By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Only the state that identifies itself as the Heartbeat of the Nation could have thrown up the promising matchup between uncle and nephew for a party governorship ticket. Edo State with its outgoing, very active comrade governor, Adams Oshiomhole has indeed not disappointed with its surfeit of governorship aspirants in the two major political parties.
However, the projection of two aspirants from the same family for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC is what has made the aspirations of Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Dr. Pedro Obaseki partially outstanding. The two candidates are also joined by the burden of defending the family name against the allegation of a conspiracy by their great grandfather to supposedly usurp the throne of the Oba of Benin. It is an allegation both men and their leading supporters have dismissed as the machination of political detractors to outwit them. That, however, is where they only agree.
Godwin, chairman of the Edo State Economic Management Team, was the first to gain traction among the party establishment in Edo State supposedly on account of yet to be confirmed assertions of being backed by Governor Oshiomhole. A financial consultant with claims to many successful financial engineering in the country, Godwin in an encounter further claims to have been with Oshiomhole from the beginning of the comrade governor’s political emergence. Unlike many other foot soldiers, he, however, said that he remained in the background laying down the economic blueprint for the Oshiomhole administration. His success in that regard could be measured by the degree to which the Edo State administration in the state has been able to push up internally generated revenue and draw in big time investors into the state, including the likes of Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Though the rumour is all there in the state that Dangote is also behind Godwin’s aspiration, Godwin claims that his relationship with Africa’s richest man was when they served together on the governing council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE where he Godwin proved to be a truthful counsellor to the billionaire.
Pedro Obaseki unlike his uncle, however, is quick to tell whosoever is concerned that he has no such privilege of having billionaires as enthusiasts, rather he claims his support is from the masses, who he claims are supporting him through the crowd funding platform that was first introduced to these shores by Muhammadu Buhari last year. While Uncle Godwin is a renowned financial expert with great influence in boardrooms, Pedro or Don Pedro as he is fondly called has his niche remarkably drawn from various gamut of life. Radio Deejay, university lecturer, movie producer and administrator among others, the Don was a consultant to Raymond Dokpesi in the setting up of AIT and served as managing director of DAAR Communications Satellite Service, DAARSAT and was also the pioneer General Manager of DBN Television.
Given the high stake game they are involved in, it is not surprising that both Godwin and Don Pedro often shy away from discussing their present relationship. Don Pedro, however, claims to have conceived a governorship aspiration and asked Uncle for his support.
However, both children of Obaseki play their game, they are not ignorant of the interest of other very strong contenders on the field desirous of the APC ticket among whom are Kenneth Imasuagbon, fondly known as the Rice Man with structures across the three senatorial districts, Prof. Osehrienmen Osunbor, a former governor of the state who has loyalists and possibly aides from his brief tenure hoping to revive their fortunes, the outgoing deputy governor with strong royal support, Chris Ogienmwonyi among many others.
However, no one is dismissing the prospect of the comrade governor overlooking the Obaseki family to pick a successor from outside the family in the event of his succession plan running aground. The prospect of such is especially so, given the saying that a house divided against itself cannot stand.