It is now clear who Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State will be facing at the primaries for the governorship ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
These opponents are individuals he defeated in 2016, unless there is a yet-to-be unveiled joker from the Adams Oshiomhole camp. The opponents of Obaseki are former deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, Major General Charles Airhiavbere, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. They formally unveiled themselves at a press briefing held last week in Bénin City.
The quartet of Ize-Iyamu, Airhiavbere, Ogiemwonyi, and Odubu are currently a united block against Obaseki even though they have personal ambitions to get the APC ticket. They are former enemies who are now united with a common agenda to stop Obaseki’s second term bid.
Another common feature among them is that they had all failed in the past at getting the governorship slot. In 2012, Pastor Ize-Iyamu stood against Odubu when he was to be renominated as Oshiomhole’s running mate. The reason was that he was the person that first nominated him in 2007 and the fears then was that Odubu would become too powerful to be stopped from seeking to succeed Oshiomhole if not stopped.
Oshiomhole, on his part, refused to accede to Ize-Iyamu’s request and picked Odubu in his second term but did not find him a worthy successor. Ize-Iyamu and Odubu also engage in political leadership tussle in Orhionmwon where both of them hail from. It was when Ize-Iyamu saw that the arrangement would not favour him that he left for the PDP. He was made former President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Director in Edo State. This did not make Airhiavbere happy who felt a man that just defected to the party should not be given such a juicy position.
He was fingered as organising massive protest by youths against the PDP and Pastor Ize-Iyamu over sharing of mobilisation fund to attend PDP rally. When Ize-Iyamu and four others were arraigned over the N700m Diezani bribe money, Airhiavbere said PDP leaders used to tell them that no money came to the party. Airhiavbere said PDP leaders always claimed to be spending their personal money during election campaigns.