THE view in some quarters, in and out of Edo State, is that Governor Adams Oshiomhole is a performer.  In some other quarters, the view is that he is a propagandist whose claim to having turned the State into a massive construction site is tenuous against the backdrop of verifiable dilapidated infrastructure on the ground across the State.

Oshiomhole himself has repeatedly and gleefully boasted that he would punish some political leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with his performance by building road infrastructure and providing other social amenities which were allegedly denied the people from May 27, 1999 to November 14, 2008 when he stepped in as governor.

Goaded by extreme politics, he had succeeded in rubbishing the Lucky Igbinedion eight years and diminishing the achievements of Oserhiemen Osunbor during his eighteen-month administration.  Effective propaganda on his part and laxity on the part of his predecessors to counter his dubious claims in the media that they did not leave any legacy of development have put Oshiomhole in the eyes of the gullible, in and out of Edo State, as a patron-saint and messiah of sort.

But recent political developments in the State have forced the Comrade Governor to unravel as a desperate revisionist.  Faced by the real threat of defeat at the  July 14 governorship election in the hands of a popular Benin man, General Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (retd.) who has just emerged as PDP candidate in the party’s transparent governorship primary, he (Oshiomhole) has become a dramaturge in the political theatre of Edo State.

If Oshiomhole has, indeed, fulfilled more than half of his campaign promises and he is really liked or accepted by the people of Edo, he should not have been bothered by the emergence of Airhiavbere.  He should have combined that seeming political capital with the razzmatazz of his political intervention accentuated by his background as a former Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, president to overrun Airhiavbere.

After all, when he contested the governorship election in 2007, the only thing he brought into the field was the razzmatazz of labour activism.  Now that he has been governor for about four years and with a bogus claim of performance in office, the Comrade Governor should have gone to sleep, confident that with his acclaimed achievements, victory will beckon on him during the election.

But Oshiomhole’s apparent anxiety has shown that he has been running a government of deception which feeds the people of Edo on half-measures in projects execution and roadside development (to deceive the people that renovation of schools sponsored by the UBE and the State Government which they see along the road is pervasive in the nooks and crannies of the State).

Today, Oshiomhole has become a desperate political nomad in the vast camp of the PDP in Edo seeking to garner support from defeated governorship aspirants ahead of the July 14 governorship election.  The political reality that has put the characteristically arrogant and boastful Comrade Governor on edge must, indeed, be fundamentally profound.

It is now clear and quite instructive that Oshiomhole does not exercise absolute control of the levers of politics in his home state.  He is fighting for political survival; otherwise he would be acting naively and against historical fact that any good candidate from Edo South, with 58 percent voting population, is a potential winner of the governorship election.  Airhviabere is a good candidate.

Victory for a good Edo South candidate may be considered speculative since the election is yet to hold, but in 1983, a Benin man in the person of General Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia (retd.) contested the governorship election on the platform of the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN and defeated the incumbent SDP’s Professor Ambrose Alli (now late), an Esan man, whose achievements in government from 1979 to 1983 are still legendary.

In 1992, John Odigie Oyegun, a Benin man, defeated another Benin man, Lucky Igbinedion in the governorship race.  In 1999, Igbinedion emerged as governor.  In 2003 the effort of another Benin man, Senator Roland Owie, who contested the governorship election on the platform of All Peoples Party (now All Nigeria Peoples Party), to ease out Igbinedion, understandably fell through.

The political constant in the governorship race in the State had been Edo South until 2007 when the PDP decided to cede the slot to Edo Central.  Osunbor was declared winner by the electoral body that conducted the election, but Oshiomhole headed for the Tribunal and got the matter decided in his favour.

Oshiomhole knows that victory for him in a contest with any candidate from Edo South, especially if he is a good material like Airhiavbere, is not guaranteed even if he has done what Napoleon Bonaparte could not do (unfortunately, he has not), not to talk of his proclivity to feed the people with a salad of lies in the name of governance.

It is in this context that his allegation that PDP has planned to rig the forthcoming governorship election, the spurious claim by his Information Commissioner, Louis Odion, that his life is being threatened by Chief Tony Anenih and the panicky visitations to defeated PDP governorship aspirants following the emergence of Airhiavbere should be situated.  They are all desperate survival strategies and/or acts.

Mr.  HABIB ENAKHIMION, a political commentator, wrote from Auchi, Edo State.

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