By Emmanuel Aziken –
The divergent views between Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu over last Saturday’s reported attack on the latter has exposed the suspicious relationship that has existed between the first two citizens of Edo State. Odubu had alleged that those against his aspiration were behind the attack that left two of his security aides critically wounded. The governor, however, disagreed and said that Odubu’s supporters were the ones who fired the shots at the entourage of the deputy governor.
So suspicious had the governor been of his deputy that he had recently decided to avoid physical contact with Odubu supposedly because of information he received that the deputy governor had contracted native doctors to harm him.
That allegation about the deputy governor plotting to kill Oshiomhole was reportedly made during a peace parley on Monday, April 11, 2016, arranged by some mutual associates of the two to repair relations. The meeting was spearheaded by Osarodion Ogie, the state commissioner for works who had himself been reported to be in the race for the succession and was deputy to Pastor Osaze Ize-Iyamu in the Grace Group, which threw up Oshiomhole’s initial bid in 2007.
Odubu on his part alleged at that meeting that the governor had lately reduced him to only reducing newspapers, starved his office of funds and victimised his known political associates.
But after Oshiomhole told the trouble shooters of the alleged plan to kill him using diabolical means, it became evident to them that the crisis between governor and deputy had reached the point of no return. So when the deputy governor threw the allegation that those that shot at him last Saturday in Etsako, the home base of the governor were those against his political aspiration, not many were surprised. But how many believed him was another matter.
How matters got to this point is remarkably confounding given the long chemistry between the two men.
Odubu, who had acquired a reputation as a laid-back politician, was according to sources introduced to Oshiomhole by his erstwhile political enforcer, Pastor Ize-Iyamu. The gist is that Ize-Iyamu wanted someone quiet and without ambition to be deputy governor with the intention of shoving the man aside when it came to 2016.
However, as Oshiomhole’s second term approached, Ize-Iyamu it is alleged, realised he had misread Odubu’s political sagacity and quietly moved to remove him from the ticket for Oshiomhole’s second term and thus triggered an internecine war within the APC hierarchy. Oshiomhole quietly came to Odubu’s aid through the group, Edo in Safe Hands led by Ogie and Philip Shuaibu, which countered Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s dominance in the political space.
Remarkably, Ogie had been Ize-Iyamu’s deputy in the Grace Group, but he was now called upon to fight his superior in the battle of wits to sustain Odubu in the Oshiomhole ticket in 2012. The question in some minds is that Odubu may have misread Oshiomhole’s tactical support in 2012 to mean he would back him for 2016.
Oshiomhole according to sources had last year called Odubu, Ogie, Godwin Obaseki and a few other close associates he suspected were desirous of succeeding him to contemplate on a way out. Two of such meetings Vanguard gathered, held in Benin-City and remarkably, to the satisfaction of only Obaseki.
Persecution of Political Associates
Odubu was said to have irrespective of the handwriting from Oshiomhole plunged ahead into the contest while many others quietly pulled back. The response from Oshiomhole was the dismissal of some of Odubu’s henchmen in the cabinet, an issue the deputy governor is raising as part of the persecution of his political associates.
Odubu it is increasingly being seen may have served Oshiomhole well in being a tool to ward off Ize-Iyamu from the APC, but apparently not politically wired enough in the consideration of the governor to be his successor.
The dangers for the party are of course ominous if not well managed. Meanwhile, Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s thoughts at this time may be well interesting.