Forget the crowded field. Only one of Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu will emerge governor of Edo State
The consensus from a plethora of Nigerians and Edo state voters alike who tuned in to catch the live governorship debate on Channels TV, seems a unanimous enough one: The contest for the number one job in the South South state will eventually come down to a two-horse affair between Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the PDP and Godwin Obaseki of the APC.
APGA’s Osaro Onaiwu and Labour Party’s Amos Areolegbe may as well kiss their chances of an upset, goodbye.
The Edo governorship election will hold next Saturday, September 10.
The debate covered a broad spectrum of social issues from security, to economic growth, to job creation.
We run the rule on the chances of each candidate below; in no particular order:
Amos Areolegbe (Labour Party)
His striped suit and tie during the debate would have scored him zero points with the fashion police.
He talked a big game in what was a performance lacking in depth and substance.
He looked ill prepared for the job of overseeing the affairs of Edo State and fluffed his lines on one too many occasion.
“We will encourage inventors and innovators to create jobs for the unemployed. We have what it takes in Edo State to generate revenue for ourselves”, Areolegbe offered at one point, without saying how.
It was a debate performance that bordered on hot air and nothing else from the man in the multi-striped suit.
Specifics are definitely not his thing. Governing a State won’t be, either.
Chances of winning: 3/10
Godwin Obaseki (APC)
The former investment banker has a thing for shouting himself hoarse and he probably ruptured a few vocal chords on Sunday.
He’s run a campaign of continuity and improving what has worked from the Adams Oshiomhole era.
“The foundation has been laid already by the current government of Adams Oshiomhole and that foundation is what I will build on”, Obaseki blared at some point.
The APC candidate also spoke of his plans for diversification and mineral resources exploration, but like the APC government at the federal level, his generic action plan sounded like what they really are: generic.
A wink in the dark too.
What Obaseki may have going for him may be Oshiomhole’s performance.
The outgoing former labour leader may not be everyone’s favourite politician, but some Edo citizens love to think he’s acquitted himself well, to some degree.
There are also those who see in Obaseki, an Oshiomhole lackey. He’s waved that aside, but that albatross is one he’ll have to carry until the last ballot is cast in anger.
Obaseki is a shoo-in to nick this.
His pitfall? An APC controlled government at the center hasn’t been up to the races and hasn’t lived up to pre-election hype.
The economy has tanked under the party’s watch and social indicators have been rather dismal.
There’ll be protest votes against Obaseki on account of President Muhammadu Buhari’s mid-term performance.
And the APC wouldn’t say it never saw it coming.
Chances of winning: 7/10
Osaro Onaiwu (APGA)
The former Director General of the PDP Governors’ Forum pushed back insinuations that he seeks to replicate an Igbo agenda in Edo, but few believed him on the night.
First, there was this traditional cap sitting incongruously atop his suit and he kept citing Anambra as a model for how he wants to run Edo State.
Whoever suggested to Onaiwu that a traditional cap and suit are a match, did him no favours.
“We are exporting Ugwu leaf and other vegetables in Anambra State…Agro-economy is number one”, said Onaiwu, without a word on storage and processing facilities for his beloved Ugwu leaf.
Onaiwu left the PDP in a fit of rage to pitch tent with APGA.
No sign on the night that his new found political party has robbed off positively on him.
Chances of winning: 5/10
Osagie Ize-Iyamu (PDP)
Pastor Ize-Iyamu was the winner of the debate on several viewer scorecards.
He sounded articulate. It also wouldn’t hurt his campaign either that he sounded like he’s spent plenty of time thinking the process of governance through.
Obaseki and the APC are allowed the occasional look over their shoulders and just as well: Ize-Iyamu isn’t in this to make up the numbers.
He stands as good a chance as any to take home the crown.
Chances of winning: 7/10