Edo 2024 governorship election: Issues, factors dictating direction where Gov. Obaseki’s successor will swing to

There is no equivocation that the Edo State governorship election, coming up in 2024, presents one of the most interesting narratives in the chequered history of the state tagged Heartbeat of the nation.

The gladiators, who have thrown their hats into the ring underline what lie ahead for the state, as the race to find a successor to Governor Godwin Obaseki is not very far from reaching the finish line. In its history, Edo state is renowned for producing political heavyweights, such as the likes of Chief Anthony Enahoro, Tony Anenih, Tom Ikimi, Samuel Ogbemudia, and Prof Ambrose Ali, et al, who made national impacts in Nigeria’s cherished political Chronicle.

The quality and calibre of aspirants for the race to the Edo government house next year is unprecedentedly high. The profiles serve up individuals with unparalleled qualification and experiences in both the public and private sectors. It would also be too mild to say their academic records are intimidating. The Labour Party flaunts intimidating candidates: Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president, Olumide Akpata, and retired accomplished banker, Dr. Ehizojie Imafidon Ohiowele.

The incumbent, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), shows off Asue Ighodalo, who is said to be the chosen one by Governor Obaseki. However, political commentators have submitted that the facial resolution of the row between Obaseki and his deputy Philip Shaibu over the latter’s political ambition to succeed his boss, will haunt the party. More so, the division within the party’s structure in the state, characterised by the fractured relationship between the old PDP led by Dan Orbih, and the new PDP aligned with the governor’s faction, creates a herculean task for Ighodalo.

The two senatorial districts in the state have produced the last two governors, and the current consensus is that someone from Edo Central, which encompasses Esanland, should in the spirit of fairness and equity, become the next governor. The unwritten agreement leaves three frontrunners in the battleground, namely Dr. Ehizojie Ohiowele (LP), Prof Osunbor (APC), and Asue Ighodalo (PDP), representing the three major parties and aspirants from that zone. If the Labour Party moves along with this arrangement, Olumide Akpata could be out of the running altogether before the party’s primary.

Apart from his standout qualities, political developments in Edo tilts to the favour of Dr. Ehizojie Ohiowele. The resurgence and awakening of youths to political decisions since the 2023 general election will largely dictate leaning towards the Labour Party aspirant. Born in 1977, the entrepreneur is an accomplished retired banker and an alumnus of University of Benin (UNIBEN), and several international academic institutions, Harvard and Oxford. The politician who hails from Isidahomen Quarters, Eguare, Ekpoma in Esan West Local Government Area of the state, has demonstrated high intelligence and distinguished pedigree throughout his career as an investment banker in Nigeria and Africa.

Following the massive rally of support for the PDP in the last gubernatorial election, electorate bear the grudge over failed delivery of the low hanging fruits. While the All Progressive Congress’ Oserheimen Osunbor, born in 1951, possesses a rich pedigree as a lawyer and politician, having served as a senator and governor, the prevailing sentiment among the people would leans towards a youthful governor–one of the boxes Dr. Ehizojie Ohiowele ticks.

As the political landscape in the country is changing, Edo is billed to experience a sweeping change as well in September 2024, as one of the most significant elections in the state approaches

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