Edo: Oshiomhole Tangles with deputy in succession crisis

As the September 10 date for the governorship election in Edo State approaches, GBENRO ADEOYE examines the lingering feud between Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu, which continues to build up tension

If there was any prospect of an early end to the lingering crisis in Edo State, such hopes may have been dashed by now with the recent happenings in the state.

The political dispute between Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu, seems to have snowballed to the state House of Assembly with the impeachment of two principal officers- Speaker, Victor Edoror and his deputy, Mr. Bright Osayande.

Although, the reasons given by the House for their impeachment are high-handedness, dictatorial tendencies and financial recklessness, there are strong indications to suggest it was about the legislative house carrying out self cleansing. However, some fingers still point at the governor for pulling the strings from the confines of his plush office like a puppeteer.

Even a swift denial by the state government of any involvement in the impeachment has also largely failed to convince some political analysts that it had nothing to do with the Oshiomhole-Odubu face-off.

Some people are of the opinion that Edoror and Osayande’s impeachment is to lay the groundwork that would pave the way for the removal of Odubu from office.

There have been accusations that Oshiomhole had attempted to use the state House of Assembly to impeach Odubu in the past and that the move failed.

But whatever the case, the political crisis has shown no sign of abating as neither Oshiomhole nor Odubu has shown any indication of backing down on their stance.

Odubu had only recently officially declared his intention to seek the All Progressives Congress ticket in the state’s governorship election to hold in September, 2016, but it was learnt that the political tension had been heightened in the state well before then.

In fact, the history of Odubu’s cold war with his principal is said to have dated back to sometime in 2015 following meetings Oshiomhole had with close associates said to have been interested in succeeding him.

Odubu; Chairman of the Economic Team of the Edo State Government, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; and the state Commissioner for Works, Mr. Osarodion Ogie; were said to have been present at such meetings, where Oshiomhole had allegedly shown interest in backing Obaseki for the governorship position.

It was said that while others withdrew their intentions, Odubu did not back down on his ambition to vie for his party’s governorship ticket in the state. Political observers have described Odubu’s insistence to pursue his ambition, which contradicted his principal’s political calculations, as the basis for the crisis.

Oshiomhole’s choice of Obaseki was said to have stemmed from his contribution to improving revenue generation in the state, which helped the state government to build infrastructural projects under stiff economic circumstances.

However, Oshiomhole’s government has been scored low in some quarters by people who argue that the government’s Economic Team has made no meaningful economic impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.

The rift between Oshiomhole and his deputy was recently stressed further when Odubu alleged that there was an assassination attempt on his life by suspected thugs.

But the Edo State Government, in a swift reaction, dismissed as false the claim by Odubu’s campaign team that an attempt was made by thugs to assassinate him at Auchi, in the Estako West Local Government Area of the state.

Incidentally, Etsako is the home base of the governor, therefore; fingers were naturally pointed at Oshiomhole for allegedly sponsoring the attack.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Prince Kassim Afegbua, in a statement, had described Odubu’s claim as false. More story will be coming your way.

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