Benin City was yesterday thrown into a recently usual unease when some youths who are supporters of the gubernatorial candidate for the All Progressives Congress, APC, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, were shot at by thugs alleged to be supporters of the People’s Democratic Party PDP candidate, incumbent governor Godwin Obaseki. Governor Obaseki had visited the palace of the Oba of Benin as he officially flagged off his campaign for the gubernatorial election slated for September in Edo State, but met a crowd of residents fearlessly booing him and his convoy, chanting “PDP Ole!” And in what appears to be a retaliation, some thugs attacked supporters of Ize-Iyamu, shooting and injuring several.
The gubernatorial election in Edo State is poised to be the most volatile yet since 2015 as Obaseki, who won the contest in 2016 as candidate for the APC, fell out with the erstwhile chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and all efforts to reconcile the two failed, culminating in the former Nigerian Labour Congress leader and two-term governor of Edo, Oshiomhole, getting suspended from the State chapter of the APC, and eventually suspended as the substantive chairman of the APC as a consequence.
The incumbent governor, after finding it difficult to exert influence on the State Chapter of the APC, failed to qualify for the primary election for the candidacy of the APC, and decamped to the opposition PDP to attempt to win a second term bid.
The decision by Obaseki to contest under the umbrella of the PDP further made the Oshiomhole camp feel betrayed and enraged. Moreover, many PDP politicians ditched the party in support for Pastor Ize-Iyamu, creating a fear among the camp of Obaseki that they could be loosing much ground as the Election approaches.
Recently, Obaseki cited lawlessness as the reason he had to decamp from the APC.