Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The simmering crisis in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has foreshadowed the 7th annual Okpekpe 10km marathon road race which held in Okpekpe, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
Recall that state governor Godwin Obaseki has consistently denied there is a crisis in the party, insisting that such insinuation was ‘fake news’ and the handiwork of politicians seeking appointments in Abuja.
But today, the annual event which usually had the immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his successor, Godwin Obaseki in attendance, was devoid of the usual glamour when Obaseki failed to attend the event in which Oshiomhole ran a solo VIP race, tagged “APC Race,” a departure from the past.
The state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu and Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, ran alongside other political office holders as well as other stalwarts of the party in the state, in another VIP race in which the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung also participated.
The first VIP race led by the deputy governor took off at 8:45am while that of the APC with Oshiomhole as the only key participant, took off at 9:30am.
Political watchers believe that the fragmentation of the race by the organisers might have been influenced by the frosty relationship between the former governor and National Chairman of the APC and Obaseki, the incumbent governor.
Meanwhile, a Bahrainian, Fikadu Dawit, won the male race of the 7th edition with a time of 29.03 minutes, to beat Barechanu Tsegu and John Lotiang, both of Ethiopia and Kenya, respectively, with a time of 29:04 and 29:17 minutes.
In the female category, the East Africans held sway with Sheila Chalangat from Kenya, taking the first position with a time of 33:14 minutes, while her compatriot, Tuitoak Jepchirchir, also from Kenya and Kasegn Asefa of Ethiopia, returned with a time of 33:18 and 33:31 to emerge second and third, respectively.