There is a fierce battle presently brewing in the Edo State government house and it is for the soul of the oil-rich state. His Excellency, Mr Godwin Obaseki, the governor of the state and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole are the major gladiators. Though it is playing out as a cold war, facts at our disposal suggest that the whole brouhaha stems from the question of whose power it is to constitute a new cabinet and who takes control of the party machineries in the state.
Many factors have combined to cast a gloom on the supremacy of Mr. Obaseki in the fight. For instance, all the major political appointments so far made are from the camp of ex-Governor Oshiomhole. Sources say Obaseki, who recently mounted the saddle under the umbrella of the All Progressives Party, APC, would have preferred to appoint his close associates as secretary to the state government and chief of staff, but these two positions are already occupied by persons who are cronies of the former governor.
The Icon learned that the grumbling became louder during the choice of a running mate, when the former governor imposed Philip Shuiabu on the party caucus without consulting anybody even when it was expected that the deputy governor would come from Edo Central Senatorial District.
A reliable party source revealed that the choice of Philip Shuiabu was meant to checkmate Obaseki in the event that he tried to renege on a godfather-godson agreement possibly entered into by the two dramatis personae. The source further said that the choice of Shauibu was for two reasons: due to his closeness to the governor and for his boldness.
The cold war, we further gathered, is one of the reasons it is difficult at the moment for the governor to compose his cabinet. The icon learnt the former governor wants to dominate the day-to-day operations in the government house, hence his desire to plant his men as commissioners. For Obaseki, the governor believes it as his time and his right; that he should be allowed to play a major role in choosing who becomes a commissioner under him.
More importantly, there is a case pending at the elections tribunal. As it stands, no one can tell where the pendulum will swing as the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) is not too comfortable with the happenings at the tribunal. For this reason, Governor Obaseki has been a bit careful not to take the fight to Oshiomhole head-on, the reason the former governor continues to dictate to the governor even after leaving office. The Independent National Electoral Commission might have declared him winner of the election and sworn him in as governor of the state, but the controversy that trailed the victory and happenings in the court continues to give the governor sleepless nights. Obviously, the governor rode to power via the political structure created by Adams Oshiomhole, so it is not a surprise to see the latter being in control of the machineries and the team of lawyers Obaseki is banking on at the tribunal.
Political analysts are of the view that it will take Governor Obaseki’s strong political will to wrestle himself from the grip of Oshiomhole. Worse still is the lack of popularity of the governor in the state.
Very dependable sources close to the governor have squealed that the governor is deeply worried over the huge debt profile of the state viz-a-viz the fact that he met an absolutely empty treasury when he took over from Adams Oshiomhole. More worrisome to him is the fact that it will take time for him to fulfil the electioneering promises made during the campaigns to electorates.
A deeper insight into the cold war is the agenda of some Bini elements in the party who are of the view that it is their time to call the shots in the governance of Edo State. They claim the Afemais had their turn in Oshiomhole’s eight years, therefore, their son should be left alone to pilot the affairs of the state without undue interference from Comrade Oshiomhole.
Our findings reveal that they are waiting patiently for the outcome of the tribunal ruling and if it is in favour of Obaseki, all Binis irrespective of political party will rally round Obaseki to ensure he succeeds and protect him from Oshiomhole foxes who are in government. But Obaseki still has to thank God and his political mentor (Oshiomhole) for the height so far.
Reacting to the issue of empty treasury, the state publicity secretary of People Democratic party, Mr Chris Enahikhare said as a party, they had told Governor Obaseki to make public the handing-over note of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to ascertain the state of things as at the time he took over from Oshiomhole. He added that PDP would not take it lightly if he blame his under-performance in future on empty treasury.
In our fact-finding mission, our reporter contacted the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Obaseki, Mr. John Mayaki. In his response, he denied the allegation but declined to respond on the issue of the empty treasury. “No quarrel anywhere my brother, thanks,” he declared.
Source: Icon Newspaper