Tony Osauzo, Benin
The current Coronavirus pand emic notwithstanding, going by the provision of the Constitution of the country which stipulates a four-year term for governors and the President, the terminal date of Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki’s administration is November 11 this year.
That means Obaseki will be sworn in on November 12 for a second term of office if he gets his party’s ticket and wins the state September 19 gubernatorial election or a brand new governor from among the aspirants seeking to unseat him from the APC or from other political parties will assume office on that date.
For certainty, Obaseki has since declared his intention for a second term of office, saying he deserves right of first refusal and that his ticket is ‘non negotiable’ on the platform of the All Progressives Congress(APC).
Following stiff opposition to his second term bid by a section of his party faithful in Edo State, which he presumes has the support of the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Obaseki felt one way to achieve his objective was to plot and galvanise effort to remove his former boss(Oshiomhole) and his benefactor, from office to enable him have a smooth sale but the plot however failed, following Appeal Court ruling which restored him to his office arising from an earlier ruling of an FCT High court which ousted him as the National Chairman of the party.
Since the ruling of the Appeal Court, coupled with the raging COVID-19 in the country, the hens have come home to roost and the political temperature of Edo State which almost reached the roof on account of bitter recriminations from parties on both sides of the political divide of the APC, has also lowered.
But recently, there has been a rev of political activities from the camps of some of the APC governorship aspirants, who have been busy dishing out palliatives to support the vulnerable in Edo, following the partial lockdown of the state occasioned by precautionary measures put in place by the state government to check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, in a few weeks from now, the political landscape of the state would not remain the same, as governorship aspirants across political parties are expected to come out in full swing to canvass for support and votes of their party members ahead of the parties’ primaries where nomination of the various governorship candidates would be made.
Specifically, the governorship primaries of the APC is expected to attract the attention and interest of many political watchers and analysts not necessarily because it is the ruling party in the state, but because of the yet unresolved internal crisis in the party.
Early enough, four of the plethora of governorship aspirants of the party, namely Dr. Pius Odubu, a former deputy governor of the state, Engineer Chris Ogiemwonyi, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, at a joint press conference in Benin City, announced that they are working together, that any of them who picks the party’s ticket would be supported by the others to win the governorship election in the state.
Clearly, the implication of their coming together is that Obaseki is no longer wanted as governor but any one of them.
Since their maiden and only joint press conference, it has been so far, so good, as the four aspirants have continued to work together. But there are big questions to answer, knowing that selfishness and greed are attributes of most political office seekers of this country.
For example, the watching members of the public are curious to see how long this unity of purpose would last, whether the four aspirants will be able to withstand the temptation of ‘every man for himself’ that will soon come their way or how many of them will be able to resist a possible sell-out when huge sums of money and other plum political offers are made to them?
Indeed, the general consensus in political discourse in the state is that, if the four aspirants want to be taken seriously, they should on their own sit down to agree among themselves on one aspirant and present same for ‘anointing’ as governorship candidate at the APC primaries.
It is the view of many that if they fail to do that, they should forget the idea of working together to produce a consensus candidate because once the campaigns start, each candidate’s flaws will be exposed and this will generate bad blood and disagreement and in the end, they would have lost the opportunity of their common goal to unseat Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is also battle-ready to give his opponents bloody nose at the primaries and pick the governorship ticket for a second term.