THE political landscape of Edo State has become a hotbed of raw politics as we move towards the July 14, 2012 governorship elections in the state. Unrefined politicking, characterised by vicious propaganda, mudslinging, falsehood, make-believe, gimmickry and brutal assassinations, has become the order of the day.
In the mindset of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the battle is not between him and the candidates of the other parties but a foe called Chief Tony Anenih. He believes Anenih is the mountain that must be removed. Many have wondered if Anenih is a candidate in the forthcoming election. Some have even been compelled to ask if the Esan Chief was the immediate past governor of Edo State.
In short, the shadow of Anenih haunts Oshiomhole right from his office to his bedroom. On all the roads renovated or in the schools re-roofed by the ACN government, there is a billboard erected with the message: “Tax payers money at work, no more for godfathers”. This seems an apostolic declaration; but the company belonging to the Governor’s godfather in Lagos had renovated roads in Benin City at huge cost .
It is curious that the ACN government has been unable to show any evidence that Anenih benefited from a single contract in Edo State during the eight years Lucky Igbinedion was governor. Had it been otherwise, the Comrade- Governor would have blown it open. Similarly, there is no proof that any of Anenih’s children has benefited from an appointment in any of the three levels of government.
The truth is that Oshiomhole has leverage in terms of support as a result of the woeful performance of the previous PDP government in the state headed by Igbinedion. The Comrade is also having the advantage of having emerged from the labour movement. The misdemeanor of labor activists, especially the vociferous type who had won bargains for workers, is often sheltered from public knowledge. Their wrongdoings are often discountenanced by the unintelligent who have made them cult heroes and who, at all times, see them as freedom fighters.
The most prized possession of Anenih is the power of silence. He has not uttered a single word to the vituperations of Oshiomhole. It is this that is putting the Comrade-Governor on edge. This is very daunting, especially when one is dealing with a master strategist like Anenih. Unfortunately, Oshiomhole’s extravagant zeal to rout the PDP has been his undoing. He has taken some actions and made unfounded allegations which many believe are unbecoming.
Imagine the governor of a state running round the streets to protest an alleged sighting of INEC officers with voter registration materials in a state where he is the Chief Executive. He led the protest with Okada and tricycle riders, street urchins and party lubbers behind him. Had the PDP reported same to him (since he is the governor of everybody in the state), would he run round the streets with them? In the ensuing chaos, two ACN members fought and one died. Couldn’t he have remained in his office to deal