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Asue Ighodalo and Olu Akpata: Be like Edo wan be like Lagos

Aside from the ongoing drama between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his beleaguered deputy Philip Shuaibu, there seems to be an exciting drama slowly unfolding in Edo state.

I reached out to my brother Olu Akpata, the former NBA president who had just declared for the Labour Party, and said to him: “Bro, he be like say u don enter this matter o” and he said; “he be like so oo“.

Earlier on, I had also called my other brother Asue Ighodalo with the same question: “he be like say you want enter this matter o” and he replied: “My brother, I no know wetin you dey talk about“.

So we have an overtly eager Olu, a coy Asue and an Edo state that seems to be embroiled in the drama of an inexperienced principal trying to play godfather in the coming elections. I had naively believed Asue but feelers I am getting and a picture of him and Obaseki holding hands and being introduced to some critical stakeholders seem to confirm my earlier nudge.

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Asue has always been a member of what I want to call the technocratic think tank of the state. Right from identifying Oshiomole, to providing brain power for his two terms and also working from the back during Obaseki’s tenure, he has remained committed and passionate to the welfare of his beloved state and his people.

Olu, on the other hand, has contributed in no mean feat to his state as a lawyer, a loyal citizen and a very passionate and committed Nigerian whose work in jurisprudence and legal activism gives him a front-row seat in this country.

So either way Edo would be better for it abi? Well, I wish the answer could be that straight forward.

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Obaseki came with the same brilliant credentials. A brilliant investment banker who had built his Afrinvest to the envy of the markets. He was drafted into the political space through his work with Edo professionals who worked very assiduously for the emergence of Oshiomole. He was given a strategic positioning and from there emerged the governor of Edo state.

His administration has however lacked the much expected fire. It has been colourless and odourless. It is what I just want to call a ‘passing through administration’ — I just come dey look una administration.

A drive around the capital city and you will be hit by the stench of his laziness. Going to the hinterland, you will weep. The other day, a clergy man in white cassock jumped into the muddy waters of what was supposed to be a road to lament the sorry state of the road and this, I can risk saying, seems to be the order of the day across the state when it comes to roads and other infrastructure.

The much-expected Eldorado expected from a brilliant globally acclaimed investment banker didn’t materialise and some have said that the near-illiterate Oshiomhole did better. So it is under this shadow that we begin to look at the perceived candidacy of my two brothers, Asue and Olu.

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Although nothing official has been made on their candidacy, my love for gist will not stop me from postulating.

Asue, if officially backed by Obaseki, stands a very strong chance especially if you take into consideration the results of the elections held in Benin last month. I heard PDP cleared almost everything despite Obi landing in various markets and galvanising people. Asue can ride on this because what this means is that PDP has effective structures on the ground.

Another thing that might work for Asue will be the power of incumbency that would be made available to him and as you know in Nigeria, politics cannot be discounted for anything. However, his albatross may be Philip Shuaibu. Any student of Edo politics in the last 16 years who underestimates Philip is just fooling himself.

Although I agree with Obaseki for not wanting to feed that one’s sense of entitlement, his ongoing childish feud with him may tilt ‘pity’ towards him. The truth is that Asue, Obaseki and the rest do not have the necessary ground forces and wile to match Philip on the ground, so my advise to Obaseki is to remain very strategic in dealing with Philip and should let go of all these childish locking gates, keeping malice and sacking media team wahala. He should leave that to the first and second ladies.

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If you force an alliance between Olu’s LP and Phillip as a result of the ongoing humiliation then PDP will be singing another sad song.

For my brother Olu. He has come out on his left feet already. Wrong party. Very wrong party. All the emotional push of LP that cascaded the last presidential elections is all but decimated. The flooring at the local elections in Edo signposted that.

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So for a relative new comer, that platform is too weak to push a green aspiration. But then again, it could be an alignment of ideology that is taking him there and for that, I give him kudos. Otherwise, that is a waste of time.

I have concentrated on Asue and Olu in this article ignoring a third force which is deliberate. I have done this because I can see what Edo is trying to do, throwing up a new kind of leadership. Leaders with strong brain assets, strong international exposure with the sophistication and mastery of global indices of leadership and I commend that.

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Although Obaseki, who came from that school of thought has not been a perfect poster boy, we still have to continue pushing this paradigm nationwide for that is our only hope.

So in this long story, I am sure the question to be answered is who I will support if eventually Asue and Olu are on the ticket.

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Well, I have eaten Afang at both places and would be hard pressed to take sides. But if I detach and take a dispassionate position, I’ll give Asue the edge for the reasons mentioned above.

Finally, my people, there has been no official confirmation of any contest. All I have done here is small amebo.

Thank you.



Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.
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