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Factors Likely To Shape Edo Governorship Election


Lanre Awe

As the political landscape in Edo State gradually shifts its focus towards the impending 2024 gubernatorial election, a multitude of factors are poised to profoundly influence the outcome. Ranging from internal party conflicts to historical patterns of violence and the intricacies of voter sentiment, the contours of this electoral contest are complex and multifaceted.

Recent controversies, such as the legal dispute involving the Benin king and the contentious issue of repatriating cultural artefacts, underscore the delicate interplay between Edo’s deep cultural dynamics and politics.

The stage is set for a fiercely contested battle among three leading candidates— Peoples Democratic Party’s Asue Ighodalo, All Progressives Congress’ Monday Okpebholo, and Labour Party’s Olumide Akpata —each facing its set of challenges and opportunities.

The ultimate victor will be determined by their ability to navigate the intricate dynamics of internal party politics, connect authentically with voters, and articulate a compelling vision for the future of Edo State.

PDP Infighting

Within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a storm brews as internal discord threatens to undermine the party’s unity and electoral prospects. At the centre of this maelstrom stands former governor Philip Shaibu, a towering figure whose influence looms large amidst the cacophony of dissenting voices.

Shaibu and the party’s Vice Chairman (South-South), Dan Orbih, are spearheading opposition against Governor Obaseki and his chosen candidate, Asue Ighodalo. Orbih, a close associate of the former governor of Rivers State and current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, plays a pivotal role in this faction which also has a former state House of Assembly Speaker, Kabiru Adjoto in its ranks.

The fissures within the PDP highlight the challenge of maintaining cohesion in a party with diverse interests and power dynamics. As aspirants jockey for positions of influence and authority, internal tensions threaten to erode trust and unity, undermining the party’s ability to present a coherent and compelling vision to voters.

APC Internal Wranglings

Across the aisle, the All Progressives Congress (APC) grapples with its own internal strife, exacerbated by simmering discontent within Okpebholo’s faction over the imposition of a deputy governor candidate.

This fissure within the party threatens to undermine its electoral machinery, necessitating decisive action to shore up its campaign apparatus. Reconciliation efforts and strategic realignment are imperative for the APC to weather the storm of internal discord and emerge as a cohesive and formidable force in the electoral arena.

The internal wrangling within the APC underscores the challenges of maintaining party discipline and cohesion in the face of competing interests and ambitions. As factions vie for control and influence, the party risks fracturing along ideological and personal lines, weakening its ability to present a unified front to voters.

Political Violence

Against the backdrop of Edo State’s turbulent history marked by episodes of political violence, concerns over security and stability loom large as the specter of unrest casts a shadow over the impending election. Safeguarding the electoral process against the scourge of violence and intimidation is paramount to upholding its integrity and legitimacy.

The history of political violence in Edo State underscores the importance of ensuring peace and stability during the electoral process. Past conflicts and incidents of violence have left scars on the collective consciousness of the electorate, heightening anxieties about the potential for unrest in the lead-up to the election.

Who Wins

As the campaign unfolds, all eyes will be on Edo State, where the outcome of the election will not only shape the destiny of the state but also offer valuable insights into the broader trends and dynamics of Nigerian politics. With the stakes higher than ever, the battle for the governorship promises to be intense, with each candidate vying for the support of a diverse and discerning electorate.

In this high-stakes contest, the candidate who can best navigate the complexities of internal party conflicts, address the concerns of the electorate, and offer a compelling vision for the future will emerge victorious, charting the course for Edo State’s political landscape in the years to come.

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