For a man who made such a success in finance, it is amazing that Godwin Obaseki stayed much in the background in the eight years of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole until he was thrust into the limelight in the twilight of that administration.
Remarkably, Obaseki’s political trajectory followed almost a similar pathway as two fellow bankers who became governors before him.
Senator Kashim Shettima who came from Zenith Bank to become governor of Borno State had to fight off his former godfather, Senator Ali Sheriff, SAS to enthrone a legacy in his state.
Udom Emmanuel who also came from Zenith Bank to become governor of Akwa Ibom State similarly waged a war of liberation for himself, and some say, for the state, to win a second term.
He is now said to be in the pathway of enthroning a legacy that among others could make Akwa Ibom, Nigeria’s leading destination for Direct Foreign Investment, FDIs given the industrialization schemes and the success that has been made of the Ibom Air project.
Obaseki did not come from Zenith Bank, but from Afriinvest, a company that supposedly births banks. So that was perhaps not a disadvantage to him in fighting off his political godfather to win a second term.
Indeed, all three former bankers mentioned above had intimidating godfathers with strong personalities, but all three succeeded in the political combat for a second term.
The success of the former bankers in government underlines the shrewdness with which bankers have since the era of the Merchant of Venice been perceived.
After all, you need some high degree of astuteness to profit from other people’s money that they keep with you in trust.
The duo of Shettima and Emmanuel so dealt with their godfathers alongside the godfathers’ enforcers that the opposition to them was diminished to insignificance.
It was reflective of this that even a brother of Senator Sheriff jettisoned blood relationship to partner with Shettima.
It is against this background that questions are increasingly being asked of the tact with which Governor Obaseki is dealing with the opposition in Edo State.
The hand of fellowship thrown by the defeated godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, and opponent, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu after the final Supreme Court judgment was crudely dismissed as an afterthought.
Even if it were so, some thought that as a statesman that the governor would have grabbed the opportunity to teach Comrade some lessons in humility. But unfortunately, he was dismissive of their gestures.
What perhaps has provoked the latest commentaries from Edolites speaking to this correspondent is the decision by the governor to revoke the certificate of occupancy of the land housing a farm belonging to Pastor Ize-Iyamu, his opponent in the election that was less than a year ago.
No matter how it is explained, the action will only be interpreted as a political witchhunt.
The farm which reportedly acts as a training school for young farmers is not anywhere near the town and is surrounded by vast land areas for the governor to site any of his developmental schemes.
By going to pick on the land of his political opponent, Governor Obaseki stands the risk of rubbishing the good works he has done in education and other sectors.
Remarkably, Ize-Iyamu is not the first political opponent to face the governor’s ire. One of such opponents after the demolition of his house was given a bill of millions to pay to the Edo State government as the expense for pulling down his house!
The risk for Obaseki is that his target this time is undoubtedly one of the most popular political actors in the state with a good dose of public solidarity.
Even more, it is coming at a time when the governor is yet to disengage himself from the faceoff with the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II over the custody of the yet to be returned looted artefacts.
The problem for Governor Obaseki is that he may be going into his battles alone. Party members in his new party are grieved that eight months after inauguration for the second term that the governor is yet to make appointments. He is running with his two-man team of deputy governor and Secretary to the State Government, SSG despite the solidarity by the old members of the PDP in helping him win a second term.
Those from the state tell your correspondent that politics has never been played with such a dose of bitterness as it is now appearing with a degree of vindictiveness from Government House.
Even members of the PDP are disillusioned both with the attempt at Ize-Iyamu’s property and the standoff with the Oba of Benin.
The situation for the governor is even more tenuous given the forthcoming showdown as his deputy and longtime enforcer, Comrade Philip Shaibu prepares to upset the Esan Agenda ahead of the 2024 exit.
If the governor does not pull back from the present course he would find out that in his finishing days whatever legacy he may have built in the real sector would be swallowed up in an unmanageable crisis.
Pitiably, because he is eating alone, he would be all alone in the battle for an enduring legacy.