- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
Edo ACN, looming implosion and 2012 gov election
Uchechukwu Olisah looks at the implications of the conflict within the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) in the context of the party’s resolve to win the 2012 gubernatorial election in the state.
UNARGUABLY, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is presently riding the storm in the political waters of Edo State. This is not surprising, given that the party secured a massive win in the April 2011 National Assembly and state House of Assembly elections in the state. Out of the three senatorial seats in the state, the ACN won two, while out of the nine House of Representatives seats, the party emerged victorious in six, just as it won in 19 out of the 24 constituency seats in the state House of Assembly.
The success has obviously positioned the ACN as the party to beat in the 2012 gubernatorial election in the state. The ACN’s journey to this undeniably enviable spot in Edo State did not come easy. Only about four years ago, the ACN was just like any other party, notwithstanding that it presented itself as the main opposition party in the state. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was then not just the party in power, but also one with a widespread structure and dominant influence.
But all of that changed with the coming of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the party’s gubernatorial candidate for the April 2007 election. The rest, they say, is now history as Oshiomhole, through a decision of the Court of Appeal, reclaimed a mandate supposedly given to him and the ACN in the April 2007 polls, a legal outcome which led to his inauguration as the governor of Edo State in November 2008. And since then, the ACN’s profile seems to be on the ascendancy, as exemplified in the electoral victories it has so far secured, and in some of the development projects the Oshiomhole administration so far has to its credit.
But the main test, political analysts say, lies in winning through the ballot box, and not court judgment, the most important prize in the politics of the state, the governorship. One thing that has come to be evident in the course of the Oshiomhole-led ACN administration in Edo State is that many a resident thinks that the ACN is personified in the man Oshiomhole. And so, it is assumed that his success translates into the success of the party. Incidentally, therein lies the core of the challenge that may haunt the ACN. Oshiomhole, as expected, would be relying on his pedigree in persuasion and mobilisation, as well as on the achievements of his administration in the first tenure of four years that is still running.
Governor Oshiomhole himself recently named some of what he called the visible achievements of his ACN administration yet to include the state biometric project, e-payment project, geographic information system, all within Information and Communication Technology; roads and drainages, re-building, expansion and rehabilitation of major roads, all in the area of infrastructure; improving the quality of education, attacking education malpractice, employment of more teachers, all in the education sector; employment of over 1,600 graduates and lifting of the 15-year old embargo on employment in the civil service, as well as rehabilitation/construction of health centres, health care infrastructure development and improvement in the quality of health care.
As an incumbent governor with enormous political will, influence, exposure, reach and financial resources, Oshiomhole stands as a colossus bestriding the Edo political firmament at the moment. To dislodge him from his present imperial control will require an even greater political arsenal and financial wherewithal.
However, to the uninitiated, according to a school of thought, all things seem normal and beneath this façade of all-is-well within the ACNis a brewing implosion flowing from growing restiveness within both the top echelon of the party and the rank and file. This restiveness is said to be as a result of perceived undemocratic tendencies within the party in the sense that orders are handed down from one direction without opportunity for real debate. Those who share this view think that many a politician still with the party and some of those who are joining the party are doing so just to be under a political canopy with bread and knife because of the uncertainty of the political terrain.
Again, these politicians are said to be political jobbers without any ideological inclination and are just satisfied with being associated with what is known in local parlance as Any Government in Power (AGIP), waiting to pick up the crumbs from the master’s table.
Besides, there is said to be a sense of castration among members of the state executive council of the party. The state party leadership, it was gathered, is just a toothless bulldog, only used on occasions of necessity to justify actions or inactions, as well as to give legal cover to certain actions or inactions. The party and the government, according to these analysts, have fused rather awkwardly, with the party leadership losing its identity and functions to the government.
This is said to be a potential source of friction which, if not handled properly, may jeopardise the electoral fortunes of the party in 2012.
There is also the issue of zoning. As an incumbent governor who is serving the first tenure of four years with a constitutionally approved second tenure of another four year, Oshiomhole, who is from the Edo North Senatorial District, has the constitutional right to seek a second term in office. Oshiomhole’s deputy, Pius Odubu, is of the Bini ethnic stock of Edo South Senatorial District, while the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Uyi Igbe of the ACN, also a Bini man, is from Edo South as well. The deputy speaker of the House is of Esan extraction in the Edo Central Senatorial District.
Even with his acclaimed performance in some quarters, some political analysts hold the view that if a Bini man from Edo South joins the gubernatorial race on the platform of the ACN, the political equation within the party will change and Governor Oshiomhole, who looks so comfortable now, may be put on the edge because of the strength of the voting population of Edo South, which by far outstrips that of Edo North or Edo Central senatorial districts. The ACN did not perform well in the last April elections in Edo Central, and so analysts are agreed that the party may not consider choosing its gubernatorial candidate from the zone.
Where the major friction in the party may come from, if it is not already happening, is in the relationship among the Govenor Oshiomhole; his deputy, Odubu, and former Secretary to the Edo state Government (SSG) during the PDP administration of Chief Lucky Igbinedion and now National Vice Chairman of the ACN, South-South zone, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. A good number of Binis in the ACN are reported to be clamouring that the Edo South Senatorial zone should produce the next gubernatorial candidate of the party with a view to having a Bini man as the governor in 2012.
One of the persons being looked up to in this regard is Pastor Ize-Iyamu, just as there are those who think that Deputy Governor Odubu is interested in the same position, a situation which is said to have pitted the Ize-Iyamu camp and the Odubu camp against each other in Edo South. This battle for a sphere of influence and eventual control of Edo South ahead of and for the 2011 gubernatorial election is believed to have led to a frosty relationship between the Ize-Iyamu and Odubu camps and, by extension, a crack within the party in the south of the state.
Nevertheless, there is a consensus among keen watchers of Edo politics that no matter what his political friends and foes think about him, one thing they cannot deny about Ize-Iyamu, like Oshiomhole, is his capacity for mobilisation. They say he did that with the formation of the Grace Group, a pressure group within the PDP which later metamorphosed into the ACD and later the AC, an action which ultimately combined with other factors to shake the foundation of the then vast PDP Empire.
Ize-Iyamu is seen as a grass roots politician who operates in a somewhat stealthy, but result-oriented manner. The defections of some local government chairmen and councilors and some other members of the PDP to the ACN is attributed partly to the efforts of Ize-Iyamu, who has been working behind the scenes to see that the ACN and the Oshiomhole administration become both the party and the administration to beat.
Ize-Iyamu’s combination with Oshiomhole for political ends is seen as one of the most potent machineries that can crush any opposition. But if the Bini in the ACN insist on a Bini man becoming governor in 2012 and Ize-Iyamu still wants to realise his ambition using the same platform, the ensuing confrontation may hold disastrous consequences for the party.Share