By Aremu Lukman Umor
When a man falls in a pit, he teaches everyone around him a lesson. The erstwhile governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, imprudent tussle with his All Progressive Congress (APC) party leadership, Lagos State chapter, was the main and apparent reason why he was supplanted with governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, after an unfavourable primary election between the duo. Though Ambode had realized his mistakes earlier before the primary, he knelt before the party leadership for forgiveness but then, it was too late as Babajide Sanwo-Olu was already in the heart of the party leadership.
Since the Ambode issue, many governors and politicians who weren’t loyal to the party leadership before are now loyal and dance to its tune. They’re not ready to fall into Ambode’s pit nor his take treatment. Till today, many Lagos residents don’t know why the party leadership forsook Ambode. Though there were rumours all over Lagos as to why Ambode fell out of favour then, some said because he relinquished the former governor’s good legacies. Some said because he didn’t involve his party’s bigwigs in his government. I have a friend who said he was a direct opposite of Babatunde Fashola in project executions. The party leadership is in the best position to justify why Ambode was renounced.
Despite Ambode’s uncalculated tussle with the party leadership that denied him of his second term lessons, the incumbent Edo State Governor, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, his hopeful of making difference as he treads his path. Obaseki and the national party chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole are in full disagreement, and their disagreement had birthed factions in the state. While Adams has his own faction, Obaseki has his too. All within the All Progressive Congress (APC), Edo chapter.
The party leadership had earlier called for the reconciliation of the duo. The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, and other bigwigs within and outside the party had mediated. Still, Obaseki and Adams believe allowing the sleeping dogs to lie can’t resolve the issue. Who is going to bow for who is their problem? Adam isn’t ready to bow for Obaseki being is state governor. And Obaseki isn’t ready to give him his regards as his party’s national chairman. Now, Edo State governorship election is looming and Oshiomhole isn’t interested in Obaseki return. He wants his own candidate to emerge. Don’t forget that Oshiomhole is a big fish in the party leadership pond. Obaseki wants to return, and believe Oshiomhole doesn’t have the power to outshine him.
However, with the All Progressive Congress (APC), National Working Committee (NWC), ably led by Adams Oshiomhole, had decided to adopt a direct primary for the governorship primary election in Edo State, and it was slated to hold June 22. The primary is to pick the governorship candidate for the September 2020 Edo State election. Oshiomhole had made this known through the All Progressive Congress (APC), National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lanre Isa-Onilu on May 22. With Adams decision, Governor Obaseki might receive Akinwunmi Ambode’s treatment. The chances that he won’t suffer the same fate as Ambode is very slim. Unarguably, with the look of things, the direct primary is a time bomb mounted for Obaseki.
Ever since the announcement was made, Oshiomhole camp has been hopeful while there has been tension in Obaseki camp. Mr. Crusoe Osagie, Obaseki’s Spokesperson, said the All Progressive Congress (APC), National Working Committee (NWC), doesn’t have the charisma to impose on a state the method of governorship primary election it would hold. It’s obvious that Obaseki can’t risk the Ambode treatment. However, If the party insists that a direct primary election is the only option available, then, Obaseki should come again tomorrow.
Aremu Lukman Umor is a sociologist and writer