Edo State Gears Up for Governorship Election Amidst Political Intrigues

With the Edo State governorship election more than a year away, the political landscape in the state is already buzzing with activity. Various aspirants are positioning themselves to succeed Governor Godwin Obaseki, whose second term concludes on November 12, 2024.

As the political tension rises, contenders and pretenders are strategically positioning themselves for the impending electoral battle. The power struggle between Senator Adams Oshiomhole, the immediate past governor of Edo State, and Governor Obaseki adds an extra layer of complexity to the unfolding political drama.

Governor Obaseki has been actively engaging with different stakeholders, including the Nigeria Union of Journalists and party/community leaders, in an effort to secure support for his yet-to-be-identified successor.

In contrast, Senator Oshiomhole is determined to reassert his influence in the state’s political landscape. The battle for control over Edo State has both political heavyweights strategically planning their moves.

Key Factors Influencing the Election Outcome:

1. Zoning Factor: Given that Oshiomhole is from Edo North and Obaseki hails from Edo South, there is growing consensus among stakeholders that the next governor should come from Edo Central. Both Oshiomhole and Obaseki seem amenable to this idea, and it may play a crucial role in candidate selection.

2. Aspirants: Three major parties—the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Labour Party (LP)—have over 30 aspirants vying for the governorship seat. Notable APC aspirants include Joseph Ikpea, Gideon Obhakhan, Col. David Imuse (retd), Monday Okpebholo, Professor Osariemhenn Osunbor, and Clem Agba.

3. Senatorial District Considerations: The Edo Central Senatorial District is lobbying for support from other zones, emphasizing equity and fairness in producing the next governor. Oshiomhole and Obaseki are reportedly inclined to consider an Edo Central candidate.

4. Notable Aspirants:

  • Osariemhen Osunbor: A former governor elected in 2007, Osunbor is from Edo Central and aims to secure the governorship seat for the second time.
  • Gideon Obhakhan: A former commissioner for Education in Oshiomhole’s administration, Obhakhan is likely to contend for votes in the same local government as Osunbor.
  • Monday Okpebholo: Current APC chairman in Edo State, Okpebholo enjoys support from the party’s leadership and has financial backing.
  • David Imuse: The current chairman of APC in Edo State, Imuse is also from Edo Central and a medical doctor. However, sharing a local government with other aspirants may impact his chances.
  • Joseph Ikpea: A former commissioner and administrator at Lee Engineering and Construction Company, Ikpea is seen as having the necessary pedigree for the governorship.
  • Clem Agba: A former Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Agba is an economist and former Chevron manager aspiring for the governorship.
  • Gideon Ikhine: A fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Ikhine recently switched from PDP to APC and may face challenges due to his defection.
  • Kenneth Imansuagbon: A veteran governorship aspirant known as the “Rice man,” Imansuagbon has been seeking the seat for over 20 years.
  • Dorry Okojie: A technocrat and business mogul, Okojie stands out among LP aspirants with a strong business background.
  • Matthew Urhoghide: A senator who recently left PDP and is likely to contest under LP, Urhoghide has intimated Edo journalists of his gubernatorial ambitions.
  • Asue Ighodalo: A businessman and PDP aspirant from Edo Central, Ighodalo enjoys backing from Obaseki and may run on the party’s platform.
  • Philip Shaibu: The deputy governor, facing alleged impeachment threats, hails from Edo North and may encounter challenges due to his strained relationship with Obaseki.

As Edo State anticipates a politically charged election, the choice of a governorship candidate and the dynamics of alliances and support will ultimately shape the electoral outcome. The contest for the “Heartbeat of the Nation” promises to be a fierce and closely watched political battle.

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