Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s political invincibility in Edo State is unraveling as Governor Godwin Obaseki and former steadfast allies take position against the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in the unfolding crisis in the state chapter of the party.
The crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly has become the centre stage for the testing of might between the two camps.
Obaseki’s choice of Speaker of the House of Assembly, Frank Okiye emerged against the desire of the majority of the members-elect for Victor Edoror. The majority of the members also have the backing of Oshiomhole. However, the governor enforced his will when nine of the 24 members-elect were surreptitiously called in a secret session to enthrone Okiye as Speaker on Monday night.
Among those who are now publicly backing the governor are his deputy, Philip Shuaibu, the secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie and lately the chairman of the state chapter of the party, Anslem Ojezua.
The alignment of the pair of Ogie and Shuaibu with Obaseki is said to be particularly significant. The two men are generally described as political twins who after Pastor Osaze Ize-Iyamu left Oshiomhole became the enforcers who helped to enthrone Oshiomhole’s political ascendancy over Edo State.
Obaseki, GWG learnt had over a period of time courted Shuaibu by treating him above how preceding deputy governors were treated.
A source revealed that the discord between the pair of Shuaibu and Ogie with Oshiomhole reached an irreparable stage after both men were reportedly walked out of a birthday party held for the wife of the national chairman, Iara Oshiomhole a few weeks ago.
Ojezua’s departure from the Oshiomhole camp has in the last two days been publicly circulated in press statements. In the latest statement on Wednesday Ojezua asked Oshiomhole to rein in the Group of 15 Members-Elect saying that the national chairman was not ignorant of their activities against the governor.
The group of members-elect aligned to Oshiomhole which was 19 fell to 15 after four of them were conscripted to join the midnight inauguration of the House of Assembly last Monday.
But Oshiomhole, however, remains formidable. Not just as national chairman of the party, but with formidable supporters on ground. Besides the Group of 15 legislators he also has the powerful secretary of the party, Lawrence Okah on his side. Okah has repeatedly affirmed his loyalty to Oshiomhole and rebuffed alleged entreaties from Obaseki to resign his position.
Other grounded politicians including former minority whip of the House of Representatives, Samson Osagie and former commissioner, Henry Idahagbon all from Edo South remain firmly with the national chairman.
Oshiomhole also remains strong in Edo North Senatorial district despite increasing pinches at his power base especially in the non-Etsako area.
After the exit of Ojezua from the Oshiomhole camp, Francis Inegbeniki remains the most prominent Oshiomhole supporter in Edo Central.
Significantly, some political actors who had in the past quarreled with Obaseki are coming round to support him in his faceoff with Oshiomhole. One of them, Dr. Pedro Obaseki, a first cousin of the governor who openly quarreled with him over the APC ticket in 2016 has rallied to him saying that even if there may be a question of morality in the inauguration of the nine but that it was completely legal.