By Eric Elezuo
After weeks of intrigues, razzmatazz and power play, the Edo Gubernatorial election, slated for September 19, is finally taking off. This is as the two major players in the game; the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have constituted high powered campaign committees as front liners for their parties as the onslaught begins.
The intriguing part of the committees is the fact that both parties choose firebrands governors among them to hold their committees. In the APC, the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, headed by Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, which is in charge of party affairs at the moment named a 49-member committee with the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Umar Ganduje. He is supported by the Imo State Governor, Mr. Hope Uzodinma, who was made governor after the Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha after eight months in office as the Deputy Chairman while Abbas Braimoh is the Secretary. Other members are some governors under the platform of the party. There are also stalwarts such as ousted chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, John Odigie-Oyegun and a host of others
The Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has constituted a 49-member National Campaign Council led by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state for the Sept. 19, governorship poll in Edo. This was contained in a statement in Abuja on Thursday by APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena.
The National Working Committee of the PDP, on the other hand, appointed the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to head its campaign council as the governorship election in Edo State draws closer. He is supported by his Adamawa State counterpart, Umar Fintiri, as the deputy campaign chairman.
Much as the contest pitches Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC, who on June 22 emerged as the party flag bearer and his PDP counterpart and current governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who won the primary election unopposed after his opponents stepped down, the major persona has suddenly become Wike and Ganduje. Both men will surely rekindle their rivalry.
Recall that in September 2019, Ganduje had threaten court action against Wike for allegedly demolishing a mosque in PortHarcourt. Wike denied it, but went ahead to release tantrums on Ganduje, tickling his catastrophe as regards an alleged bribery scandal, where he was caught on video stuffing dollars into his ‘babariga’.
While Ganduje could be seen as slowishly tenacious, and wouldn’t let go, Wike on the hand is overtly garrulous, and prepared to crush whatever obstacle on the way. If Ganduje is a team player to an extent, Wike is the very opposite, and is willing to walk out on his side at the slightest provocation. He recently criticized the NWC over its handling of some issues, including the Edo governorship primary, calling some party members ‘tax collectors’. However, he is very respected among peers unlike Ganduje, whose infamous ‘babariga’ episode is still trailing.
Whichever way one looks at it, the winner of the Edo governorship election will be the one whose campaign council chairman manages to keep a cool head. No one should forget that money will play a major role again as always.
While PDP strives to grab Edo to complete its conquest of the South south region, APC will fight tooth and nail to keep its only eye in the region.
Another entity that has a stake in the election is deposed chairman, Oshiomhole, whose misfortunes stemmed from the battle of supremacy who fought against Obaseki. It will not be totally wrong to say that the comrade is no longer the party chairman today because of Obaseki. He will therefore, be seeking his pound of flesh against the incumbent governor.