by Steve Chris
As a matter of fact, the September 19, 2020, Governorship Election in Edo state is going to be a straight brawl between two candidates the incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki of PDP and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of APC. The two giants, their political parties and their supporters are leaving us in no doubt that the forthcoming election would be another battle of the Titans. In as much as, we can perceive the no difference syndrome of the two dominant political parties, that is PDP and APC in Nigeria, we are still certain that based on the signals in the atmosphere, none of the parties will play cool against each other. Funny enough, the two candidates are political fille de joie. The incumbent governor, until he fell out with his godfather was in APC, while Pastor Ize-iyamu has been an epitome of verb-intersect traversing from APC to PDP and now back to APC.

The whole state is currently enmeshed in political tension with threats to the extent that the electorate umpire (INEC) said it was prepared to stop the election in the state ‘if the actions of political actors threaten the peace or if violence erupts.’ Indeed, there are ‘scary developments’ in Edo state. Politicians in Edo State are surely not playing by the rules of the game. Credibility and character are clearly and manifestly lacking in the politics of Edo State like in most other states of the Federation where note the general political problems of Nigeria in terms of election as bribery, cronyism, systemic corruption, electoral fraud, influence peddling, kleptocracy, nepotism and slush fund. We can equally and importantly add hooliganism, thuggery, and godfatherism as critical problems in our polity. Make no mistake of thinking that all these political brouhahas in the state is for the good of the people or else you are sleeping through a revolution. In Nigeria’s political system there is no permanent enemy, is all about permanent interest.

The Nigerian politics is already being driven by political gangsterism, thuggery, bribery, electoral fraud, influence peddling, kleptomania, divisive and destructive politics, political disequilibrium, money politics and other associated malaise plaguing our country? Can the present political arrangement or structure take us to the promised Land? Can we sustain the number of people in the National Assembly and their aides and those in the Executives and their numerous aides? Despite the war against corruption, why has it become intractable? Why are we adept in cybercrimes? And, why are we rudderless?
However we look at it, is only when we are able to answer the above-raised questions that we can begin to sing praise to God Almighty sooner than later. Nearly everything about us is falling apart the economy, security, creditworthiness, political growth, social equilibrium, external and internal image.
Edo state was formed in 1991 from the northern portion of Bendel (Ben – Benin, Del-Delta) state, the southern portion becoming Delta state. Prior to this, in 1963, the citizens of the territory had voted to separate from what was then the Western region, and the Mid-West region was created. This became Mid-Western state following the federal reorganization in 1967; from a second reorganization in 1976 until its division in 1991, it was named Bendel state.
It was renamed a province in 1966, and in 1967 when the other provinces were split up into several states, it remained territorially intact, becoming a state. During the Nigerian Civil War, the Biafran forces invaded the new Mid-Western state, en route to Lagos, in an attempt to force a quick end to the war. While under Biafran occupation, the state was declared as the “Republic of Benin” as Nigerian forces were to retake the region. The republic collapsed a day after the declaration as Nigerian troops overtook Benin City.

The 2014 estimated population of the Edo state is 5 million people. It is made up of 4 major ethnic groups; namely the Bini, Esan, Owan, and Etsako. However, the State has a high presence of residents from across the country and the world because of its cosmopolitan tendencies. Benin City the capital has a history of being one of the foremost destinations of Europeans during their exploration of the African continent many centuries ago. Some of the flashpoints have remained tourist attractions for the state.

The state was led by Colonel John Ewerekumoh Yeri from Aug 1990 to Jan 1992 before John E. K. odigie Oyegun of the Social Democratic Party became Governor from January 1992 to November 1993. Then four other military personnel (Colonel Mohammed Abul-Salam Onuka, Colonel Bassey Asuquo, Group Captain Baba Adamu Iyam, and Navy Captain Anthony Onyearugbulem) ruled Edo State as administrators before Chief Lucky Igbinedion of the People’s Democratic Party took over as Governor on May 29, 1999. He ruled for eight years, before Professor Oserheimen Osunbor of the same PDP who ruled between May 29, 2007, and November 12, 2008, was removed by the Supreme Court having invalidated his purposed victory. Adams Aliyu Oshiomole of the Action Congress (later APC) then served as Governor of the State from November 11, 2016. He was instrumental to his buddy, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki emergence as Governor on November 12, 2016. Not long thereafter, they fell apart and since then the state has been volatile.