There seems to be definitely no end in sight to the protracted political battle between Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki and All Progressives Congress ( APC ) National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
To say Gov. Obaseki is fighting perhaps, the toughest battle of his life to secure APC ticket to contest for second term in office is merely stating the obvious. Both Gov. Obaseki and Oshiomhole, are engulfed in complicated political crisis which has defied reconciliation and settlement.
Needless to say the power tussle between both men has created factions within the state branch of the party. However, amidst this feud, the APC has slated June 22 for its direct primary election to elect the flagbearer of the party for the gubernatorial election in the state.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview, Gov. Obaseki exuded confidence and expressed indifference on the mode of party primary as he boasted of emerging victorious. While Gov. Obaseki maintained this stance, the faction believed to be loyal to Adams Oshiomhole adopted Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a founding member of the party in the state as its consensus candidate. Although, the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu was reported to have said Ize-Iyamu is not a bonafide member of APC, hence, he has no chance against Governor Obaseki in APC governorship primary. Reacting to this, Ize-Iyamu said, he’s not only a bonafide member of the APC, he’s among those that drafted constitution of the party.
In his frantic bid to get the party ticket, Governor Obaseki in company of some governors visited the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to make case for Obaseki. At the said meeting which was held behind closed-doors, the governors were said to have admitted that “mistakes had been made, especially with the Obaseki’s refusal to pave the way for the swearing in of 14 elected APC members as members of the state Assembly.” They prayed Tinubu should intervene and endorse Obaseki as candidate for the gubernatorial election in the state. The governors were said to have departed Tinubu’s home dejected after Tinubu insisted there would be no automatic candidate ahead of the election in Edo state. The governors, it was reliably gathered visited Tinubu with hope to secure an automatic ticket for Obaseki, but the national leader refused, insisting that primary is the sure way to pick candidate for the election and it has to be direct primary. The governors in attendance reportedly included, the chairman of the party governor’s forum, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State; the governor of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje; the governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the governor of Jigawa State, Mohammed Abubakar, and the governor of Osun state, Gboyega Oyetola.
Meanwhile, Gov. Obaseki had visited President Muhammadu Buhari to seek his support for the party’s primary. After the meeting, the embattled governor said Mr. President has assured him of his support. As at the time Obaseki visited the Aso Rock Villa, sources said some members of the party’s Progressives Governors Forum were at the party secretariat in Abuja to meet the national chairman and members of the party national working committee. The meeting was reportedly centred on the feud between Adams Oshiomhole and his godson turned rival, Governor Obaseki.
The meeting, according to sources ended in deadlock.
From the foregoing, it seems Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki might end up like the former Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode. It would be recalled that Ambode had similar problem before the last general election and the same direct primary was adopted by the leadership of his party, APC in Lagos state to determine his fate. But it remain to be seen if Governor Obaseki will willingly give up his second term ambition the way Ambode did if he fails to win his party second term ticket.