The die is cast, the battle line is drawn, the gladiators, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his erstwhile political godson, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, are battle-ready. The dateline is the gubernatorial election in Edo state slated to hold on 19 September.
Like the biblical Kings of the North and South, the gladiators have engaged each other in pushing and bitter war of who controls the party structure in the state, that culminated in the removal of Oshiomhole as national chairman of the APC.
Obaseki drew the first blood, gave Oshiomhole the upper cut when his then faction of the party announced the suspension of the former national chairman at the ward level. Rather than contesting his suspension in a court of component jurisdiction, Oshiomhole who appeared to himself as untouchable, ignored the grave consequences of his suspension order, forgetting that his being national chairman is contingent on his good standing with his ward.
Of course, members of the Edo People’s Movement (EPM), who are his foot soldiers in the state, did not help matters, as they egged him on, querying the audacity and authority of a common ward chairman to suspend his all-powerful national chairman. Regrettably and unfortunately, he paid the heavy price of overconfidence and negligence, as President Muhammadu Buhari ratified his removal as national chairman of the party, after several cases in courts of equal jurisdiction produced injunctions and counter injunctions.
The removal of Oshiomhole was seen as victory for Obaseki: one zero, in favour of Obaseki. But, the governorship election will be the final showdown, the battle to decide if Obaseki would have totally buried Oshiomhole’s relevance and his political future, as he boasted. It will also be Oshiomhole’s only opportunity to redeem his image and prove that he is still a political strategist, winning the election for his candidate and his party.
About 58 percent of the voting population in Edo State are found in the seven local government area in southern senatorial district. Any governorship candidate that wins the majority here will only need complimentary votes from the north and perhaps the central
As the countdown ticks for the 19 September gubernatorial election in Edo State, the bitter struggle between a political godfather and his godson and the likely end of the political war.