By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Deciding who to support between Adams Oshiomhole and Charles Airhiavbere should ordinarily not be an issue for Senator Ehigie Uzamere, the highest elected public officer from Edo South. After all, he has made the Bini agenda a primary concern.
That decision ordinarily should not be tough given that Airhiavbere is Senator Uzamere’s first cousin as the PDP candidate’s mother is from the Uzamere family. It should also have been easier for Uzamere in that Oshiomhole is not a Benin man as some anti-Oshiomhole enthusiasts have been dubiously aiming to point out.
Remarkably, many would also remember Senator Uzamere’s recent role in ensuring that for the first time that a Bini man became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin.
Looking beyond the blood ties
But Senator Uzamere is apparently looking beyond the blood ties with Airhiavbere and is now said to be fully backing Oshiomhole against his first cousin. Uzamere, it would be recalled, was first elected to the senate on the platform of the PDP in 2007. Even though a PDP member it was no secret that Senator Uzamere in his first term did not hide his feeling on what his associates saw as Chief Tony Anenih’s dominance of the politics in Edo South.
“To say that he was uncomfortable is an understatement,” one top politician close to Anenih and Uzamere said yesterday.
Some allege that it was his money and the determination to stop Daisy Danjuma in 2007 that made way for Uzamere to clinch the PDP ticket in 2007. It was as such believed in some circles that Uzamere not having his political strings tied to Anenih saw himself as an independent man. Well to some extent.
However, push came to shove after Oshiomhole became governor in 2008. In July 2009 President Umaru Yar‘Adua allowed Governor Oshiomhole to nominate Mr. Jude Ise-Idehen as Edo State commissioner on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. Uzamere and the other two senators from Edo State reached an agreement reportedly under the instruction of their political leader to oppose the nomination. However, the other two Senators, Odion Ugbesia and Yisa Braimoh, themselves two acolytes of Anenih, however, turned back to back Ise-Idehen. Uzamere was reportedly instructed to tow the line on the instruction of the leader.
Uzamere, however, rebelled and stuck to his opposition citing sundry political reasons. The Anenih camp was rattled over the seeming rebellion. Uzamere remarkably successeded in mobilizing the senate to stop the confirmation of the nominee.
After being stopped with Ise-Idehen, Oshiomhole in December 2009 nominated a replacement in the person of Don Omorodion and this time, the Anenih camp reportedly directed the senators to stop the nomination, but Uzamere again rebelled and fully threw his support behind the nominee while Ugbesia and Braimoh opposed the nominee. Again, Uzamere successfully mobilized senators to endorse the nominee. It was one of the few times that the interest of the Anenih camp in the Senate would be so publicly trampled upon by a senator from Edo State.
But for Uzamere it was clear his days in the PDP were marked. It was as such not surprising that soon after, he crossed over to the ACN and caused a major problem for Oshiomhole. Before Uzamere’s entry into the ACN the way was almost clear for the popular Benin politician, Matthew Urhoghide to emerge as the ACN senatorial candidate for the 2011 election.
However, given the past support he had received from Uzamere, Oshiomhole was forced to back the incumbent senator for re-election.
Urhoghide apparently in annoyance left the ACN for the PDP. Now, Urhoghide is up in arms against Oshiomhole’s election and is the spokesman of the party. But for Uzamere it is Oshiomhole to the tilt over and against his first cousin, Airhiavbere!