Top contenders for edo governorship race
As the battle for the soul of Edo State intensifies, Michael Egbejule x-rays the polity and the political gladiators’ potentials and credentials ahead of the September 10 governorship election.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu – PDP
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is, perhaps, the man to watch out for in the PDP. With a considerable financial chest and unwavering support he enjoys from many within and outside the PDP, the Pastor looks good to pick the PDP ticket.
He hails from Orhionmwon local government area.
He was secretary to Edo State government during the second term of former governor Lucky Igbinedion and has over the years built a political structure across the three senatorial districts with large following. He has also put up a good fight against candidates of the ruling APC in the state, where he had also been a major player.
Though he is seen by some party leaders to be too loyal to the powers that be in the state, particularly to former governor Lucky Igbinedion that could also count in his favour when push comes to shove, as it is going to be the survival of the fittest in the contest for the flag of the PDP.
Dr. Pius Odubu – (APC)
Odubu is said to be a gentleman and currently the deputy governor of Edo State under the Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Also from Orhionmwon, the former lawmaker served two terms of eight years at the Federal House of Representatives between 1999-2007.
Odubu’s proponents insist that he can be referred to as the most loyal deputy governor in the country. His loyalty, which some say is to a fault has not yielded desired recompense in the race to Government house come September. In the fixtures, he cannot be said to be among the First Eleven, because his principal has his eyes elsewhere.
Professor Oserheimen Osunbor – (APC)
Former Governor Oserheimen Osunbor, a Law Professor, was a major pillar of the PDP in Edo Central Senatorial for 18 months before the emergence of Oshiomhole through the court of appeal ruling.
Osunbor, who hails from Edo Central, is seen as a credible politician without blemish especially when he held sway as the governor of the state. He parades one of the finest credentials in the line up for APC ticket, and commands respects among other aspirants. He is counting on his stewardship while in office to come to his rescue, despite that the party may have zoned the governorship ticket to Edo South.
Godwin Obaseki – (APC)
MR. Godwin Obaseki is an apostle of the Comrade governor Adams Oshiomhole, and is said to enjoy the governor’s endorsement for the Edo 2016 governorship election ticket.
Obaseki is also touted to be set to pick the Edo APC governorship ticket because of the backing of the establishment, but will have a lot of battles ahead as his endorsement has continued to generate controversy within the party and among leaders of the party who are bent on giving a level playing field to all aspirants to test their popularity.
Obaseki’s critics are of the view that the business consultant/investment expert is being imposed on the party, a development, which has created wide gulf among party leaders in the state.
Chris Ogiemwonyi – (APC).
Chris Ogiemwonyi, a former minister of State for Works under former President Goodluck Jonathan defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in November 2014 before the 2015 general election. Coming from a humble background, he is working round the clock to build a structure that will position him for the APC ticket.
Chris, an engineer and a former Group Executive Director, (Exploration and Production) of the NNPC is still seen by party leaders as too new to be given higher tasks. So, he is still finding his feet in the APC. But his credibility in public service, which spanned over 30, years could be his testimonial.
Comrade Peter Esele – APC
Comrade Peter Esele is former President of PENGASSAN and immediate past President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and a graduate of Abia State University. He declared that one of the reasons he is seeking to be the governor of Edo State is because he has something to offer.
It was said that the Comrade governor actually nudged him into the race, but he could actually be relevant in other offices, as that of governor might have been zoned to Edo South in the APC.
Esele is from Edo Central, but his youthfulness and brilliance makes him nearly indispensable at a time like this. If he does not pick the ticket, he could be useful in other vital areas.
Barrister Kenneth Imansuangbon – APC
Ken Imansuangbon, a lawyer by training and popularly known as ‘Rice Man’ is no doubt a household name as far as politics in Edo State is concerned. His philanthropy is what has earned him popularity among the people.
His contribution to the educational sector of the country speaks volume, more than his political trajectory, which has not fetched him too much. He first threw his hat into the governorship race, way back in 2007, under the platform of the Action Congress, (AC).
Somehow, he misses it when it seems so close. What counts against him is his flip-flop base in the political parties he has been. In 2012, he contested the governorship ticket in the PDP, but lost to Maj. Gen. Airhiavbere (Retired). Now, it is not too clear how solid he stands.
Prof. Ebegue Amadasun – APC
Prof. Amadasun is a Professor of Medicine, very renowned. His political ambition started in 1991, when he aspired to be governor under the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). But he lost to the eventual governor of that era, Chief John Odige-Oyegun.
He is a leader of All Progressives Congress from Orhionmwon LGA of the state and chairman, Edo State Hospitals Management Board.
The man of integrity is a Knight of St. John International (KSJI) of the Catholic Church and he parades ‘experience’, which he has promised to bring to bear on the administration of Edo State when he becomes Governor. But the stakes look very high for him.
Mr. Osaro Onaiwu – PDP
Mr Onaiwu is the Director General of PDP Governors Forum and one of the governorship aspirants seeking to fly the PDP ticket. He touted closeness to governors should be to his favour in the primaries, but that depends on the seriousness of his aspiration. Many see him as just pretending to be in the race, because you need more than a wish to aspire. You need a structure and of course, money to run the race. This aspirant is said to have none of that. Except the PDP governors come to his aid. Many think he is in the race for showmanship.
Iyobosa Solomon Edebiri – PDP
Iyobosa Solomon Edebiri (ISE) is a trade Unionist and one of the frontrunners on the PDP platform, the one who is likely to give Pastor Ize-Iyamu a hot chase in the primaries. But the cool headed politician seems not to have the big financial chest to confront the likes of Ize-Iyamu. He may also not have a good structure in the PDP. He is making his second appearance in the state governorship horizon, having contested in 2011 on the platform of ANPP after which he defected to the PDP. He is brilliant and that stands him out.
Major General Charles Airhiavbere RTD – APC
The retired Army General was a major contender in the 2012 governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He was also the national coordinator of the Goodluck2Goodluck Organisation prior to the 2015 general election. But shortly after the result of the presidential election was announced, he jumped ship into the APC, apparently in pursuit of his governorship ambition. He is banking to consolidate on the political structure he built in 2012 governorship election. That is left to be seen, as Oshiomhole may not have forgotten the nightmare PDP gave him in 2012.
Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen- PDP
Matthew Iduriyekemwen, a one-time majority leader in the Edo State House of Assembly and a former Edo representative in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), is also in the race.
He enjoys large support of youths in the state, and he got the nod of former Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolemenmen.
As a political godson of the Grand Master of Nigerian politics, Chief Tony Anenih, he is believed to possess some political stratagem that could befuddle other contestants for the PDP ticket.
Blessing Agbomhere -APC
Blessing Agbomhere is a media consultant and Executive Director, Gate keepers Foundation and hails from Edo North, the same senatorial district of Oshiomhole and has taken his ambition to all nook and crannies of the state with the popular slogan, “ Edo Bamm.”
The young and vibrant politician seems to forget that a zoning arrangement is in place and does not seem to favour him.
That has not worried a bit; maybe what he wants now is visibility. And that could help him negotiate a place in the next government.
Don Pedro Obaseki – APC
Obaseki, a man of the arts and culture, movie producer and well-rated filmmaker has decided to abandon the media world for a moment, to take a tour of politics. He wants to be governor and his passion marks him out.
But he may not be the one kingmakers have chosen, that has not stopped him. He thinks this is the time to try something different and noble. He is non-aligned and that is the freedom he needs to do a good job. He said he does not want to mortgage the fortune of Edo people by surrendering his campaign to businessmen. Instead, he is connecting with ordinary citizens with his elevated campaigns. Whether that is the language delegates want to hear is a different matter. The primaries will tell.
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