By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja(Sundiata Post) – The clock is ticking, just the same way all the candidates and other stakeholders are getting ready for the soon to commence judgement moments. The simple fact now is that everyone is putting final touches to his strategies as Edo state governorship election is just few hours away.
The build-up to the poll has been tasking, dramatic and filled with fireworks. Some prominent Edo sons have pitched a tent with their preferred candidates. But while many may think that the whole election is all about Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu and Oshiomole, and also might feel that the personalities of the trio would ultimately shape the election, it is worthy of note that this might not be hundred percent correct.
While it is true that the impact and influence of the trio on the election could not be overemphasized, it is also very true that these other eight prominent personalities in Edo to be discussed below, would also dictate the tune of the election after all. Let us highlight these personalities one by one, and provide how and why they are also very relevant as far as Edo politics is concerned.
THE IGBINEDION FAMILY
Time over time, the popular Igbinedion family have always played a critical role on every governorship election in Edo state. At the advent of democracy in 1999, the patriarch of the family, Gabriel Igbinedion, first helped install his son, Lucky Igbinedion. When Oshiomole came to seek governorship position in 2008, the family gave him their support and was among the people who helped Oshiomole became the governor. However, their relationship fell apart thereafter.
This made them to support Ize-Iyamu in 2016 while Oshiomole was supporting Obaseki. Their support for Ize-Iyamu, however, did not yield result, as the then PDP candidate then did not win the election. But in the build-up to this 2020 election, the family has openely endorsed Obaseki instead of Ize-iyamu. They even appeared to have played prominent roles in Obaseki’s declaration to PDP and have since be campaigning for him.
As it stands now, and because of the impact and influence of the Igbinedion family, people are now tipping Obaseki to win Ovia North-East local government where the Igbinedion hail from.
Tom Ikimi is also a force to reckon with in Edo politics. After the demise of Tony Anenih, who happened to be a former board of Trustee (BoT) of the PDP and a strong political force in Edo state, Ikimi has somewhat filled in the leadership vacuum created by his demise. Although Ikimi may not have been equally influential like Anenih, but he is sure to provide the required political leadership in the Esan land. With him, PDP can be rest assured that the former Foreign Affairs Minister may deliver Igueben Local government for Obaseki.
Urhoghide is the senator representing Edo south and is one of the first few PDP leaders to welcome Obaseki to the party. He was initially called upon to vie for the governorship post under the PDP, but declined. The two-time senator has impressed his people in terms of performance, and as a result, he has been able to market Obaseki well to his people. With Urhoghide’s good reputation in Edo South, Obaseki may cruise home to victory in his area.
Omoregie is the lawmaker currently representing Oredo federal constituency. As the first house of representative member to win a reelection in Oredo federal constituency, he is considered to be well relevant politically. In fact, Omoregie was initially being considered to emerge as the PDP governorship candidate before Obaseki joined the party. After his initial resistance to the candidacy of Obaseki, he was prevailed upon and then decided to accept Obaseki. He has since been out working for Obaseki; and going by his deep political connection with the grassroot, he is more likely to give the PDP reasons to smile in the election.
Odubu was the deputy of Adam Oshiomole during his reign as the governor of Edo State. He is a strong grassroot politician with strong political structure to help the APC in the governorship election. Odubu’s problem with Obaseki started long before the build-up to the election as the incumbent governor was allegedly considered to have been one of the forces against Odubu’s emergence as the head of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). As a result of this, Odubu is all ready to ensure that APC emerges winner in the governorship election, as this is the only way he could remain politically relevant in Edo state. Come the election day, Odubu will fight tooth and nail to see his party coming victorious in his political enclave.
Osagie is a two-time member of the house of representatives and a member and leader of the Edo Political Movement (EPM), who were at the forefront of the political battles for the control of the soul of APC between Oshiomole and Obaseki. He is respected as a strong political force, because he is a master of grassroot politics and controls a large political followership within his political enclave. He has a very strong ability to win people in his way by his oratory and persuasive skills, and this he he has been using to crusade the candidacy of Ize-Iyamu to his people. He is still very ambitious and will need the emergence of Ize-Iyamu as the governor of Edo state to stand a better chance of winning future elections, and thus remains very relevant in Edo politics. Come the election day, he is going to make a difference for his party, APC.
Winning senatorial elections twice, Alimikhena has established himself as a formidable politician. Granted that Oshiomhole helped him to get to the senate, the years spent in the upper chamber of the national assembly have now turned him into a politician of reckoning capable of pulling the strings for his party, the APC. Now his party needs him and he appears capable of standing up to the challenge.
Iriase is a former secretary to the Edo state government under Oshiomhole and two-time member of the house of representatives, where he represented Owan federal constituency. After leaving the house of representatives in 2019, he assumed a new position as the APC leader in his Owan east local government area. He is on ground working for APC and Ize-Iyamu, and as a deeply rooted politician who has the command of the grassroot, he is sure to make an impact in the coming election. When it comes to Owan west local government area, Ize-Iyamu has to be rest assured that Iriase will deliver.