By Emmanuel Aziken
As the political season reaches a feverish pitch this weekend, the Nigerian political space is saturating with stories of betrayal by political actors seeking to gain the ascendancy over benefactors.
Of course, there can hardly be a more fitting example of this narrative than the stories emanating from Benin on the relationship between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his former campaign manager, Chief Dan Orbih.
After Obaseki was rightly or wrongly accused of betraying Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who damaged several persons including Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to foist him as governor in 2016, the allegation of betrayal by Obaseki has been stretched to Governor Nyesom Wike who was chairman of his 2020 Campaign Council. Wike claims not to have had his bath for three days in his quest to return Obaseki as governor.
Hon Ogbeide Ihama the man who was positioned to be the PDP governorship candidate in 2020, even more than Wike, is telling a more painful story. After stepping down, albeit reluctantly for Obaseki in 2020, Ihama and Orbih who was the campaign manager for Obaseki’s reelection, were at the instance of a motion by Obaseki last year “Suspended” from the party they welcomed the governor just two years ago.
A move by the governor and his associates to delegitimize Orbih, Ihama and their associates from this weekend’s national convention has now been upturned by the courts.
In nearby Delta State, the act of betrayal or self-political actualization reached a climax on Wednesday when the forces of the outgoing governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa triumphed, or rather, humiliated those of the governor’s patron, Chief James Ibori.
Ibori had rightly or wrongly been seen as a political legend for supposedly turning the tide for Okowa from prison in London.
The online newspaper, GWGNG.COM had two months ago reported how Ibori roared against those he claimed were plotting against him. Ibori was quoted as saying “anyone conspiring, anybody that thinks that because I am now a former governor they want to conspire to disgrace me, God will disgrace all of them.”
Deltans will be waiting for God’s judgment if truly, Ibori is now among the prophets.
Across the Niger, one of the stealthiest acts of alleged political betrayal came after forces aligned to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi locked Senator Ike Ekweremadu away from the democratic process of electing the next governor.
About eight years ago when the PDP team arrived Enugu supposedly on a mission to deliver Ugwuanyi’s rival as the party’s governorship candidate on the express orders of President Goodluck Jonathan, Ekweremadu according to very reliable accounts was said to have stood up to the team.
After conferring with Jonathan the music changed and Ugwuanyi who had already been initially recommended was delivered by the structure that was fully in Ekweremadu’s hands.
Ekweremadu had obtained the Enugu political structure after Governor Sullivan Chime miscalculated in his permutations.
Of course, critics claim that Ekweremadu’s desire is against zoning, but his supporters’ desire for a democratic expression of the issue has not been allowed to prevail.
The former minister of water resources, Alhaji Mukthar Shagari two days ago said bye-bye to PDP after years of condescending to the whims of the party, burying his aspirations in Sokoto.
Assertions of political betrayal are not just in the PDP as such allusions also pervade in the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Down south in Rivers State, many are still asking why Senator Magnus Abe is bent against Rotimi Amaechi? Or as the Abe crowd would ask, why Amaechi is bent against Abe being governor?
The question between those two is now who betrayed who?
The two had collaborated from when Abe was elected on the platform of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP into the Rivers State House of Assembly in 1999 and Amaechi on the platform of the PDP.
Their last collaboration was when Amaechi allegedly brought soldiers to ensure Abe was returned to the Senate in 2016.
Today, Abe is leading the chorus for Asiwaju Tinubu against homeboy Amaechi in the APC presidential campaign in Rivers State.
Indeed, the APC presidential campaign is laced with stories of betrayal, mostly by alleged political children’ of Tinubu.
The story of Dr Kayode Fayemi and Tinubu has been replete for ages depending on which side you are standing on.
Some have also heard the piercing story of Fayemi and Opeyemi Bamidele in Ekiti who was campaign manager for Fayemi’s re-election and took bullets supposedly targeted against the governor during the party primaries in 2018.
Their story is complex, caustic if not, cantankerous.
The story of Fayemi and Tinubu has now been buried by the challenge from Prof Yemi Osinbajo to Tinubu, a development that has divided the Southwest.
Tinubu has now disowned Osinbajo as a political son putting to fore the determination of the APC national leader to attain his life ambition irrespective of whose ox is gored.
In the profiles of political betrayals, one icing in the cake is the shocking example of Willie Obiano and Chukwuma Soludo.
For an administration that has been severally vilified for its lack of goodwill, that was climaxed by the slapping incident as it handed over, the faithfulness of Obiano to the secret pact with Soludo is refreshing. Obiano even defied his ambitious wife who allegedly wanted Chukwuma Umeoji as THEIR successor.
Indeed it was whispered in some circles that one issue where Willie Obiano refused his wife’s orders was on the choice of Soludo as THEIR successor in office.
Soludo has come out to appreciate Obiano for keeping to their 2016 working arrangement which led to Soludo sitting out the 2017 election.
Whatever anyone may say of Obiano or his wife, his faithfulness must be commended. It is a rare gesture!