oshiomhloe is currently painting.
Nigerians have come to know Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as a man who loves to fish in troubled waters. The public has preserved him as a hireling who is doing what justifies his wages. The people of Edo State have finally come to accept the reality that Oshiomhole is a complex personality like the eclipse who takes pleasure in stirring up winds and only to enjoy the whirlwind. Today, it is quite clear that by Oshiomhole’s words and actions, he has set himself against the people of the state and his own party.
The forthcoming September governorship election in Edo State is not about Oshiomhole, but more about INEC. The truth of the matter is that INEC is the one that will determine the success or failure of democracy in Edo State. INEC must be ready to discharge their responsibility with a high sense of mission so that Edo State can be preserved. Whether Edo State will continue to exist after this election will depend on INEC and the security agencies.
The victory of Godwin Obaseki is not debatable since he is currently being backed by a well-organized campaign machinery which involves a well -worked out strategy put in place by committed and dedicated people who are ready to spend their time, money and energy to support the candidature of Godwin Obaseki.
The Obaseki’s campaign team is perfect to ensure he wins his reelection. People have constantly wondered what has given Obaseki an extreme edge more than those struggling to pull him down. The answer is simple. Obaseki is an accomplished statesman who has not been spoiled by politics and he has a record of not being corrupt.
He was described by Oshiomhole as the ‘Brain Box’ of his administration for eight years he worked and served the state without salary. He called Obaseki a workaholic and a go-getter who used his network of friends to enhance his administration. If all that Oshiomhole had earlier said about Obaseki is anything to go by then Obaseki is the best man for the job and that’s why Ize-Iyamu is frustrated because rather than gaining acceptability due to the presence of Oshiomhole’s support for him, he is rather facing rejection from palaces like was seen in Igueben.
Notable personality are today standing with Obaseki for his second term because if you look back to the damage done to the system by previous administration; the abandoned infrastructure, the moral decadence prevailing in the society and the rot left by previous administration and compare with Obaseki’s efforts at sanitizing the system, it would be unwise for any responsible person from Edo State not to allow Obaseki to have a second term to enable him restore the flying glory of the state. The second term would enable him to consolidate on the previous achievements in his effort to transform our society.
One current effort that Ize-Iyamu and his bunch of liars are making is by viciously sponsoring press release against the person of the governor particularly his Deputy Comrade Philip Shaibu due to his wide spread political influence both in Oshiomhole’s househood and Edo State in general due to his sterling quality of performance both in the Slstate House of Assembly and the Federal House of Representatives that has endeared him to the people. Their plan is to use press war with all intensity to drown Philip Shaibu, but the deputy governor is a man of courage and high level sensitivity who doesn’t get tensed by mere expression of opinion. The press conferences and releases against him were conveniently absorbed by him without making him over reactive.
Apart from negative multiple press conferences, they have also engaged themselves in multiple court processes leading to abuse of court processes. Even though the Nigeria court has constantly frowned against multiple and abuse of court processes by Ize-Iyamu and his godfather, the practice has continued unabated. Today, they will initiate a case saying the deputy governor did not go to school, tomorrow they will come up to the same court to apologize and discontinue the suit for the purpose of filing a fresh one after they found out that the allegations on their first suit cannot fly. Such an irresponsive set of politicians who are inconsistent with their facts can’t be trusted with political power. They do not have the sacred hands to quench the fire of politics.
The question could rightly be asked, what amount to abuse of the court process? The apex court gave few lines on what could constitute abuse of court process which Ize-Iyamu and Oshiomhole are fully guilty of. The following circumstances have been the hallmark of the APC in Edo State.
Another way the opposition has abused the court process in their frustration to remove Obaseki is by instituting different actions between the same parties simultaneously in different courts, even though on different grounds.
Their most common abuse of the court process in Edo State is where there is no iota of law supporting a court process or where it is premised on frivolity and recklessness like the Edo State House of Assembly members elect who are yet to be inaugurated are parading themselves as law makers. The Nigerian constitution spelled out the need for a proclamation to be issued by only the executive governor once and that has since been done by Governor Obaseki, Edo has one governor and only one governor can issue a proclamation at a time. On whose proclamation did those who refer to themselves as factional law makers are standing? Can a business centre issue a proclamation that is recognized by the Nigeria law? Have these same law makers forgotten that they have a lingering litigation before a court of law waiting for judgment? Have they run out of patients suddenly as they seem to have run out of time?
The political eclipse that has deeply enveloped Edo State has shown the devil with double horns. Capturing this political moment of eclipse in Edo State is the most unforgettable political moment in the history of the former Bendel State. Governing Edo State is not usually one of those jobs for the boys. Political analysts have captured an inferior mirage of the political scene that has made the political eclipse more thrilling,” these kinds of political battles are not rare but not seen every day.
Soon and very soon, the political eclipse that has enveloped Edo State will suddenly vanish into the cloud by September 19th 2020 after Governor Godwin Obaseki must have emerged as an elected governor of Edo State for a second time. Then the ongoing eclipse of the soul of Edo State which has been on two separate war parts will then unite in one deep Red Sea in the name of reconciliation by calling on Oshiomhole and Ize-Iyamu to join hands to move Edo forward and making Edo great again.
We are all caught in a spider web in Edo State reaping our evils and our good deeds simultaneously. No spider has all of the spiderman skills like Oshiomhole is trying to portray that he has all the political skill to rig and win any election. Where Philip Shaibu’s skill starts and where the Deputy Governor’s skill ends his boss Godwin Obaseki’s own start in that order is how life revolves. No one man has all the spiderman skill. Many people are like the spiderman but not the spider. The same with the APC in Edo State today. Many people are in the party and love the party, but not the candidate. The ingenuity of a party does not spill to his candidate. In the primitive stage of democracy in Africa, people jump and run after political parties even when those parties have no clear cut manifesto. But today’s politics has gone beyond that primitive stage. Voters now love the spiderman and not the spider. Those following the spiderman are against the spider and even kill spiders in their homes yet applaud the spiderman. That is the case of Ize-Iyamu in this forthcoming election.
The fortune of APC was in Obaseki and not the party. Obaseki has left with the fortune and goodwill that the APC Edo State enjoys. The barefooted candidate cannot turn around the dwindling fortune he inherited in desperation. The quick succession with Obaseki is harvesting all APC supporters across all the Edo North and Edo Central ward to ward tour has left the fragile opposition party with the only option of violence in order for the election to be cancelled, but God has gone ahead of their plans to make every crooked places to be straight for the incumbent administration.
• Atu, a broadcaster and political scientist, writes from Edo