By Emmanuel Aziken
It is an irony that Edo State is having the dirtiest election campaign in the history of the state despite having two otherwise refined gentlemen as governorship candidates of the two major parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a provincial pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God who testifies to have met the Lord more than twenty-five years ago after a road accident, is the APC candidate.
Before his spiritual rebirth, he was said to have done some very, very bad things especially in the University of Benin.
He is challenging Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the PDP who also showed sprinklings of education delinquency in his secondary school days and had issues entering the university.
Now, some of the country’s leading bankers would be shy to admit that it was the same Obaseki, that is now master of the Queen’s language and finance wizard that shaped the sector for them.
It is against this background that the unfolding political crisis in the state can be viewed.
Of course, seeing the video of Governor Obaseki vowing to deal with his enemies and let them know that he is governor, one would go away with the impression that the governor is beginning to learn new bad things.
Or is it the sight of Pastor addressing the ‘tigers and the lions?’ Many of course are still trying to decipher what pastor meant in that address, especially given his new spiritual philosophy that frowns against fighting flesh and blood!
Indeed, despite operating in a political atmosphere shaped by licentiousness, few would dispute the fact that Ize-Iyamu radiates an exemplary behaviour in chastity and moral conduct.
So, if Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu are definitely such good guys, why is the unfolding campaign in Edo State turning into the most vicious and dirty campaign in the history of the state?
Now on a daily basis, campaign materials, lies, innuendos are churned out by campaign aides and staffers to beguile the unsuspecting.
Despite the fact that he is undergoing trial with the state chairman of the PDP, Dr Tony Aziegbemi over an innocuous N700 million money laundering charge, Ize-Iyamu is regularly lampooned as a thief.
On its part, the APC campaign goes even beneath decorum inputting sexist allegations without proof against the governor!
Edo should have better.
But beneath the veneer is the desperation of political masters within and outside the state to take control of the state.
Of course, the most mentioned name is Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the man who only four years ago broke the bank to force Obaseki on Edo State.
By hook and crook, Oshiomhole looked above every other consideration to foist Obaseki on the people of Edo State.
For whatever reason, Obaseki apparently did not follow the blueprint in his opinion and he has now returned, and shockingly, to his vomit to project Ize-Iyamu as the messiah!
Some actually see Comrade’s fight against Obaseki as a battle of ego to win back prestige after being disgraced by a seemingly ungrateful protégée.
However, it is more than that. Beyond that is the fate of the many disciples of comrade who came to reckoning during Oshiomhole’s eight years who have now been retired by Obaseki.
Many of these fellows are now at the arrowhead of the campaign to retrieve the governorship from Obaseki. Many of them would do things legal and illegal to reply the perceived hurts meted to them by the governor.
The actions of last Thursday were examples of what would be done to get at Obaseki by his political foes in Benin.
The move by the group of 17 Edo inaugurated and yet to be inaugurated legislators posit a danger signal for the state that brings the state to the precipice. Obaseki apparently took a cue from Oshiomhole’s notes with his actions in the Edo State House of Assembly.
When he feared that he could face impeachment in the hands of the majority PDP members of the House of Assembly,
Oshiomhole also did a similar action when according to him he pulled down the roof of the House of Assembly to prevent the legislators from sitting.
“Mr President, sometimes I feel you are too mild. I was under threat of impeachment, I had to remove the roof of my State House of Assembly in order to survive,” comrade said in a word of advice to President Muhammadu Buhari during his inauguration as national chairman of the APC in 2018.
Then, acting in concert with his Man Friday, Philip Shaibu, he pulled the minority members to the Government House to pass the laws as he desired.
Now, his true disciples following in his path are not just bringing down the roof of the assembly, but the roof of his political career on him.
If Obaseki wins, Oshiomhole would never be the same. If Ize-Iyamu wins, Oshiomhole may have won back his pride, but certainly he would never contemplate playing godfather to Ize-Iyamu!