Edo state election is around the corner, meanwhile you might be wondering what I mean by the titled question ‘Who will be the Merlin?”…If you could recall in the time of myth and days of magic the destiny of a great kingdom rest on the shoulder of a man and his name is merlin – culled from a series movie “Merlin”
Although the postponement of the Edo State governorship election does not look straight regardless of whatever reason/reasons that brought about the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).
Will the Elections be a demonstration of madness exemplified by violence?
Nigerians are all craving for change and at the same time putting blames on the Leaders meanwhile we forget that people are not imported from other countries to fight or cause troubles during electoral exercises.
The battle for the Edo state 2016 governorship election is more or less like a Game of Thrones, But nevertheless there are four factors that will define the election political experts say will be the mother of all political battles.
1. Clash of Egos:
It be a clash of egos, not only between the two candidates but also their backers.
Although the Edo state governor will not be on the ballot, he sees the governorship battle as directly his own.
Therefore, it is a battle of supremacy between the PDP candidate and the governor of the state for two reasons. One, like most governors, Oshiomholewants to install his favourite as his successor.
Secondly, he wants to affirm his supremacy in the politics of the state. Achieving the two objectives will perhaps be his greatest political goals.
Oshiomhole is a man of “war”, who has fought many battles, winning many and losing a few, starting from his days as president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) till his advent into politics. Ironically, in his first political battle in politics, Ize-Iyamu was one of the “generals” that led him to victory.
On his part, the PDP candidate can best be described as a master political strategist, with vast political network. Recall that Ize-Iyamu had played a key role in Oshiomhole’s emergence as governor in 2008.
It was the Grace Group founded by the former SSG that metamorphosed into the AC on whose platform the governor contested and won the 2007 general election.
In 2012, the PDP candidate was the Director General of the Oshiomhole reelection campaign. Even the Director General of the Obaseki Campaign, Mr Osarodion Ogie was the secretary of the Grace Group.
Therefore, the election is a contest of two friends turned foes. So, to some extent, both men know the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents. However, as the saying goes, there is no permanent friend or permanent enemy in politics.
Oshiomhole and Ize Iyamu went their separate ways about two years ago, as a result of irreconcilable political differences which those in the know ascribed to the ambition of the former SSG. Personal pride and ego, no doubt will be one of the things at stake.
Both men know what is involved and as such are already strategizing on how best to outwit the other and win the minds of the people in the contest.
2. Nomination Politics
One of the key factors that will define the Edo State governorship election is the politics that led to the emergence of the candidates of both parties.
In the APC, Obaseki defeated 11 other candidates to emerge as the party’s flag bearer. While in the PDP, Ize Iyamu defeated two others to emerge the candidate.
However, unlike in the PDP, the APC ran a very acrimonious primary election, which greatly polarized the party in the period leading to the primary election.
Many had alleged that some powerful forces in the party tried to muzzle other aspirants out of the race for the party’s ticket, so as to pave the way for the emergence of the anointed candidate.
Not a few of the candidates see the governor as interfering with the primaries. Sources close to the deputy governor, Pius Odubu had repeatedly accused the state government of hounding his deputy, because of the utter insistence of running for the party primaries.
In fact, two of the aspirants, ChiefsKen Imasuagbon and Chris Ogiemwonyi had openly rejected the outcome of the primaries, alleging that it was massively rigged in favour of the party’s candidate.
After the primaries, the governor as well as the APC at the state and national level has been making frantic efforts to reconcile all the aggrieved interest groups within the party.
Obaseki had met with Odubu and most of those who contested the party’s ticket with him while the national secretariat of the party has also stepped into the feud, all in a bid to ensure that the APC goes to the general election united.
3. Deputy Governorship Candidate
Another key factor that will influence the governorship poll is the choice of the deputy governorship candidates and where they are from.
Although, both parties are yet to name their running mates, informed sources say while the PDP is looking towards Edo Central, the APC wants to pick its deputy governorship candidate from Edo North where Oshiomhole hails from.
If the parties go ahead and pick their running mate from these areas as speculated, it will rub off on them positively or negatively.
In the case of the PDP, Edo Central is the power base of the party. Therefore, picking the running mate from there will just consolidate the hold of the the party on the zone. Apart, from the 2012 general election where Oshiomhole won the area, PDP had always won majority of the votes in the area in every election.
If picking a running mate from Central works for the PDP, the APC’s plan to pick a deputy governorship candidate from the North may also work in favour of the APC. Edo North has three sub ethnic groups- Akoko Edo, Owan and Etsako.
Oshiomhole is from Etstako. To reap maximum benefit from ceding the running mate to Edo North, the ruling party must guard against picking somebody from Etsako. Sources say if it goes to Owan or Akoko Edo, it will help to galvanise the people effectively.
Speculations that the APC may pick its deputy governorship candidate from Edo North notwithstanding, party leaders from Edo Central are making a strong case for the position.
However, in the event that APC picks his deputy governorship candidate from the North, the party may have effectively alienated Edo Central and would have to work real hard to be able to sell its candidate to people of the area.
4. The past as a burden. The antecedents of the two candidates, their families and political parties
Both the APC and PDP candidates are scions of two illustrious Benin families, the Obaseki and Ize- Iyamu families.
The progenitors of both men have played key roles in the decisive moments in the history of the Benin kingdom.
Expectedly, these roles may be subjected to scrutiny as the campaign picks up properly. Besides, the achievement of the PDP and APC administrations in the state may also come up.
The achievements of the PDP and administrations have been subjects of controversy. So, it may actually not count in deciding the next governor of the state, especially as the same people who called the shots under PDP governments are the same people calling the shots in the present administration, with the exception of a few.
Edo State, no doubt is set for a very intriguing and tension-soaked governorship campaigns. From now on, there will be no dull moments until maybe after the polls, as the politicians tear up themselves.