By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, BENIN CITY
THE relationship between Governor Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been in the news in the past few weeks for mixed reasons.
The two men had different opinions ahead of the All Progressives Congress, APC, primaries in Edo. While the governor wanted a consensus arrangement, his predecessor chose direct primaries to pick candidates for the State and National Assembly seats. The governorship election in the state is not due until 2020.
The party eventually opted for direct primaries that threw up some controversies over the final list of candidates that emerged.
The calibre of aspirants that the process threw up was also a point of disagreement between the two. Governor Obaseki’s supporters wanted him to back people they perceived as absolutely loyal to him as a way building his structure which they believe would be handy when the battle for his second term begins. Oshiomhole disagreed on some of the persons suggested by the governor believing that because of the calibre of opposition, particularly in the National Assembly, APC should field candidates in Edo South and Edo Central who can win elections and not necessarily their loyalty to him or the governor. The two senatorial districts are currently dominated by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The two leaders have held several meetings both in Benin City and Abuja where all seems to be well believing that the governor, who is said to have promised to adjust his style of leadership, would comply with that because there have been several complaints of abandonment and allegation of Obaseki not ‘’servicing’’ the party structure. Obaseki has alluded to this complaint on some occasions saying his style of administration is to provide conducive environment for the people to prosper rather than giving handouts to a few leaders.
The seeming truce between Oshiomhole and Obaseki apparently led to the governor convening two meetings last week. One was with the caucus of the party in the state while the other was with candidates of the party on how to mobilise for the elections.
At the meeting, Governor Obaseki assured the candidates that his achievements would give them victory across the state.
A source in the meeting said some candidates raised concerns on the need for Governor Obaseki to step up activities in making Edo people know what the APC has achieved.
The meeting with the candidates was preceded by a caucus meeting where the governor was said to have tongue-lashed some former political office holders for agitating that they were entitled to political appointments in the current dispensation.
The governor was said to have called on them to drop their personal interests and support those who are in government now to better the lot of the party and the victory President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor went further with the inauguration of the Edo Central Senatorial Campaign Council, with a charge to win all the elective positions in the senatorial district in 2019.
Some Oshiomhole supporters said they were not comfortable with the many promises no action posture of the governor on the matter.
Said a party leader: “Everywhere has been quiet since the last meeting the governor had with the caucus and the candidates. He made so many promises which have calmed everyone but as at now, not much action has been done on the things he promised he was going to do. Is that how we will win election?”
There are permutations that the Ambode treatment may be the option for the governor going by what is happening. There are many people in the government who are products of Oshiomhole but how much of Oshiomhole’s legacies they are helping to sustain remain to be seen.
There is a school of thought that believe that the insistence of Oshiomhole that APC should adopt direct primaries for its primary election is a pointer to what is expected in 2020 because if things continue the way they are, it would be difficult for Obaseki to win a second term through direct primaries.
However, pundits believe that two years is a good time to make adjustments on the part of the governor to be on the same page with party leaders.