By Political Editor
After his tour of duty in Abuja, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was on Saturday evening asked by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to return to Edo State and energise the campaign of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the All Progressives Congress, APC governorship candidate in the state.
In his philosophical statement accepting the dissolution of the National Working Committee, NWC that was largely configured in his image, Tinubu on Saturday said:
“In Edo, we must rally round our candidate Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu. In this, Comrade Oshiomhole has a crucial role to play. I congratulate him for his equanimity and loyalty to the party and our President in accepting the dissolution of the NWC. I encourage him, now, to return to Edo State to energise the campaign for the election of Pastor Ize-Iyamu.”
There is certainly no doubt that after damaging Ize-Iyamu in 2016 and blocking what was his clear path to victory that Oshiomhole has come around to back the Benin based pastor for the 2020 governorship contest in Edo State.
However, unlike 2016 when he was the incumbent governor and with the power of the state behind him, Oshiomhole will be deficient of those crucial advantages in 2020.
What he has is his moral authority and legacy as governor. He also has the strong support of the Edo Peoples Movement and his faction of the APC in Edo State to bolster him.
However, since his exit from office and the issues with Governor Godwin Obaseki arose, the energetic former unionist has become a divisive factor in the state.
Some love him passionately and others hate him passionately. It is in that context that the Oshiomhole factor is likely to play out in the forthcoming contest.
The Oshiomhole factor is especially crucial in Edo South, the senatorial district with the majority of votes that is dominated by the Bini.
Comrade Oshiomhole’s opposition to Governor Obaseki irrespective of the governor’s performance has touched a raw nerve among some in the Bini political class.
At the beginning of the year, 2020, Senator Ehigie Uzamere, called political reawakening among the Bini in his New Year message. He called on the tribe to shake off the lordship of political masters from other tribes.
“Over the years, people from outside our ethnic group have decided who among us gets what. This is despite the fact that we are in the majority. We are more populous and have one of the strongest and enduring monarchies to the envy of other ethnic nationalities, yet we seem laid back.”
What started as an inward resentment has now turned into open resentment among some Bini with many loathing the role of non-Bini in determining the political trajectory of the Bini and Edo State.
Many have directed the loathing towards Oshiomhole, if not, especially for his role in demystifying some of the tribe’s leading lights especially the Igbinendions and others.
The reawakening nonetheless, it is significant that many ambitious politicians from Bini South still gravitated towards Oshiomhole ahead of the APC primary. That underlines that irrespective of the reawakening, that Oshiomhole remains a powerful influence in Bini politics.
Ordinarily Obaseki on a plain ground would be no match for Ize-Iyamu with his famed political network across the state.
However, with the power of incumbency on the governor’s side the game may have been reset. How Oshiomhole will influence the outcome is one that many observers will be monitoring.