Writing by Shaba Mafu

Politicking in Nigeria is not a profession. It is for those with wits; those who can compromise with ultimate personal interest in view, even sometimes to the detriment and betrayal of their political party on which they rode to their positions. Examples of such politicians are former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and a host of all grand party-hoppers. Those who are regarded as godfathers are in other words referred to as the King-Makers in the official language of politics.

The 2019 general elections with the preceding campaigns and (exaggerated) promises of politicians are now over. The battle for ascendancy to different political positions has been fought, won and lost. It is time for action. It is time for the electorates to begin to enjoy the dividends of democracy. In Nigeria, the opposite is usually the case. It is now rather time the electorates are treated to isolation, deliberate marginalization, pauperization, social segregation and worst of all shameful embarrassments.


The last ‘dividend’ is our point of consideration in this discourse, as it relates to the political game currently playing out in the Edo State House of Assembly. Governor Godwin Obaseki is a core civil servant and not a politician by calling, at least not the Nigerian type. He may have crafted his own style of politicking or followed those who are more experienced politicians and with childlike observation vis-a-vis the way the game is played. It is not out of place for him to sample the game theory of late politician Tony  Anenih, the celebrated and very subtle politician of Edo State.

Governor Godwin Obaseki is testing the waters formally in the role he is masterminding in the inauguration of the current Edo State House of Assembly. How far he can go with his scheming will be determined on which side he falls by the time the Chairman of his party, the All Progressives Congress Party, the radical and vibrant Adams Oshiomole would bare his fangs on the activities of the innocent-looking, but jacobic Obaseki.On Monday., 17th of June, 2019, the Edo state House of Assembly was inaugurated. This was preceded by the letter of proclamation sent to the Clerk of the House , Alhaji Audu Omogbai, by the Edo State Governor as required by the law.   The Clerk consequently ushered in members-elect into the chambers for the official legislative business to commence.

The Speaker of the House of Assembly was quickly elected with only 9 members out of the 24 members present during the inauguration and the election into principal offices. Frank Okiye of Esan North-East constituency, was elected the new Speaker while Yekini Idiaye of Akoko-Edo Constituency 1 was elected the Deputy Speaker.It was reliably gathered that the 9 legislators who attended the ceremony were those loyal to the Governor. The process of the inauguration and election was as clandestine as it was funny. The new speaker was said to be only on his shorts in the hallowed Chambers for the events, showing he was not prepared for the rapture-like elections.

He is a “short-kneeler Speaker” of the Edo State House of Assembly. The questions begging for answers are: why is this kind of garrison approach to electing key officers into hallowed chambers of the legislature in a democratic society? What happened to the other 15 lawmakers sidelined? What is Governor Obaseki set to achieve by dividing a legislature that is exclusively an APC House? Why the haste typical of political brigandage of the highest order in conducting the nocturnal election in a coven? Governor Obaseki has something very strange up his sleeves, no doubt.

This game is a similar version of what played out in the 2015 election of Nigeria Governors Forum where the former President Goodluck Jonathan was very comfortable with the victory of Jonah Jang , the then Governor of Plateau State who scored 16 votes against Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers  State who polled 19 votes in same election. Amazingly, both the Governors were from the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

When 16 was favourably greater than 19 in PDP’s  arithmetic, and very suitable to President Jonathan because of his personal interest on the matter as represented by Jonah Jang, little did they know that the consequence of their action was their loss of the presidency to the then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress.

Five of the Governors defected from the ruling PDP to the APC prior to the 2015 general elections. This was the huge rock that broke PDP’s back in 2015 elections. They lost the elections in the case of Edo State, Governor Obaseki has been openly fraternizing with PDP Hheavyweights in Edo State, amongst whom is the celebrated Igbinedion. The moves Governor Obaseki is making so far is clear enough that he is preparing his way for defection to the PDP because his relevance in APC is dwindling fast like the impatient harmattan fire. His days in APC are numbered as Adams Oshiomole, the APC Chairman might burst his testes any moment from now with an unequalled vendetta and a turbulent blow.

If Governor Godwin Obaseki is not checked right now, his romance with the opposition party sets his relationship with the APC like the friendship between the he-goat and the cocoyam. While the he-goat was pretending to be friends with the cocoyam, it was at the same time scheming how the cocoyam will graciously end in his stomach one day. Obaseki will swallow APC and convert all stalwarts of the party to the PDP to win his second term easily. If the APC is not fast enough, it would become a weak opposition very soon, struggling for survival from no other place but from the belly of the very clever Godwin Obaseki.



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