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Sunday, 20 September 2020 17:17

Sacked as APC chairman, ‘dethroned’ in Edo — what next for Oshiomhole?

In just three months, the political career of Adams Oshiomhole has suffered a huge setback. Some political experts believe his career might have been reduced to rubble by no other person than the former Edo state governor himself.

 

Not so long after the court of appeal affirmed his sack as the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he has been dislodged in Edo where he governed from 2008 to 2016.

The tussle with Godwin Obaseki whom he helped into power is one of his greatest undoing as he has not just lost political relevance in his stronghold but suffered a heavy blow. After he fell out with Obaseki, the APC executive committee in his ward in Etsako west local government suspended him. The APC chairmen in the 18 local government areas of the state also passed a vote of no confidence on him, accusing him of working against the party interest.

Although Oshiomhole appeared to have dismissed the suspension as a child’s play, it would later cost him his position as the national chairman of the party as a high court in Abuja suspended him on that basis.

 

Danlami Senchi, a judge, had ruled in March that it was wrong of the APC to have kept Oshiomhole as chairman after he was suspended by his state chapter of the party. The final attempt to get him back into the party’s hierarchy failed in June after the appellate court ruled there was no justifiable basis for an appeal against the court ruling suspending him.

In the heat of the crisis, the national working committee of the APC was dissolved and his loyalists lost control of the party.

While it appeared as if Obaseki was losing grounds ahead of the governorship election, considering how popular the APC had been in the state, Oshiomhole relocated to Benin where he became the face of the APC governorship campaign, with Osagie Ize-Iyamu as a spectator in his own game.

 

His authority as a two-term governor and a former national chairman was not in doubt.  Some people had, in fact, likened him to the “almighty” Bola Tinubu who has remained powerful in Lagos despite leaving office as governor in 2007.

To all the ears that cared to listen, Oshiomhole boasted of how the APC will defeat Obaseki in the election and even apologised for “selling him” to Edo people as the best fit for governor in 2016.

But Obaseki who wanted to beat the master in his own game appealed to the people as the “Edo No be Lagos” mantra resonated among the electorate.

In the closing days of his campaign, Obaseki boasted to his supporters in Oredo local government which eventually gave him 43,498 votes, the highest in the election, that having dealt with Oshiomhole at the national level of APC, the next target was to bury him politically.

 

“This election is a contest with Oshiomhole. We have dealt with him at the national level, we will bury him politically in this election,” he had said.

Well, the elections are now over and it has become clear that the voters trounced godfatherism. So, what’s next for Oshiomhole? Reconcile with Obaseki to regain relevance in the state’s political stage, like the average Nigerian politician, or return to the labour union as the comrade he used to be?

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