Indications that former Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor is favoured for the gubernatorial ticket in 2011, emerged during the week, when the PDP in Edo State hosted the Presidential Campaign rally.
The former governor who was booted out by an Appeal Court ruling in November 2008. Osunbor was all over the President and Vice President Namadi Sambo, at the Benin.
Since he was dislodged from Edo State Government House in 2008 through an Appeal Court judgment, Senator Osunbor has kept a low profile way of life, always here and there with his PDP family in the State. He has tried to shake off the trauma of his ouster, by not sticking his neck in the disagreement between Chief Tony Anenih and Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, preferring a midpoint position, calling for true reconciliation.
Now that both factions need total ceasefire ahead of 2012 gubernatorial election, former Governor Osunbor is highly favoured as the connecting line between the two political masquerades, if PDP must reclaim the State from ACN.
The presence of President Jonathan and Vice President Sambo in the state has fueled the enthusiasm of the party members in the face of the seemingly irreconcilable differences. These political differences that almost consumed the party actually started during his brief stay as governor of the state. And to now the division has remained the biggest albatross of the party, with opposition feeding on its disunity.
Now that the 2012 gubernatorial election for the state is by the corner, fears are high that except both factions come together, there cannot be any head way in PDP’s attempt to ‘capture’ the state again.
Chief Anenih, banking on Federal might and political wizardry has promised PDP members that he will reclaim the state from Governor Oshiomhole, against his initial posture to allow him run two terms when the going was still good between them.
Also popular in the race for PDP is Kenneth Imansuangbon, a young lawyer, philanthropist and educationist. He is making his second appearance in the governorship race, first on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria in 2007 and now in PDP.
Engineer Chris Ogienwonyi the Minister of State for Works is hoping to ride on the strength of his Benin Senatorial zone which has the highest population in the state.
Many are also of the opinion that once a Bini speaking candidate, in the Edo South senatorial zone which controls 52% of the total votes of the state, runs on the platform of PDP against incumbent Governor Oshiomhole, the party will have a field day, since Oshiomhole comes from a minority in Edo North.
But that calculation seems to have crumbled with the people using good governance and focused leadership as parameters.
Former Governor Osunbor in his 18 months stay in government house, Benin City, made milestone achievements which still endear him to the people of the state across tribe.
During the legislative fracas of last year, which saw the state House of Assembly members being divided along party lines and eventually resulting in the PDP members boycotting the chambers till date, some people are wondering why the sate government is fueling the crisis instead of allowing the legislators unite for the purpose of the common good of the people of Edo State.
Osunbor rather than become a liability to the PDP in Edo state since he lost out, has become the effectual joker, whose middle position between the Ogbemudia group and the Anenih camp is what the party needs to reclaim the government house.
Recent posters of the former Governor dotting the streets of Benin City have changed the political equation of the state and ushered some relief to many people who argued about how Anenih and Ogbemudia would reach a compromise.
With Osunbor, it is believed that Ogbemudia will readily throw in the tower for peace to reign. And Chief Anenih would rather prefer to deal with the ‘enemy he knows than the one he doesn’t know.’ That’s where Osunbor’s factor will come in readily relevant.
The Uromi-born Chief is said not to be too keen on who becomes the PDP candidate as far as the Action Congress of Nigeria is defeated.
Because many people have said that Professor Osunbor is tested and can become the meeting point for Anenih and Ogbemudia.
Isoken Osagie, a lawyer writes from Benin City.