By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Joseph Erunke
Buhari’s choice of a long loyal political associate as his minister from Edo State could alter permutations as regard the emergence of governorship candidates in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
THE body language of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his associates in the All Progressives Congress, APC had indicated that the battle for his succession would be narrowed down to the Edo South Senatorial district.
It was as such not surprising that Oshiomhole’s leading political traducer in the state, Chief Tony Anenih, the leader as he is called by his associates, moved with caution to nudge the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to narrow the party’s ticket to the dominant Edo South senatorial district.
The reason the two major parties in the state narrowed the choice to Edo South was because the district with more than 50% of the total voting population could easily determine the outcome of the main election in the event of the election taking an ethnic divide.
The decision of the two major parties was not without consideration of the fact that the Edo Central Senatorial district it would have been the turn of Edo Central, the only zone that is yet to have a full four-year term at the governorship. The zone’s only hold on the governorship was the 17 months or so Senator Osehreinmen Osunbor from the zone was governor before he was removed by the courts.
It was as such not surprising that a number of candidates from Edo South surfaced in the two parties. Among the much speculated aspirants from the APC known to be quietly building up for the contest are Oshiomhole’s deputy, Dr Pius Odubu, Mr. Kenneth Imasuagbon popularly known as the rice man on account of his philanthropic gestures, the Commissioner for Works, Osarodion Ogie, Mr. Godwin Obaseki chairman of the governor’s Economic Team and a former Minister of State (Works), Dr Chris Ogienwonyi. Former Governor Osunbor is also believed to be interested in having a second shot and so is the 2012 PDP candidate of the PDP, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd.) who has since crossed over to the APC.Remarkably, Oshiomhole’s victory in the courts was believed to have been welcomed by the mainstream PDP led by Anenih before the two men fell apart setting the stage for the bitter recrimination between both men. It was perhaps in his quest to get the better of Oshiomhole that Anenih was believed to have jettisoned the idea of getting the next governorship candidate of the PDP from Edo Central in favour of matching the candidate from the APC in Edo South.
On the side of the PDP, it has been relatively low but there are indications that Senator Ehigie Uzamere who became the first Edo South senator to serve two terms could soon jump into the fray upon increasing pressures on him from stakeholders. Also believed to be eyeing the ticket are Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former secretary to the state government and former representative on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen.
Also waiting in the wings is the still undisclosed candidate of the Dr. Sam Ogbemudia led Edo Mass Movement, EMM.
However, the nomination of Dr. Osagie Ehinare from Edo South may have altered the permutations as advocates of power shift are now pointing out that it could well put that senatorial zone to the disadvantage of all others. They point to the fact that the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is also from Edo South and that adding the governor from that region could be against the principle of federal character.
However, that lobby is yet to get full traction given the opinion by some of the leading stakeholders from the state.
Senators Matthew Urhoghide representing Edo South and Francis Alimikhena, Edo North spoke on the issue in phone interviews with Vanguard.
Repeated efforts to get Senator Clifford Ordia representing Edo Central, remarkably, the zone that stands to benefit in the event of a change in the permutation were not successful. He did not respond to text messages and calls to him on the issue.