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Battle for Edo Assembly: Between Obaseki, Oshiomhole who laughs last?



The governorship and state House of Assembly election slated for Saturday, March 11, presents another golden opportunity for Governor Godwin Obaseki to put his political wit into practice, display his electoral prowess and prove his test of strength by swinging the votes to his favour.

Sequel to the presidential and national assembly elections, there have been disquiet among candidates vying for the various seats in Edo State house of assembly. This, according to pundits, is not unconnected to the outcome of the February 25 poll, where the ruling party in the state came far third in terms of result in the presidential election and could not claim any senatorial or representative seats.
Interestingly, in 2020, during the run-up to the Edo State governorship election, Obaseki became the most preferred candidate.

The people rallied behind him, used their supreme powers to re-elect him – apparently because they wanted to maintain their stand against the imposition of a candidate. The masses stood in unison and rode on to the election with the slogan, “Edo no be Lagos”, to ward off any form of external Influences that may alter the outcome of the election.
After gaining the people’s sympathy and eventually emerged victorious at the governorship election, Edo residents, however, trooped out in their numbers in 2023 to cast their votes against their favorite. A development many says is a threat to the legislative candidates contesting on the platform Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and, may, ultimately affect the governor’s tenure completion if the opposition wins all 24 seats in the house.


In the wake of the presidential and national assembly poll that led to the emergence of Bola Tinubu, president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Adams Oshiomhole, senator-elect and Governor Obaseki’s predecessor, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to have regained their voices and now poised to win all 24 constituency seats in Edo assembly.

“The struggle continues ahead of March 11. We just had the national elections and where we are heading to is the local elections. We are hopeful that we will get the 24 seats in the state House of Assembly,” David Imuse, Edo State chairman of APC, told journalists.

The Edo State House of Assembly has been in the news since the 2019 general elections. The story of how 14 Edo lawmakers won election but lost legislation and abdicated their responsibilities of delivering effective representation to their respective constituencies may once again come to the subconscious of the electorate who will go to their various polling booths this Saturday.
The crisis in the 7th Edo State House of Assembly dates back to June 17, 2019, when upon the governor’s proclamation of the House, some members-elect were inaugurated under controversial circumstances at night.


Following refusal to present their certificates of return as part of the conditions for their inauguration and continued absence of the members-elect, their seats were declared vacant on December 4, 2019 by the leadership of the house.
Recently, there have been speculations that the governor’s impeachment may be imminent after his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, recovered from the humiliation of unexpected ouster, rejection at the peak of his career, mustered the courage to shake off the temporary setback and returned to limelight by winning the Edo North senatorial seat.

Observers say the recent sweep of the National assembly seats in Edo South axis by the Labour Party, and Edo North as well as part of Edo Central by APC clearly shows that PDP is gradually losing their grip of the state. While Oshiomhole, who has been supposedly passive in the political space, has once again exhibited his political strength to possibly reposition his supporters to topple the present administration under the sway of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
In a recent statement issued by Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, alleged there were plans to impeach his principal, if the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loses in the Edo State House of Assembly polls to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Osagie, however, expressed confidence that Edo people, as they did in 2020, will again rise in defense of the governor at the polls on Saturday, March 11, and vote massively for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), electing a House controlled by PDP.

“The recent statement by the former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole on the fate of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the Edo State House of Assembly polls exposes his insidious plan to oust the current governor through impeachment.
“We are, however, confident that, like it happened in 2020 when Edo people stood with the governor despite the bullying and intimidation by Oshiomhole and his paymasters, Edo people will again rise in defense of the governor at the polls on Saturday, March 11; vote massively for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and elect a House controlled by the PDP.
“Obaseki has never placed his confidence in any man or godfather. He has placed his confidence in God and the people.


“It is also curious that it is Oshiomhole who has come forward with the agenda of the APC and not any of the candidates. One wonders if Oshiomhole will be a member of the Edo State House of Assembly after the polls. This, obviously, points to who and where the instructions will be issued if the party’s candidates are mistakenly elected into the House.
“Edo people can see the handwriting on the wall and we are certain that they will troop out en masse to vote for the candidates of the PDP in the election to sustain the developmental strides of the Governor Obaseki-led government.

But, in a swift response by Victor Oshioke, media aide to Oshiomhole, said at no time did the senate-elect mention impeachment in his message to Edo people, saying that the erstwhile national chairman of APC only canvassed for votes for all candidates vying for the various constituencies in the state.

“No man is God and Oshiomhole is not God. He has never pretended to have godly powers, so he cannot install or decree who becomes a member of the House of Assembly. That is for the electorates to do. But as a leader, Oshiomhole is calling on all Edo people to come out and vote for all APC candidates so that true democracy can once again be restored in Edo State.
“Godwin Obaseki is panicking because comrade Adams Oshiomhole is calling on Edo people to come out peacefully to vote their choice of March 11. Left for Obaseki, the 10-man aberration called Edo State House of Assembly should remain in place till the end of his tenure in November 2024. But fortunately, he has no powers to make that a reality.
“At no time did Comrade Adams Oshiomhole mention impeachment in his message to Edo people. But perhaps Obaseki knows that he has committed impeachable offenses, so all that rings in his ears now is impeachment. That is why he is running helter-skelter to prevent a peaceful, free and fair election that will produce an independent parliament in Edo State.
“Is it not an irony that just two weeks ago, Godwin Obaseki and his deputy Philip Shaibu were boasting that they have retired Adams Oshiomhole from politics, but today Oshiomhole has a four year tenure as a Senator of the Federal Republic which has not even started yet, and they are crying foul that Oshiomhole is campaigning for APC candidates for Edo House of Assembly?” he queried.
“Obviously, Godwin Obaseki has seen the handwriting on the wall, that Edo people are wiser now. No amount of last minute appeal can save him and his PDP faction from the impending electoral defeat. He has lost the trust and sympathy of Edo people because they have trusted him too many times and he has failed them. They also know that nobody or institution has ever trusted Godwin Obaseki that didn’t end up being betrayed, duped, and full of unforgettable scars,” Oshioke added.


Hillary Otsu, Edo State secretary of PDP, told BusinessDay that every candidate will be going to the polls to contest for their respective legislative positions, hence no need to worry about any impeachment ploy if there is any in the offing.

According to him, “I think it is rather premature to be talking about impeachment. Why would anybody be talking about impeachment? They have not even gotten to the election to contest and win. I would rather discountenance such. The APC cannot be talking about impeachment.”
Commenting on the PDP’s chances ahead of the state House of Assembly in the state, he said: “Unfortunately, I will say I am very pessimistic of victory because if you follow what happened during the presidential and national elections, the PDP candidates who were fielded were so unpopular that not even one could win any election. So, that trend is what I think will play out this coming weekend. This may sound uncomfortable for our people.”

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