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Edo 2016: Odubu’s ambition pits him against Oshiomhole


Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.

It has become obvious that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State may not know peace before the scheduled September 10 gubernatorial election as the governorship ambition of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu has pitted him against the desire and wish of his boss and the outgoing governor, Adams Oshiomhole.

While supporters of Odubu continue to soar by the day, with an increasing number of political gladiators, party faithful, youth group among other stakeholders declaring their interest for his candidacy ahead of the party’s primary scheduled for June18, Oshiomhole’s focus is believed to be practically somewhere else.

Odubu who has been the ‘whipping bell’ appeared to have suddenly become a force to reckon with as several members of the Edo APC now sings his praises and support his governorship ambition above that of other aspirants in the party.

However, the fear in the mind of the electorate is whether Odubu would spring up surprise by defecting to another party or design a new strategy to seek a fresh platform following the intrigues and intricate infighting within the APC, especially the alleged insistence of Governor Oshiomhole to oppose every opportunity to have his deputy succeed him.

For now, Odubu as well as Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, Chris Ogiewmonyi, Blessing Agbomhere, and Tina Agbara, have all obtained their intent and nomination forms for the governorship ticket.

The relationship between Oshiomhole and Odubu became strained when the latter declared his intention to run for the governorship election.

Meanwhile traditional rulers from Edo North were said to have intervened in the crisis by appealing to Odubu on his ambition. They maintained that the growth and development of the state was tied to the unity of purpose between him and his boss.

Leading the traditional rulers from Edo North during a visit to the deputy governor recently, the Otaru of Auchi, Haliru Momoh, Ikelebe III, extolled the cordial relationship that existed between Governor Oshiomhole and Odubu in the past Seven and a half year, noting that the recent happenings in the state’s polity over who succeeds the governor should not tear the duo apart.

It would be recalled that Odubu escaped death by the whiskers in Auchi, the administrative Headquarter of Etsako West Local Government, as gunmen allegedly shot at him inside the APC’s Secretariat in Auchi when delegates of the council were receiving him.

But with the growing number of the party faithful rallying support for the deputy governor, it was alleged that Oshiomhole was not relenting in discouraging every move of those loyal to his deputy as the party’s primary drew closer.

This is evident in the gale of sack of top government functionaries, party loyalists and state commissioners perceived to be sympathetic to Odubu’s ambition.

Oshiomhole currently spoiling for war with those suspected to be opposing his alleged choice of a preferred aspirant in the APC, according to sources has not spared anyone with a dissenting view with him on who succeeds him.

For now those considered to be against the governor’s alleged preferred aspirant have been told to thread with caution or risked being sacked whether from the cabinet or not.

A party source alleged: “An open declaration of support for Odubu or the mere thought of conceiving such, is an invitation to trouble as it is evident as those who openly differed with Oshiomhole on the ground of his successor, particularly members of the state executive council have had their own fare share of the governor’s brutality.”

The most recent sack that has angered the people and placed them against the governor was the sack of the state’s state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Abdul Oroh.

Oroh, one of the longest serving commissioners in the Adams Oshiomhole’s administration have served as Commissioner for Agriculture and until his disengagement was the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry.

Giving the reasons for relieving the commissioner of his duty, Oshiomhole said Oroh’s removal was with immediate effect and in the public interest.

The governor had earlier relieved some commissioners of their appointment following their alleged interactions with the deputy governor’s camp.

Other victims of Oshiomhole’s wrath were the immediate past Commissioner of Education, Patrick Aguinede, Commissioner for Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Lucky James, Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources, Chris Ebare and Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Blessing Magida.

The sack coming within the last six months, many have acknowledged was targeted at crippling the political structures of Odubu ahead of the party primaries.

The action according to sources, was aimed at breaking the ranks of the deputy governor and cripple his governorship ambition, but it seemed that the governor’s action has turned to be a blessings for his deputy.

Odubu, who described himself at various fora as a man with the needed experience to succeed his boss, claimed that he has brought the dividends of democracy to the state just as he assured that his political ambition has the support and blessings of all and sundry within the state, including those in the governors camp and beyond.

He noted that his years of experience in government spanning over a decades, as a trained political scientist and lawyer, puts him in a good stead to do the greatest good to the greatest number of people.

According to him, “My training as a political scientist and a lawyer has uniquely equipped me to embrace modern leadership techniques and organizational skills.”

Odubu who noted that given the high level to which Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has taken Edo “The governor needs a successor that is game ready and who can hit the ground running. I believe I am that person by the grace of God.”

He added that he was in politics to serve the people “my position is that all the APC governorship aspirants should desist from campaign of calumny against one another. In this contest, I have no enemies but opponents. I have told my supporters repeatedly that they should be temperate in their language and civil in their conduct. I hope others will follow suit.”

Odubu, responding to the allegation that he had contracted a native doctor to kill Oshiomhole in the wake of the 2016 governorship election said the allegation was a calculated attempt to discredit him as well as to drive a wedge between him and the governor.”

Odubu noted that the allegations coupled with his recent travails at Auchi, following his declaration to run for the governorship position “were all the handiwork of my political detractors. It is an old and tired concocted lie to tarnish my image in the eye of the public. It is politically motivated.

“You are aware that the governorship election is close and I am one of those vying for the APC’ ticket. They failed when they tried it during my re-nomination as deputy governor in 2012, they certainly will fail again now.”

But Governor Oshiomhole blamed the differences in the All Progressives Congress in the state on some fifth columnists who left the opposition PDP but do not wish the APC well. Besides sources claimed that the governor had stood firmly with his deputy citing instances when some leaders of the party wanted to drop him as his deputy while they were seeking re-election in 2012 but were resisted by the governor.

Presenting his scorecard as a deputy governor, Odubu said, “Whatever this administration has achieved, I believe, at the rate of being immodest, I share a little bit of the credit. My duty, primarily is to compliment the efforts of the Mr. Governor to provide the enabling environment for him to thrive.”

He added that Oshiomhole has acknowledged this severally that: “I am the best and most loyal deputy governor in Nigeria. I have received several recognition and awards from reputable organizations. I believe I have done my bit by providing and complimenting the effort of my boss.”

The deputy governor also expressed hope against all odds that he is the one to beat in the party, adding that it is needless to even consider probing Governor Oshiomhole if elected.”

He however pledged to support whoever emerges as the governorship candidate at the primaries if the contest was not in his favour.”

He said, “I make bold to say, that this administration of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the most transparent government in Nigeria. Oshiomhole’s government was the first to embrace and deploy ICT in government affairs in Edo. It is also among the first to implement and domesticate the due process law. We today have a due process office here in Edo.

“Even the World Bank have also commended Oshiomhole for being the most transparent governor in the country and running the most transparent government in Nigeria.”

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