By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
ADAMS Aliyu Oshiomhole, quondam national Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, is an extraordinary fellow, this is not meant to be a compliment, for he is more. He encapsulates the desperation that is driving the 2020 Edo State governorship election.
Things are moving at more dazzling paces and dizzy patterns than the most fertile minds could not have imagined. The prime prize is the governorship at any price.
Some have died. Luckier ones parade broken limps to testify to the intensity of the battle to side with those who want to serve Edo State. The service is so important that everything is being thrown into the Saturday 19 September contest.
Edo 2020 has exalted shamelessness to a ranking value for our politicians. Agreed that for years our politicians have never stopped being in strange beds with more strange fellows, what is playing out in Edo has elevated shame, brazenness, sophistry, and absurd dance steps to new values for our politicking.
Are our politicians still human? Do they have sober moments to consider the essence of their craving for power under the guise of serving the people?
Oshiomhole has not blinked in telling Edo people to vote for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who only four years ago he verbally destroyed with allegations that were meant to keep Ize-Iyamu out of decent company for years. Ize-Iyamu lost that election as a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
If Oshiomhole was unrestrained in attacking Ize-Iyamu, he did not spare PDP which he accused of building a dynasty of godfathers in the State. He triumphantly announced the end of godfathers in the State’s politics.
People are rather confused about Oshiomhole’s role in the election. What has changed in the 2016 Ize-Iyamu he accused of sundry infractions, most of them criminal?
A lot has changed. Ize-Iyamu joined APC at Oshiomhole’s instance. Ize-Iyamu is Oshiomhole’s proposed saviour of Edo State, ironically from Godwin Obaseki, Oshiomhole’s man in 2016. Obaseki left APC once Ize-Iyamu returned.
Oshiomhole is a man of his words in understandably different ways. He proclaimed in January 2019 that whoever joined APC ceased to be a sinner. It was his reaction as APC national Chairman to insinuations that his admission of people with pending fraud cases to the party echoed more hollows in President Muhammadu Buhari’s preachment of integrity.
When Ize-Iyamu re-joined APC from PDP in December 2019 he instantly atoned for whatever sins Oshiomhole counted against him. Their relationship has been chummy ever since even at the risk of shattering the unity of the party in Edo State.
The election is a straight fight between Obaseki and Oshiomhole though his name is not on the ballot paper. Oshiomhole is affronted that Obaseki was not his political son. Obaseki also refused to be his political client as the entangling disputes with the Edo State House of Assembly showed.
Obaseki was the engine room of the Oshiomhole administration, according to Oshiomhole who praised Obaseki for selfless services to Edo State during Oshiomhole’s administration. He, Oshiomhole told crowds in 2016, was everything Ize-Iyamu was incapable of being.
The lack of common understanding of how to approach the election is a nightmare for voters too. Are they voting for Ize-Iyamu or Oshiomhole? If Obaseki wins, will he remain in PDP? There are insinuations that he could have cut a deal with higher authorities to return to APC after winning. The plan is reportedly part of a larger scheme to punish Oshiomhole for his ruination of APC chances in some States where his meddlesomeness cost the party electoral gains. Zamfara, Rivers, were prominent examples.
Implosions in Imo, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti saw the interests of the party wither. Oshiomhole was unable to rein in the warring factions. In most cases, he was accused of fueling the crises, and profiting from them.
Governor Rochas Okorocha publicly accused Oshiomhole of taking money from aspirants in Imo State. Okorocha gave salacious details of money the national chairman collected from contestants, asking security agencies to investigate Oshiomhole.
A hurried Oshiomhole foreign trip at the end of the primaries in 2018 in the midst of the allegations escalated the speculations that he needed space to articulate an explanation. He returned days after to mumble away the allegations. APC became more fractious as the 2019 elections drew nearer.
Oshiomhole is in the Edo election to retrieve whatever shred of political relevance he can. Out of influence as national Chairman, suspended by his award in his native Iyamho, the governorship of Edo State is his last chance to carve a sphere of influence.
Towards the end of his reign as Governor, Oshiomhole started making unbridled statements about being the sole promoter of his political enterprise. Disagreements had set in. former Governor Lucky Igbinedion and his group deserted him though they kept keen interest in the Bini agenda through Ize-Iyamu.
There is an understanding that a Bini Governor needs to complete two terms. Oshiomhole agrees with that if the candidate is not Obaseki. Of course, Ize-Iyamu winning would keep power with the Binis a little longer, a disquieting proposal for Edo Central, the Ishans, who expect to have their hands on power by 2024.
In fairness to the key actors in the Edo State governorship election, they changed parties, changed positions, but everything about them paints the complete picture of the unchanging desperation of our politicians for power. They can do anything, almost anything to be in power, around power, preferably in control of power.
Peace is a catchword for many who are intended on doing unimaginable evil. Many who proffer peace in Edo have other intentions. It would be up to the people to shun violence knowing that no lives are worth losing over the fate of politicians.
What is certain about the 2020 Edo governorship election is that the matter would make the complete rounds of the courts. Too many infractions had been committed by the major candidates in their bid to be in the race that an unknown candidate maybe the winner of the election: as the Court pleases.