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The Politics Of Vacation Letter In Edo

Read all about how Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State’s letter to his deputy, Philip Shuaibu, has been weaponised by the governor’s supporters in the ongoing subtle supremacy battle with his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole

Interview Confidential: brings you stories behind the news
Interview Confidential: brings you stories behind the news

This seems the age of subversive or mischievous correspondence.

Not too long ago, it was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who caused a stir in the polity with a two-part open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari where he argued spiritedly against the latter seeking a second term.

Well, given Buhari’s resounding victory in the recently concluded 2019 presidential polls, OBJ’s intervention could be classified now as an exercise in futility.

In Edo, what initially appeared an innocuous letter written by Governor Godwin Obaseki (aka GO) to the state assembly intimating it of his annual vacation and empowering his deputy, Philip Shuaibu, to be acting governor has triggered off lots of side talk in the acclaimed “Heartbeat of the nation”.

At least, this is the deduction we could make of a text which has been trending wildly in the social media lately.

Things apparently boiled over in the just concluded general elections when APC was worsted in Edo by PDP in the first round even though it is supposed to be the home-base of Oshiomhole (aka Oshio Baba) the national chairman of APC

It appears mischief-makers are bent on bringing to the fore the reported worsening Cold War between GO and his predecessor and assumed political godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

Things apparently boiled over in the just concluded general elections when APC was worsted in Edo by PDP in the first round even though it is supposed to be the home-base of Oshiomhole (aka Oshio Baba) the national chairman of APC.

The ruling party only did well in Edo north senatorial district where Oshiomhole hails from, winning the senatorial seat as well as the House of Representatives seats. Not so in Edo South where GO comes from.

The aggregated poor results of APC in the first round led to a sort of finger-pointing at GO by Oshiomole’s supporters as the weak link in the chain.

Apparently stung by that innuendo, GO was said to have gone all out in the second round (state elections) to post an emphatic victory.

Not only did APC win all the assembly seats in the South, same feat was enacted in Edo Central (traditionally regarded as PDP’s stronghold) but also in Edo north.

For the first time in Edo political history, APC won all the 24 assembly seats. For him, it was definitely a case of life-or-death anyway.

Even though the motive may be mischievous, no one disputes the facts. GO’s letter which was widely reported came as a surprise to many observers since no such was ever reported during the eight years Oshiomhole was in the saddle. His self-effacing deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu, is said to have suffered in silence while Oshio Baba dashed in and out of town as he pleased

If the Assembly had fallen into the hands of PDP, the governor would have had it rough for the remainder of his tenure.

Predictably, GO’s supporters now have something to crow about. All kind of amorphous groups have since been issuing statements declaring, “No vacancy in Edo Govt House” in 2020 when GO’s current mandate ends.

Of course, such declaration was intended to reply those already mooting the idea of the “Ambode treatment” for GO. In a direct riposte, the group said, “Edo is not Lagos. Lagos has Tinubu, the Jagaban. Edo does not have a Tinubu, the selfless leader.”

Before now, they had invented all manner of aliases for GO to emphasise the difference between him and his predecessor.

For instance, one would hear, “Wake-and-see Governor”, which suggests that GO would rather move mountains quietly and allow his works speak for him unlike the latter said to be fond of “overblowing little achievements with excessive media propaganda”.

Now, read the trending text: “Surprise, surprise! GO goes on vacation, he transmits letter to house empowering deputy to be acting. Gov. Oshio Baba was hardly in Benin during 8-yr imperial reign, junketing the universe, sometimes away for 16 days on end, but never made Odubu acting Gov for even one day!! Hmmm”.

Even though the motive may be mischievous, no one disputes the facts. GO’s letter which was widely reported came as a surprise to many observers since no such was ever reported during the eight years Oshiomhole was in the saddle.

His self-effacing deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu, is said to have suffered in silence while Oshio Baba dashed in and out of town as he pleased.

Certainly, these are testy times as the godson and his estranged political godson size each other up.

A cross section of graduating students of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, in 2015 / Photo credit: campustori.com

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