#EdoDecides2020: 19 odds that would determine the outcome of the September 19 Governorship Poll

The political atmosphere in the country has been largely charged in the build-up to the all-important September 19 gubernatorial election in Edo. Many onlookers have had to wonder why a governorship election in a state with a population of about 5 million people and less economic importance to the country as Lagos, Rivers, Bayelsa or even Kano would garner such attention. For political watchers however, the heartbeat of the nation, according to its slogan, is as important as any of the above-named states as the battle for the control of ‘Aso Rock’ in 2023 slowly kicks off.

Even more breathtaking is the fact that the two major contenders amongst 14 candidates running in Saturday’s election; Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are familiar foes since the 2016 Governorship Elections, where they slugged it out on the ballot in reverse parties, who at current boast of near-equal political strength in the state.

The battle for a return to the Government House at Dennis Osadebey Avenue for either of the parties will be keenly contested in 3 Senatorial Districts, 9 Federal Constituencies, 18 Local Government Areas and 192 wards of the state, with a total of 2,210,534 residents registered to decide the fate of the candidates.

Compared to foreign climes, elections in Nigeria mean many things to many people. And, while the ideal remains that the party ideologies, policies and programmes largely influence the outcomes of elections, it’s a different ball game in this part of the world, as a myriad of developments can make or mar the chances of even the strongest contenders.

We did a study of these dynamics and present for your knowledge; 19 odds that would influence the outcome of Saturday’s Governorship elections in the South-South state:

1. Esan Agenda

Of the 18 local councils in the state, Edo Central Senatorial District (predominantly occupied by the Esan people) with a total of 364,998 voters spans 5 local government areas, and the idea of zoning appointive and elective offices still remains an important political consideration.

In spite of being home to highly formidable and politically savvy sons including 2 former Ministers, the district is yet to produce neither a Deputy Governor nor a Governor since the return of democracy in 1999, especially following the Appeal Court’s sack of Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor as chief executive of the state, after 18 months in office. On the other hand, Edo South has had 12 years of Governorship and 8 years of Deputy Governorship, while Edo North has had 8 years of Governorship and 12 years of Deputy Governorship.

With a PDP Senator representing the area and 2 Federal legislators, the party remains strong in the area and the sentiments of the majority of its people appear to be in favour of the incumbent Governor, as a win for Obaseki brightens the chances of the zone to produce a governor when he exits the Government House in 2024.

Closely linked with this, is what is believed to be the Governor’s lobby of the President and Council of State for a presidential pardon for two sons of the district, former Governor of the Bendel State Governor; the late Prof. Ambrose Alli, sentenced to 100 years in prison for allegedly misappropriating ₦983,000 funds for a road project 36 years ago and foremost nationalist, late Anthony Enahoro. The Esans more often than not speak with one political voice and it will be a mystery if Obaseki doesn’t win the entire LGAs of Esanland.


2. Muslim Deputy Governor

Running mates to the governorship candidates of the PDP and APC respectively as well as the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, all hail from Edo North with a total of 564,122 voters and as such, the senatorial district will definitely be a battleground for votes, but of equal significance to the power play at this year’s poll is the fact that Ize-Iyamu’s Deputy, Mallam Gani Audu is poised to be the first Muslim Deputy Governor in the state.

The Northern Senatorial District boasts of a huge number of Muslims with some records putting the Muslim population at 35% – 40% of the total state population. From Mike Oghiadomhe to Lucky Imasuen (sacked by the court), Pius Odubu and Phillip Shaibu, no Muslim has occupied such a prestigious position in the state and this may have been part of the sentiments behind Audu’s selection as the running mate to Pastor Ize-Iyamu.

In the build-up to the 2016 election, some Muslim groups in the state pushed for a compulsory Christian/Muslim ticket, comparing Edo to states like Kogi, Ondo, Ekiti, Kaduna, Lagos, Taraba among others which it claimed had a reasonable percentage of both religions. Along this line of thought, former Deputy Governor of the state, Rev. Peter Obadan in an interview with journalists last July, while speaking on what stands Ize-Iyamu out and would sway votes in his favour, had this to say:

He doesn’t discriminate. And we had looked at it again across the state; we have, yes, other religions. You have the Muslim settlements here and there. There is need for this cooperation so that we can have peace. To build that foundation for peaceful co-existence, he decided to pick a Muslim as his deputy. So, he’s a planner; he’s not looking at today, he’s looking at tomorrow. So, he’s building a foundation for co-existence between the Muslims and the Christians.


3. “Alhaji Pastor”

It is true that key events during electioneering campaigns shape perception and could easily sway the mind of voters during elections. However, it would seem like Ize-Iyamu is always unfortunate with such actions. Barely 15 days to the 2016 Governorship elections, during the annual birthday celebration of Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin, he was alleged to have promised to declare a public holiday for the prominent philantrophist and business mogul if elected.

The allegation got many citizens outraged especially as the APC at the time capitalised on it to oil their propaganda machine. In the build up to Saturday’s election, the APC candidate is enmeshed in some form of negative perception again, after the Otaru of Auchi and Vice-Chairman of the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Aliru Momoh Ikelebe III, conferred on him the title, ‘Itsemakhoma’ of Auchi, meaning “This is Our Own.”

In criticism of the development, the PDP “wondered how an ordained pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) would condescend to being coronated with traditional chieftaincy title, which the party pointed out, has traditional responsibilities, including worshipping of cultural deities.” A number of Christians definitely share in this opinion as social media have been awash with the ‘Alhaji Pastor’ nickname given to Pastor Ize-Iyamu since the event took place. This may hurt the chances of the APC candidate especially as former Governor Oshiomhole had repeatedly called him a ‘fake pastor’ in the past.


4. Edo in Diaspora

A huge number of the indigenous population in Benin City, the state capital have at least one relative in the Diaspora (Europe especially). The influence of such relatives is important in Saturday’s poll, as the 2020 Governorship election in the state has seen more than ever, the formation of support groups by citizens of the state in the Diaspora to mobilise support for the two major candidates.

Similarly, the campaigns have seen a number of these Diaspora citizens travel down to exercise their franchise in support of the candidate of their choice. Particularly important is the fact that many of those not participating in the election(and those also voting) have huge influence on their families and friends who are dependent on them in one way or another.

According to the national voters’ register, the South Senatorial District with 7 local government areas (where this odd is likely to play out), has the highest number of registered voters with 1,281,414. Both Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu hail from this District and so, votes will expectedly be shared, but it is important to note that any candidate who is able to secure an edge in the three local government areas of Oredo, Egor and Ikpoba-Okha would have been halfway done with the battle.


5. Pensioners and Teachers    

One of the major political points scored by the Obaseki administration is its Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation Programme (EdoBEST) programme which has transformed teaching in the state to a digital model, as about 8,700 teachers trained and equipped with information and communications technology (ICT), now employ custom-built, cloud-run tablets in the classrooms.seen  for improved learning outcomes.

The programme which is one of the governor’s flagship programmes, has also seen the reconstruction of more than 300 schools while 11,688 school-based management committee (SBMC) members have been trained to help in administering and maintaining public education facilities. The programme has received huge commendation from education stakeholders culminating in his award by the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) as the ‘Best Performing Governor’ in 2019, for his roles in improving basic education and teachers’ welfare in the state.

Pensioners in the state appear to also be ‘friends of the governor,’ as he seems to have prioritised the welfare of retirees by ensuring their entitlements are promptly paid compared to previous administrations. He is reported to have spent over N4.3 billion in settling outstanding pension arrears owed about 3,128 pensioners and N25 billion for payment of monthly pension for 13,081 retirees between November 2016 and May 2020. For a state largely regarded as a ‘civil servant state,’ this will be a huge boost for his chances at being re-elected.


6. The Ize-Iyamu Political Structure

For a former Chief of Staff to the State Government, former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), 2-time Director-General of the State Governorship Campaign Council, State Coordinator of a Presidential Campaign Organisation, former National Vice-Chairman, South-South Zone of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and first runner up at the 2016 Edo Governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu can not by any standard be described as an underdog in the politics of the ‘Heartbeat of the nation.’

More than any other politician in the state, he is reputed to have one of the most formidable political structure with a bi-partisan support base and strong connection with the grassroots. From serving as a ranking member of the PDP-led Executive arm of Government(1999 – 2007) to his spearheading the formation of the dissident ‘Grace Group’ (which transmuted into the Action Congress, as it was then known), in the build up to the 2007 Governorship elections as well as his rejoining the PDP in 2014, Ize-Iyamu has played major roles in the country’s biggest political parties, and if the words of American politician and 47th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill Jr; “all politics is local” is anything to go by, POI stands tall in the battle to clinch the governorship seat.

“I am going to a place that I built. It’s a homecoming.”

Thanks to the COVID-19 inspired campaigns, the APC and its candidate held rallies and political campaigns in the Headquarters of the state’s 18 LGAs and still went on to visit majority of the 192 wards. Part of his campaign message has also been revolved around his acclaimed capacity to solve the issues of the state, having lived, schooled and worked all his life in the state. These are huge pointers to his connection with the grassroots and it will go a long way in swaying votes into his kitty.


7. N700m Campaign Funds Scandal

Appointed as the Coordinator of Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation in Edo State, during the 2015 Presidential elections, the APC candidate has a fraud case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) against him and four others still hanging over his neck since May 24, 2018, when he and other defendants were first arraigned before Justice P. I. Ajoku on an eight-count charge bordering on money laundering.

According to one of the counts, the defendants (Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of the State, Dan Orbih, PDP South South Chairman, current State Chairman of the PDP, Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae) were alleged to have sometime, in March 2015, in Benin City directly taken possession of the sum of Seven Hundred Million without any contract award which sum was allegedly part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud and corruption.

The case has since lingered and it has formed a major point of campaign for the PDP against his candidature and would definitely be on the minds of some voters as they decide who to elect on Saturday. Very close to this is the allegations of cultism and violence during his time at the University of Benin previously leveled against him by the immediate past state governor, Adams Oshiomhole.

Oshomhole had in the course of the 2016 governorship campaigns taken a swipe at the PDP candidate (as he then was), declaring that he declined appointing him into any position during his tenure as governor because “he couldn’t be trusted with state funds.” Ironically, the former labour leader is a major face at his campaigns in 2020, having reunited to defeat a (now) common ‘enemy.’


8. Certificate Saga:

Governor Obaseki may be commonly described as “Technocrat Governor,” as a result of his impressive background in the financial sector, but he is not in any way free from scandal.

It is common knowledge that he had a long drawn battle with his erstwhile political bebefactor, Adams Oshiomhole, but the last straw that broke the camel’s back was the disqualification of the governor from participating in the APC primaries. According to the party’s screening committee for the election, the disqualification was hinged on his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Certificate – which read Obasek, instead of Obaseki as well as multiple inconsistencies in his presented academic certificates, including a Higher School Leaving Certificate the Governor claimed to have obtained from an Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) in the state capital.

Although the NYSC management issued a new certificate of National Service reflecting the surname OBASEKI, after the investigations, the issue appears to be a haunting past for the Governor as the issue reared its head during a debate between the PDP and APC candidates on September 13 when he was challenged by his opponent on the issue. With the PDP challenging Obaseki in 2016 to display his certificates during his campaigns for the world to see that he actually went to school as he claimed, the APC is likely to tow same path of litigation, should the governor even win a second term ticket at the polls.

Obaseki had said in that time through an affidavit, that his documents were missing, lost while moving office in Lagos. It may not hurt much of the governor’s chance however, as there is a large sentiment that having ran without problems on the APC ticket in 2016, and these certifications have not changed since then, making it appear that the insistence on such now, only speaks of political vendetta and desperation to oust him from office.


9. The Lions and Tigers

Ask an average APC member in Edo state to describe the incumbent governor, he is likely to be portrayed as treacherous. Having ‘betrayed’ powerful actors in the state chapter of the party who assisted him to ascend to power, the governor has a huge bank of ‘bad blood’ against him within the APC, all of which culminated in his exit from the party.

Key among these aggrieved party members are members of the Edo Political Movement (EPM) who accused him of depriving them of contracts and board appointments, noting that he relies on Consultancy services in the execution of projects by his administration and brought his ‘cronies’ from Lagos to displace them in their state.

In a viral video early August, Pastor Ize-Iyamu referred to some of his supporters as “lions and tigers,” noting that his administration would benefit the thugs because many rich men would flee from what they are capable of doing on election days. Many have described his use of ‘lions and tigers’ as a pseudonym for thugs and louts mobilised to cause mayhem during elections.

“These are the lions and tigers from different local governments of the state. Your influence goes beyond one polling unit. After doing your unit, you will move to another unit. In fact, you will move to other wards. Some of you are so dangerous you will move to other local governments.”

The PDP had capitalised on this, further pushing the Obaseki narrative that powerful actors in the APC, loyal to Adams Oshiomhole, were disenchanted because he wouldn’t share state resources with them. For residents and citizens in the state who would neither want to see a return of the Tony ‘Kabaka’ Adun-led Akugbe Ventures collection of revenues on behalf of the state government, nor the Community Development Associations (CDA) who the governor enacted a legislation outlawing their activities, it may be difficult to convince them why the governor shouldn’t return.

“I will not allow lions and tigers to collect taxes in Edo state” – Governor Obaseki


10. The Oba of Benin Peace Meeting

Known to wield great cultural and discreet political influence, The Oba of Benin, has in the build up to the election spoken thrice, each of which political watchers believe would have far-reaching consequences in the polity, given his standing as the most prominent and revered traditional leader in the state.

Ahead of the primaries, he issued a strong advice against the vices of Godfatherism and Consensus candidate, which he described as antithetical to the very fundamental basis of democracy. Due to the wranglings in the APC at the time between the Obaseki and Oshiomhole camps, fingers pointed to the party as the intended recipient of the advice, whipping up sentiments against them. Having listened to the Oba and towed the part of primaries, the issue of violence became an issue that threatened the peace in the state.

The worrisome trend of pre-election disturbances and clashes in the state between supporters of the PDP and APC gave the Oba sleepless nights as opposing parties clashed in front of his palace when Obaseki and top PDP officials visited the monarch on the day they kicked off their campaigns. “Many supporters of the PDP were injured and cars parked outside the palace were badly damaged while flags bearing the PDP insignia were torn to shreds.” The monarch would thereafter convene a peace meeting to get the leading candidates to commit to non-violent campaigns henceforth.

“Phillip, they say you are the tough one inside, you must behave. Please. Tell your boys…to cease fire that your baba has told you that they should cease fire. Enough is enough! I don’t want to hear shooting of guns anymore, enough is enough! Don’t go and kill yourselves because of office.”

The above advice to the Deputy Governor implied that he was behind some of the incidences of violence in the state, which is a negative for the Governor’s camp. It is believed however, that the Omo N’Oba’s advice would cause the political actors to eschew violence.


11. Security Agencies and INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the electoral umpire, as well as the security agencies undoubtedly hold the greatest ace in deciding the outcome of the election, as whatever they permit would go a long way in ensuring the process is fair and devoid of violence.

From previous experience in Bayelsa and Kogi in particular where violence reigned supreme, the actions of these critical stakeholders in warding off the antics of politicians who may want to offer ‘stomach infrastucture’ (cash/items for votes) or wreck havoc in the strongholds of their opponents to favour a cancellation of results in that area that would ultimately influence the overall outcome of the poll. The fear of being a casualty from acts of violence, perennial issue of smart card reader inefficiency during accreditation and the strict enforcement of ‘No facemask, No voting’ principle could also lead to the disenfranchisement of potential voters.

Already, the Police says it has deployed a total of 31,000 Police personnel to protect INEC’s personnel and assets, the electorate as well as residents of the State before, during and immediately after the elections. The arrangement would also see to the withdrawal of police orderlies from all VIPs during the election while 3 police officers are expected to man each of  the 2,627 polling booths in the 192 wards during the voting process.

Many are of the opinion that the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee Peace Pact signed by the two major candidates and the Chairmen of the parties along with the Oba of Benin’s truce meeting would help discourage violence during and after the poll.


12. Federal Might

As we’ve seen in recent off-season elections in the country, especially in Ekiti, Osun elections, ‘federal forces’ may not go to sleep after all. For eminent politicians within the APC who would not want the state to fall to the opposition, security agencies could be used to influence events in the election.

The APC on its own, considers ‘the heartbeat of the nation’ important to its perceived dominance of the country’s polity, as Edo, since 2008, until June was the only state it controlled in the South South geo-political zone.

Developments in the last few days, also point to the fact that it is a must-win battle for the ruling party, if the recent allegation by the PDP is anything to take seiously. The PDP believes a viral video in which APC members were allegedly sighted distributing clothes and money to Edo women in exchange for their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) is an indirect vote buying scheme which the opposition masked as Federal Government Empowerment Programme, but is aimed at obtaining PVCs from voters ahead of the election.

Although the APC denies that the programme has any political undertone, for a state where many still live above the poverty line, such programme would definitely influence the outcome of the poll.


13. South South, One Party Agenda

With the PDP firmly in control of  Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers states at present, more efforts have been made by the party to ensure that the gift of being the ruling party in the state following Governor Obaseki’s defection wouldn’t slip from its hand on Saturday.

Victory at the polls poses a huge advantage for the winning party ahead of the next general elections as the PDP currently controls 15 states in the country; a difference of 4 states from the 19 under the belt of the APC. Most significantly, the PDP is poised to achieve a one-party status in the South South geo-political zone which is naturally its stronghold and supporters of the party within and outside its ranks would definitely be voting along this line to shore up their strength in preparedness to wrest power from the ruling APC in 2023.

From the waiver given to Governor Obaseki to enable him run on its platform and reschedule of the date for the gubernatorial primary, withdrawal of the 3 governorship aspirants from the race and court cases against the governor, as well as the massive participation of party leaders and governors elected under its platform during the campaigns, no one needs a prophet to tell the electorate that it is a must-win for the PDP.

Should the PDP win the election, it will be the only party in the country to be in control of not just six states within a geo-political zone, but an entire zone.


14. 2023 Presidency

Following the re-election of President Buhari for a second term in office, alignments and re-alignment appear to have been taking place in order to succeed the president at the expiration of his term in 2023.

In the PDP, the battle for Presidency at current, is between the Atiku and the Wike blocs. Judging from his disposition to national issues, the statement of his son, a commissioner in Adamawa State that his father has plans to contest the 2023 presidential election, as well as the former Vice President’s donation of 150 support groups to Governor Obaseki’s governorship campaign organisation, it is clear that such support would favour him in the party’s primary, if he eventually declares to run.

Similarly, based on the 2019 ‘handwriting on the wall,’ a Governor Wike would most likely be working for the emergence of Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal to emerge as the party’s Presidential candidate and his role in the Obaseki campaign and eventual emergence would be a big boost for his bloc.

On the other hand, “a PDP  victory in Edo would be a big blow to the standing of the Oshiomhole-Tinubu bloc in the APC expected to marshall a rumoured Tinubu Presidential ambition, especially if the recent dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee  – where they had a powerful base – this would make it still harder for the pair to win back their standing.”


15. #EdoNoBeLagos

One of the major mantra of the Godwin Obaseki campaign ‘Edo No Be Lagos;’ aimed at mobilising residents of the state residents to vote for him touches on ending godfatherism in his second term. Apart from pointing to his former benefactor, Oshiomhole as desperate in perpetuating his rule as ‘Emperor of the State,’ Obaseki says external forces including former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu seeks to export the practice of godfatherism to the state.

To worsen matters, the APC National Leader in a recent sponsored broadcast on TVC, urged the people of Edo state to ‘reject’ the governor at the polls because he played no role in fighting for the country’s democracy. The broadcast didn’t go down well with many residents of the state; sparking wide outrage against what they perceived as taking them for a ride.

Poised to avoid the ‘Lagos situation’ where Tinubu having left power 13 years ago, still influenced the emergence of  Babatunde Fashola, Akinwunmi Ambode and Babajide Sanwo-Olu as governors after him, the odds favour the PDP to clinch the governorship.


16. State of the Nation

With the current state of the economy which has brought increased hardship combined with the unpopular policies at the centre, in relation to the increase in value-added tax, stamp duty charges, electricity tariff and the removal of petroleum subsidy, a section of the electorate in Edo may be looking towards avoidance of electing an APC government into power that will tax them into poverty.

Beyond this, the Oshiomhole-administration in Edo state increased taxes in the state and with Pastor Ize-Iyamu being touted to continue the “legacies’ of that government, many may resist the urge to return the APC to power. The views of the APC candidate on taxation was echoed in a televised debate between both parties on Sunday, as he advocated for the widening of the tax net.

“I do not believe, because we are looking for money, we should maintain a very high tax level.”


17. The Channels TV Debate

Ahead of Saturday’s election, the candidates of the PDP and APC squared up in a two-hour debate on national television which focused on education, job creation, debt profile, governance, qualification, and the facts that they built their plans on.

Although, there are insinuations that supporters of both parties pushed their respective narratives to show that their candidate flawed his opponent, opinion polls on the debate including the official poll conducted by Channels Television (organisers), put Governor Obaseki above his APC counterpart after the highly engaging and widely televised debate.

 

The consensus across social media was that the APC candidate failed to sell his SIMPLE AGENDA during the contest but focused on attacking the incumbent. Although Pastor Ize-Iyamu gave the governor some fatal blows especially on what he described as failed agricultural project in Sobe and the claim that he raised money for the first term election of Adams Oshiomhole, many rated the governor high for his ability at convincing the electorate that he understood what he wanted to achieve in the state.

While it is easy to wave off a debate in Nigeria as not contributory to the outcome of any election, especially as candidates perennially turn down participation at same, Sunday’s debate helped many elites and the educated class in the state to make judgement on who to vote; after the noisy rallies and mudslinging that have characterised the campaigns.


18. MOU Government

In comparison with former Governor Oshiomhole whose biggest achievement was the rehabilitation of schools (red roof revolution) and massive construction of roads in the state including Airport Road, Upper Siluko Road amongst others, Governor Obaseki’s governance priorities largely differ.

The Governor’s biggest achievements from EDO BEST, to Edo Jobs, the 50MW Ossiomo Power Plant, Edo Modular Refinery, as well as upcoming projects such as the Benin Industrial Park and Benin Port Project (Gele-Gele River) are products of Public Private Partnership facilitated by the signing of various Memoranda of Understanding (MOU). This has been a major campaign point against his re-election by the opposition, but it is doubtful that it will hurt his chances since residents of the state can see the administration’s vision of creating enabling environment for job creation through partnerships and industrialisation. For a traditional ‘civil servant’ state, many would likely vote to see the mission accomplished in another 4 years.


19. Adams Oshiomhole

Having been sacked as National Chairman of the governing APC in June, the former labour leader more than any other political actor involved in the election has more to lose.

Barely eight years after his exit from Government House, he will be embarking on a daunting challenge to install a second governor. Noteworthy is the fact that he is attempting to replace a ‘prodigal godson’ with a candidate who he greatly villified during the last governorship election, despite helping him to power in 2008 and 2012 as Director General of his Campaign Organisation. This largely explains why his name echoes louder than any other personality or issue in the campaigns of both the PDP and the APC; so loud that the PDP used previous videos and soundbites by Oshiomhole on the character, integrity and personality of both candidates as campaign materials in public parks and squares, TV and Radio advert as well as on social media.

There are huge speculations that more votes will be cast in sympathy for Godwin Obaseki and the PDP who he tries to displace after a fallout, and in protest of what has been described as “taking the people for a ride” based on his choice candidates in the 2016 and 2020 elections. It will however, be fool hardy to believe that he is not loved by many in the state who would be voting for his candidate, especially if his plea for forgiveness and admittance of his previous remarks as ‘political statements’ that anyone would say to neutralise an enemy, is believed by his admirers among the eligible voters.

Should the APC lose Saturday’s election, Oshiomhole’s reputation would have been further hurt, as he would have no real power base to use on negotiating tables in any alliance ahead of the 2023 elections. He would have been rattled and overtaken as political leader in his Edo North base by incumbent Deputy Governor, Phillip Shaibu who still insists he is son to the former Governor, and would also have diminished in status and relevance to be able to curry favours from the President in form of federal appointment slots and possibly contracts.

Oshiomhole is technically on the ballot.

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