The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress and former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is presently facing a stiff test that may well define his political survival and relevance as a powerbroker.
As the official leader of the All Progressives Congress, he is trying to ward off governors and other influential figures in the state who are working hard to secure his removal for different reasons ranging from personal vendetta to the widespread belief that he intends to manipulate party machinery in favor of Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos who is said to have helped the emergence of Oshiomhole and looking to replace President Buhari in 2023.
At the home front, Comrade Oshiomhole is at the heart of a crisis caused by the fallout between himself and his political godson, Godwin Obaseki, the governor of the state who, according to reports, wants another term in office against the wish of the National Chairman.
Surprisingly, Godwin Obaseki has declared full war on Adams Oshiomhole, a situation that heightened when the state announced the suspension of the National Chairman from the party and effectively barred him from participating in political activities in Edo. Although the National Chairman has rebuffed and rubbished the claims, it shows how bad things have gotten between them, reducing chances of possible reconciliation further down the road.
Another significant development is the factionalization of the APC in the state with the favored camp of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led by Colonel David Imuse, a man who has been granted exclusive access to party meetings in Abuja, with the door shut against Anselm Ojezua, the leader of Obaseki’s camp.
The governor wields a lot of power and could join forces with other governors seeking the downfall of Adams Oshiomhole. However, in spite of all of these, here are three reasons why Oshiomhole is likely to come out of the war victorious.
Political experience and battle-tested
In a high-stake war where winners claim all the spoil and losers are left with nothing, most people, when presented with the choice, would rather choose to go to battle with an experienced and battle-tested General with a proven track record of victory, than a promising soldier with a lot of ammunition.
This fact could count in the favor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a man whose emergence has governor was birthed by his spirited and unlikely defeat of powerbrokers in the state who had access to the Federal purse such as Tony Anenih and Lucky Igbinedion. 2008, when Oshiomhole first won as governor, marked a new beginning for the politics of Edo state and his political conquest endeared him to many who will now likely choose him instead of Obaseki, a New York stockbroker, who until he got the approval of Adams Oshiomhole in 2016, had no political structure of his own or a chance of victory.
Already, this is playing out with the decamping of Obaseki’s main opponent in 2016, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu from the PDP to Oshiomhole’s camp of the APC. The Pastor is a powerful politician in the state and by joining forces with the Comrade, Obaseki definitely will not be sleeping well.
Backing of the presidency
Both parties are jostling to receive the support of the Presidency but it appears Oshiomhole is beating Obaseki to it. On multiple occasions, the President has proclaimed loud support for the National Chairman and efforts by Obaseki to institute a coup has been met with a brick wall.
Most notably, at a meeting between the President and governors weeks ago, Obaseki and his cohorts were reportedly overlooked by the President in their loud agitations against the National Chairman.
If Oshiomhole has the proverbial ‘federal might’ in his arsenal, Obaseki may as well throw in the towel.
No one likes a betrayal
The reason for the conflict between Obaseki and Oshiomhole is manifold and largely depends on who you ask. However, to the watching public, a simple interpretation is that Oshiomhole helped Obaseki to power and he is now, sadly, being betrayed by his own “boy”.
This is a powerful narrative that whips up public sympathy for the National Chairman. Although Obaseki has repeatedly tried to shake off the “ungrateful” tag by insisting he, in fact, helped Oshiomhole’s political takeover years ago, the public remains unconvinced and this could very well decide the winner of the contest.