The death of the former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari may change the permutations of the Edo State governorship candidate under the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo State.
A month after the death of Mallam Abba Kyari, the peace pact that he weaved between warring political actors in Edo State even while carrying the novel Coronavirus in his body has died a natural death.
Central to the agreement between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki was that Obaseki be allowed a second term, while the attacks and other provocations against Oshiomhole were to cease.
Part of the agreement according to highly confidential sources was that Oshiomhole should reinstate some of those who were suspended including the deputy National Chairman, Senator Lawali Shuaibu, and the National Vice-Chairman, Northwest, Inuwa Abdulkadir.
Oshiomhole had practically done all that was expected of him. The only omission was the position of Deputy National Chairman, South which allegedly upon the influence of the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu tendency was left in the hands of Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Sources said that it was felt that ceding the position to Ekiti State as demanded by the anti-Tinubu forces would have been inimical for the increasingly piercing 2023 project of the former Lagos State governor.
Obaseki who is believed to have been an arrowhead in the campaign to remove Oshiomhole also ceased from his efforts to undermine the national chairman following the agreement.
However, a month after the death of Kyari, who was believed to be the pillar behind Obaseki, the peace pact has died with the former chief of staff.
It was reflective of that that the Oshiomhole camp commenced its rehearsal of its internal primary elections to determine who to pick for the internal APC primary to confront Obaseki.
In a sharp response, the Obaseki camp on Thursday brought out its joker with the report on the judicial inquiry into the Specialist Hospital, Benin which indicted the Oshiomhole administration.
Sources said that the death of Kyari immediately signaled a change of tune in Edo State as Kyari had been seen as Obaseki’s main backer, Vangaurd reports.
“All those things he was doing could not have been possible without Kyari,” one source said noting that the two may have crossed paths in the Lagos business district where they both practiced at about the same time in the early 2000s.
“You can see that it was about the time that Kyari died that the video of Oshiomhole in the gym exercising came out.
What that message signaled was that Oshiomhole was ready for the battle and that Obaseki should dare him,” an informed source privy to developments, Vanguard reports.
Obaseki is not expected to get the kind of leverage he got from Kyari from the new chief of staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari who is neither a politician nor a financial expert like Kyari.
Obaseki’s fate has also not been helped by the death of two of his strong allies, Alhaji Usman Shagadi who was a pillar behind him in Edo North and Francis Osazuwa, a local political backer of the governor in Benin. Both men died this week.
Determined to get the better of Obaseki, the Oshiomhole camp gathered, has been strategizing on coming up with a consensus on whom all Obaseki’s enemies would pull resources together to fight the governor.
Among the contenders in the Oshiomhole Camp are Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Chris Ogiemwonyi, Dr. Pius Odubu, Major-General Charles Aihavbare among others.
Sources close to the camp said that Ize-Iyamu who ironically just joined the party a few months ago seems to be getting the edge over the other contenders but that the issue had yet to be resolved.
“Ize-Iyamu has an established structure across the state that can match the governor and that is one factor that is putting him ahead.”
Another source privy to the developments disclosed that the consensus aspirant is not expected to emerge until about two weeks.
The source said that Ize-Iyamu is expected to use the two weeks to lobby the fellow aspirants and assuage their ego given that he is a recent joiner to the party.
Meanwhile, the determination of the internal APC opposition arising from Kyari’s death it was gathered, may have forced the governor’s release of the report on the Specialist Hospital, Benin in which Oshiomhole’s government was indicted for paying 75% of the contract sum as mobilisaiton against extant provisions.
The report is seen as a major albatross for the former governor arising from serial incisive interventions on the issue by the former People’s Democratic Party, PDP leadership of Chief Dan Orbih.
Chief Orbih had regularly flayed the construction as a cesspool of corruption alleging that what President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned in November 2016 was an empty shell!
While the majority of the governors had in the past backed Obaseki in the duel against Oshiomhole, the increasing strength of Tinubu in the party some say may neutralize some of that support.
The PDP was meanwhile, laughing off the crisis in the APC at the weekend. A very prominent chieftain of the party while noting the crisis in the APC said that it was divine retribution for the party that has ruled the state for nearly 12 years.
“You can see that all attempts by the Dangotes, the royal fathers, the Kyaris and all to settle Obaseki and Oshiomhole have not worked.
“What God is saying that this is the time for the PDP and I can assure you nothing will settle them as God has made them fight for correct government to come.”
The high party chieftain who had in the past projected the prospect of the PDP welcoming Obaseki to the party in the event he is muscled out of the APC was noncommittal on the issue yesterday when the issue was broached signaling that that bridge had been crossed.
The situation in the APC was reflective of the crisis in the PDP 12 years ago between Chief Tony Anenih and Senator Oserheinmen Osunbor that paved way for the accord between the late Anenih and Oshiomhole that allegedly helped the ouster of Osunbor from power in November 2008.