Nigeria 2023: Can the PDP hold on to Edo State?

in depth

This article is part of the dossier:

Nigeria 2023: The battleground states

By Eniola Akinkuotu

Posted on February 1, 2023 16:54

 © Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki gestures during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Benin City, Edo state, Nigeria June 14, 2018. Picture taken June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki gestures during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Benin City, Edo state, Nigeria June 14, 2018. Picture taken June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

The PDP has been winning Presidential elections in Edo State since 1999. However, the party’s margin of victory has continued to reduce in successive elections.

This is part 7 of a 9-part series 

Although the PDP usually wins Presidential elections in the state, the APC had been winning governorship polls.

However, this all changed in 2019 after a publicised feud between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, who also happened to be the national chairman of the APC.

As governor, Obaseki issued a proclamation that would lead to the inauguration of the House of Assembly. However, the inauguration was done in the dead of the night and this ensured that only lawmakers loyal to Obaseki were inaugurated while those in the camp of Oshiomhole were shut out.

The 18 affected lawmakers have been unable to resume since 2019. Obaseki was also said to have contributed to the removal of Oshiomhole as the chairman of the party. Oshiomhole responded by disqualifying Obaseki at the APC governorship primary.

‘Edo no be Lagos’

Eager to get re-elected, Obaseki defected to the PDP.

Ahead of the highly anticipated poll, Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, recorded a video where he called on the people of Edo State not to re-elect Obaseki but the PDP responded with the slogan “Edo no be Lagos” which means Edo will not be enslaved by a godfather in Lagos.

Obaseki went on to win that election to the chagrin of Oshiomhole and Tinubu. However, Obaseki soon fell out with presidential hopeful and governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who was seeking to become the new godfather in Edo State in order to win the Presidential ticket of the PDP. Obaseki instead supported Atiku.

Although Obaseki is not contesting since his tenure ends next year, Oshiomhole is running for Senate in the state while Tinubu is running for President. Oshiomhole has also found a worthy ally in Wike, who has promised to support him against Obaseki.

The epic battle between the APC and the PDP makes Edo State a showcase of Nigerian politics.

Besides, the Labour Party and its candidate, Peter Obi, have seen their acceptance widen in recent times. How Obi will seek to defeat the two dominant parties makes the poll all the more entertaining.

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