As the race to Edo government house draws nearer by the day, the heat generated by the two main warring political parties – All Progressives Congress(APC) and  the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), has stretched the state to its elastic limits. Not even the fence-mending peace accord brokered by the revered Oba Ewuare II has been able to mitigate the storm. While the former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole , sees Edo 2020 election as a make or mar election to his disfigured political career, obaseki  wants to use his power of incumbency as an opportunity to end godfatherism in the state and install a progressive New Edo regime.

Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki

In an exclusive interview with The Vanguard, Governor Godwin Obaseki (GO), who is seeking reelection under a different platform, PDP, has finally voiced out on how and why he fell out with his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole and Edo APC leaders. The epic tussle on September 19, is seen by many as one between Governor Obaseki and  Oshiomhole, who is supporting Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu as the APC  flagbearer.

To start with, Obaseki has made it abundantly clear that his relationship with Adams Oshiomhole  was never a godfather-godson arrangement. Instead, “I had to call my friends to raise money for him to become governor.  I worked with him for eight years pro bono”, that is without taking salaries, because I believed I was working for my Edo people. And when I indicated interest to succeed him, “Oshiomhole reciprocated and helped me. We moved together to campaign. I staked my money and got friends to fund my election”. That would not suggest he was my godfather, the governor said.

But when Obaseki eventually became governor, he had an understanding with Oshiomhole on how they were going to run the state. They agreed to put an end to the use of non-state actors in revenue collection, to avoid further disorderliness and violence which had marred the process hitherto. It was at this point that the government barred thugs (agberos) from the roads and markets, being target points of crises in Edo. Little did Obaseki know that he had stepped on powerful toes of some APC leaders who insisted on having their way because ‘we helped you to become governor’, they told him.

But from the moment Oshiomhole became the National Chairman of APC, he changed to become undisguisedly overbearing, tending to dictate terms. When the issue of sharing state money came up Governor Obaseki  told the state APC leaders that he would not use the fund meant for people’s welfare for jamboree settlement.

Throwing light on what he has done on people’s welfare GO had this to say: “It was while working with Oshiomhole that I was able to put in place reforms that I thought would change the face of Edo from the mistakes of past administrations. Indeed, most of the projects of the previous administration are the outcome of my works as Chairman, Economic Team in Oshiomhole’s administration. I have also continued many of them”. According yo him,  he had pushed the Edo Refinery and Petrochemical industry to 70% completion. The same goes for the Benin River  Port, the 55MW Ossiomo independent power plant, and many road projects.

The governor however denied being arrogant and intolerant of other people’s views. Claiming that he was sure of 80% vote from Edo people, he said he was in total support of free and violent free election so that his teeming supporters would exercise their franchise to his favour.

John Daniel Obioma

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