By Gabriel Enogholase
The forthcoming governorship election in Edo State is no doubt a two-horse race between the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and his APC counterpart, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
The following factors are in favour of Ize-Iyamu.
THE BUHARI FACTOR
If governorship election had been held in Edo in 2015, perhaps the PDP may be ranked an outsider in terms of achieving victory. From the moment General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) was declared the winner of the presidential election of March 28, 2015, the PDP became a prey of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Despite winning the presidential election in Edo with about 60 per cent votes, the PDP could not march the APC in the House of Assembly election that followed on April 12. The results of the election across the state showed that the PDP won only four out of the 24 seats in the election.
There was little doubt that the same trend would had followed had Edo governorship election followed soon. How time flies. After about 15 months in the saddle of power, it appears that many in Edo are dissatisfied with the Buhari government. The PDP has taken advantage of the situation and has given more impetus to the noise that Buhari has not fulfilled many of his campaign promises. The party’s new slogan of “change the change” has gained popularity. Meanwhile, there is the constant reminder by Governor Adams Oshiomhole that the parlous state of the country was brought upon it by the past PDP governments..
So much brickbats have been exchanged between the ruling APC and the opposition PDP on issues bordering on taxation. The PDP has often said that the state tax policy was repressive and punitive, while the state government has always insisted that it was only carrying out one of its responsibilities. Ize-Iyamu, at every point of his campaign, while stressing the importance of tax as a source of internally generated revenue especially in the face of dwindling financial resources from the federal account, promises to review the present tax policy of the Oshiomhole administration.
SHARING OF POLITICAL OFFICES
The decision to pick the running mate of the APC candidate from Edo North was controversial. Many had expected the APC to pick the running mate from Edo Central, which hitherto had no representative among the top three political offices in the state, namely governor, deputy governor and Speaker of the House of Assembly. The former Speaker, Victor Edoror, had been replaced by a lawmaker from the South, Elizabeth Ativie, and, weeks before the nomination of the running mate, many people thought Edo Central would get the running mate slot.
But by giving its running mate to Etsako, many in Edo think that the APC may have foreclosed winning any of the six local government areas in Edo Central, which is traditionally a stronghold of the PDP. The alleged marginalization of Edo Central is said to be popular in the area and the refusal of the APC to hand its running mate to the area has not helped to obliterate the sentiment.
Another factor that is working in favour of Ize-Iyamu is the belief in some quarters that the APC government of Oshiomhole has not fulfilled some of its 2007 and 2012 campaign promises which include water supply to communities in Edo and construction of community roads. The rehabilitation of schools although a welcome development, the schools are seen by many as lacking teachers, laboratories, libraries, boarding house and sporting facilities.
OSHIOMHOLE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH WOKERS, LABOUR
Another factor that may work to the advantage of the PDP in the election is the relationship between the APC governor and the organized labour, civil societies, pensioners and local government workers. Many labour and political associates who were said to have rallied round the governor yesterday are no longer with him.
Also working for the PDP candidate is the presentation of his SIMPLE AGENDA, containing his manifesto and what he would do for Edo people if voted into office. He has told the people to hold him responsible if he could not fulfill what he outlined in the document.