The erstwhile national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and other chieftains are unhappy about the fate that befell the ruling party in Edo State.
But, their humiliation could be compounded in September, if the party does not deliver Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, at the poll.
For Oshiohmole and Edo APC members, victory in the Edo election is sacrosanct. If Obaseki is not re-elected, it would be a double humiliation for Edo APC chieftains.
Oshiomhole and his die-hard supporters assisted the Governor Godwin Obaseki to succeed him as a governor in 2016 against all the odds.
They fell apart, fought for the control of Edo APC. Oshiomhole was suspended at his ward, through instigation by Obaseki. The supension culminated in his sack as chairman.
Both Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu went through times to secure the ticket of their parties. Both men had to switch parties. Ize-Iyamu moved from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to APC while Obaseki left APC for PDP.
In 2016, APC supporters rooted for Ize-Iyamu before Oshiomhole turned the table against him, despite the fact that Ize-Iyamu led his 2012 re-election campaign. Obaseki was considered as an outsider in the APC, who was recruited into the Oshiomhole administration as a technocrat from the banking sector.
Atiku Abubakar, Prince Kassim Afegbua , has vowed to support Pastor Ize-Iyamu against Obaseki.
He said the PDP had branded Obaseki a failure only to turn round to make him the leader of the party in the state.
Irked by Obaseki’s emergence as the PDP candidate, he said the governor, who in APC accused party faithfuls of of corruption, came to the PDP with money bags to get waivers.
Afegbua said: “We will join hands collectively with the APC candidate to ensure that Godwin Obaseki does not return. I am PDP member, but I will vote APC. A man with the humility of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is better than a governor who fights everyone who disagrees with him.
“Edo has become too polarised over avoidable and needless battles. Let us have a new leadership that will usher in peace. The noises from the Obaseki’s aspiration have become too polluted and cannot be in the best interest of anyone.”
Afegbua, who backed Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama for the governorship ticket, said Ogbeide-Ihama ought to have stuck to his guns by running in the primary.
“Ogbeide-Ihama got swallowed up by the politics of money that has become the bane of Nigerian politics. He was ambushed by Governor Obaseki’s desperation who was ready to use any amount to railroad people in the party to buy into his aspiration.
“How can someone who did not buy nomination form, who came in when sale of forms had closed, screening had closed, congresses for the election of delegates had closed, and all of a sudden, because he has state resources to spend, rules were bent to accommodate him and made to become the candidate?
“Only yesterday, Edo PDP scored Obaseki F9 in its sectoral analyses, and today, the same man who scored F9 all through in terms of performance, has suddenly become the leader of the PDP.
“A governor who the PDP challenged in 2016 for discrepancies in his submissions has suddenly become the candidate of the party. How do you explain such scenario? For me, I still hold the view that Ogbeide-Ihama had better opportunity to pull through, if they had allowed Obaseki to settle for another party.
“It would have been a matter of three candidates and PDP would have had a better grip. I was shocked to see all three aspirants stepped down in the face of pressure. Even Kenneth Imasuangbon, who was shouting on top of his voice that he would pull through, buckled suddenly and swallowed his misplaced pride.
“The same governor who has been accusing his former APC leaders of wanting him to share money, came to PDP and started doing same. Delegates were given money, situations were traded off, and everyone was fighting head over heels for peanuts.
Another threatening factor to the re-election of Obaseki is the call for probe by a group in a letter to the Economic, Financial and Crime Commission (EFCC) to investigate the PDP primary.
The non-governmental organisation alleged that the shadow poll was monetised. PDP leaders denied the allegation.
The group called on the EFCC to invite the PDP chairman to clarify the insinuations that Edo State treasury was the victim of the controversial primary.
The letter reads in part: “Our eyes are filled with tears as we write this open letter to you.
We call on the EFCC to immediately look into the recently conducted PDP primaries in Edo State, with a view to unravelling the mystery behind the multi-billion naira primary.
“We call on the agency to set up an investigative committee to determine the source of the billions expended and where breaches to the laws are found culpable, then, the PDP and its candidate should be prosecuted.
Edo State has lacked development in the past four years and it would be very shameful if the funds showered on the PDP primary belonged to the state.