The executive governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki won the heart of his former boss, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who fought his battle to become the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2016 and subsequently, the governor.
The condition was basic, Obaseki was to surrender his authority to Oshiomhole who remained the Leader of the state APC. The former Labour Chairman planted individuals faithful to him in Obaseki's cabinet while the wake and see, as he is affectionately called stayed quiet in an endeavour not to cross the Amadioha.
Since Obaseki became the governor, there are grievances across the state that his style of administration is different in relation to his predecessor; the leaders of the party are blaming him for disregard, while the youths, particularly, the thugs Oshiomhole fed during his administration blamed him for bringing in labourers from Lagos State to execute projects in Edo State.
After the show that unfurled in Lagos State where the National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu found new confidence in a former Lagos Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Babajide Sanwo-Olu rather than the incumbent governor, Akinwumi Ambode, it dawned on Obaseki that he may endure a similar faith if he doesn't begin stripping Oshiomhole of his strong grasp in the state.
The governor quietly buckled up for the Edo State National and State Assemblies' primary election which was held on October 4th, 2018 to make his move. While Obaseki was saluting the victors of the election, which were generally his followers, the APC leaders headed by Adams Oshiomhole censured the "unapproved primaries" and ensure it was null and void.
“The exercise conducted by unauthorised persons in collaboration with the party’s Edo State Working Committee is hereby null and void,” said the APC spokesperson, Yekini Nabena.
Meanwhile, in his standard tricky reaction, Obaseki asked members of the party to overlook media report (APC headquarter invalidation) attempting to cast slanders on the primary elections that were pronounced serene, free and fair across the state.
Another primary was conducted and abruptly, the individuals who won the past primaries were substituted in the list compiled by the National Body, those directly affected, according to speculations, were those faithful to the Obaseki's camp.
It was a moment for Oshiomhole to show who is boss, he may be little in size, yet he never avoids showing how dangerous he could be. The APC National Chairman is a chess player, pernicious and a control freak who despises confrontations directly or indirectly, a former state spokesman for the APC, Comrade Godwin Erhahon can vouch for that.
Obviously, members of the State House of Assembly were hauled into the tussle, followers took diverse ways and the members who were substituted went determined to bust some skulls in the wake of being undermined by their leaders.
“In that primary election conducted by the APC, I won; the returning officer announced that I won the election. Unfortunately, the APC substituted my name with the name of the incumbent, Mr Peter Akpatason.
“I have explored the internal mechanism of the party; I wrote to the NWC of the APC, through the chairman, that there was the need for them to have a rethink but I did not get any reply.
“I wrote to the Osunbor panel; I even appeared before the panel. Unfortunately, before the panel even came up with its final position on the matter, Form 001 and 002 had already been given to the person who did not win the primary election.
“Haven’t done that the Osunbor panel became crippled. So, I am here (in court) to say that we cannot do wrong things all the times.” The Speaker, Mr Kabiru Adjoto told court in a suit no. FHC/B/CS/118/18"
While trying to get the sheep in line, a move was made by the cabals loyal to Oshiomhole to impeach Adjoto who rumour says is faithful to Obaseki. The National Chairman of the party, however battling with his situation as all the APC governors need his head, is wrestling to maintain the demi god’s praises he had enjoyed since he ousted those who brought him fame.
In a typical commando style, a coup was hatched and attempt to impeach Kabiru Adjoto was conceived. Just like the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the Edo Speaker outflanked the plotters and impeached his deputy, Victor Edobor who is guessed to be in the camp of the deputy governor, Philip Shaibu who is unequivocally progressing in the direction of ensuring Oshiomhole does not lose his spot in the rank of control in Edo State.
“We needed to have a new deputy Speaker because of the excesses of the impeached deputy Speaker,” The Punch newspaper quoted the Speaker, Kabiru Adjoto, as saying.
“I and 20 others members of the House remain committed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and cannot leave the party.
“We are even more committed to Governor Godwin Obaseki and the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, “ Mr Adjoto said.
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Dan Orbih blamed the APC for the crisis rocking the National Assembly.
“I think the problem in the Edo State House of Assembly is actually a reflection of the general problem the APC has caused to the larger Nigerian society. They have shown clearly that they don’t want what it takes to run the affairs of most of the states where they are in power.” Orbih said.
Meanwhile, Obaseki keeps fighting back in the series of accusation levied against him by the state leaders who believed he is stingy and uncaring.
Obaseki says he is not stingy as many perceived him to be. He said he couldn't give out citizens money at anyhow when he needs the money to train teachers in the state.
“People say I am stingy but I am not. How can I spend Edo people money anyhow when I need money to train teachers”, he said while addressing primary school teachers at the graduation ceremony of teachers under the Edo Best Initiative.
One of the protestations Bola Tinubu had about Akinwumi Ambode was his style of governance which he credited to the governor's refusal to take everyone along. Indeed, Obaseki isn't a long way from a similar issue, as many had asserted. He doesn't confide in the political leaders who brought him to power.
For Adams Oshiomhole, the battle has just started. Will Obaseki get around his second term ticket or will he blur into the breeze like his partner in Lagos, Ambode?
"It is Oshiomhole that is after Adjoto now, but to play the card of deceptiveness, Adjoto tagged as loyalists to Obaseki. There is already a crack in Oshiomhole's camp and Obaseki's camp.
"The news in town is that Oshiomhole is after Obaseki, definitely, Obaseki might not get the second term ticket, that what happened to Ambode is going to be like a joke compared to what will happen to Obaseki. " A source disclosed on Tuesday. "
One of the leaders in Edo State described Edo politics as complex, as people prefer to sweep issues under the carpet.
"The politics of Edo State is a complex one. It is difficult to understand what the true position is, the last primary that occurred, you hear this candidate is Oshiomhole's candidate and Obaseki will say "I don't want to hurt Oshiomhole" and in another moment, you hear Obaseki saying "this is my candidate" against Oshiomhole's candidate. So, it is hard to understand what is going on.
"If there is any politically confused entity in this country, one of it is Edo State." He says.
One thing is certain if the APC governors finally unseat Oshiomhole, he's likely to turn to the only environment he has never lost a battle. His return might trigger and worsen the already cold blood between him and Obaseki.
Ehi Ekhator is a UK based journalist and the Publisher of Naija Center News