No Surrender!!! Tales of how godfathers fell out with godsons

Nobody would have thought that the political battle for the soul of Edo State between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his political godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will continue unabated with no end in sight.

Tuesday’s resolution by the Senate which ordered Obaseki to issue a fresh letter of proclamation for the proper inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly within one week or risk having the Senate take over the state assembly was a clear pointer to the fact that all the peace moves brokered byby stakeholders had failed to yield the expected amicable resolution.

The hint of a looming political disagreement between Obaseki and his predecessor surfaced during the 2019 national and state assembly party primaries in the state.

While Obaseki wanted to have his loyalists in the assembly to secure his second term, Oshiomhole was said to have rooted for his own loyalists. Observers are of the view that Oshiomhole’s move was a calculated plot to stop Obaseki from picking the party’s ticket for a second term in office.

The fight over who will produce candidates in the state assembly led to the cancellation of the initial primary organized by the national body and a fresh primary was conducted.

For example, in Akoko-Edo federal constituency, Oshiomhole wanted Hon Peter Akpatason while the governor was favourably disposed to the candidature of the then Speaker, Hon Kabiru Adjoto. At the end, Akpatason emerged the candidate and eventually won the election.

Besides, loyalists in the camp of Oshiomhole are said to be enraged when Obaseki stated that he will not succumb to pressures to share state resources meant for development to politicians.

Again, Obaseki during the national and state assembly elections was believed not to have supported some of the candidates perceived to be loyal to Oshiomhole, an allegation that further widened the political gulf between the two.

Some of the politicians who had worked for the governor’s emergence were said to have accused Obaseki of shutting them out shortly after he won the election and vowed to rescue the party from his grip.

The supremacy battle between Obaseki and Oshiomhole shiftedto the House of Assembly when nine lawmakers said to be loyal to Obaseki were inaugurated and Hon Frank Okiye emerged as the Speaker while 15 members-electloyal to Oshiomhole were shut out in what has become controversial.

The governor’s supporters and strategists are of the view that if an Oshiomhole-loyal leadership of the House emerges, Obaseki may be impeached in no time.

Lagos: The Battle Continues…

While the cold war between some governors and their predecessors manifested in verbal missiles on the pages of newspapers, in Lagos the frosty relationship saidto have existed then between Governor Babatunde Fasholaand his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was largely based on speculation because the duo kept sealed lips on the issue.

Thus, when the party leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, finally gave him the go-ahead to run for another four years in 2011, it sent the large crowd that thronged the venue into jubilation.

Bola Tinubu and Fashola

Tinubu, former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, two-term governor of Lagos State, founder and leader of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which later metamorphosed to APC, attributed the rumour of his estrangement with the governor to people who,he said, simply wanted to divide them.

He said the stories were masterminded by those he termed “political rodents and enemies who did not know how I knew him (Fashola).”

After presenting Fashola for re-election in the state under the platform of the ACN, Tinubu went ahead to score him 85 per cent in his first tenure. He emphasised that the governor remained the best man for the job.

Tinubu said, “He is my son. Those that were peddling the rumour are those that did not know how I knew him or what endeared him to me. They are the agents of destruction, political rodents, enemies and scavengers in the corridors of power that want to continue to loot state funds without working to deliver dividends of democracy.

“They said I was jealous of his achievements and said all sort of things. If you have a son that has surpassed your records, you celebrate him. I am the pathfinder, he is the navigator. I am the one that identified the talent.”

Tinubuwas later to choose Fashola’s successor, Akinwumi Ambode, who he later fell out with. According to Tinubu, Ambode became a bad party man who no longer deserved his support.

As a result, the former Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was denied a second term ticket by the All Progressives Congress.

Tinubu explained why he withdrew his support forAmbode and backed 53-year-old former chairman of the Lagos State Property Development Commission (LSDPC) and two-time commissioner, Babajide Olushola Sanwoolu, to emerge the new governor of the state.

Tinubu said Ambode could not return for a second term because he suddenly became a “bad party man” who lost the support of party members.

“Who did I support in 2014? Ambode. Life is dynamic. It’s those who made me the leader of the structure in Lagos who said it was what they wanted. It’s only if you have followers that you’re a leader in democracy.

“If I look back and I don’t find them again; if I don’t respond to them, if I fail to accede to their request, I would have failed the leadership test.

“This is not personal; it is beyond me as a person. Every democratic constitution is preceded by ‘We, the people’. So, I had to submit myself to the wishes and the yearnings of our party.’’

He pointed out that, as governor Ambode ’’is doing well, yes; (but) he hasn’t been a good party man; not only the glamour, not only about brick and mortar. A talent is determined by character. For you to become an influential person, you have to respond to the yearnings of the people. This is politics; democracy, one man, one vote.”

As it were, Ambode went to the party primary without his godfather’s support and lost.

Forces Behind Obi-Obiano Feud In Anambra:

Governor Willie Obiano’s feud with his immediate predecessor and benefactor, Mr. Peter Obi, was actually engineered by some powerful forces within the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who did not like Mr. Obi’s frugal disposition.

In other to maximize patronage from the Governor Obiano’s administration, they now convinced the governor that he needed to ensure that Mr. Obi exited from the party, and that he should enthrone his own political structure. To achieve this, they advised him to jettison his predecessor’s development blue-print, the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS) which was focused on simultaneous development of all sectors of the state.

This was why the feud between Governor Obiano and former Governor Obi started even before the former was inaugurated into office for his first tenure.

It was believed that the then national chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh was one of the principal actors who sowed the seed of discord, more so, considering that he only narrowly survived his removal as national chairman of the party in the twilight of the Obi administration.

As a result, Governor Obiano initiated his own five-pillar development agenda which principally focused on Agriculture, Trade and Commerce, Science and technology, and industry with about 36 enablers.

Incidentally, it was this seed of mutual mistrust sown between Obiano and Obi that aborted the earlier promise made to Mr. Obi by the national leadership of APGA shortly after Obiano’s victory that he would be installed as chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees ( BoT), a development which was one of the reasons Obi decided to exit APGA and joined People’s Democratic Party (PDP) where he became the party’s vice-presidential candidate in the last general election.

Tambuwal Proved Bookmakers Wrong In Sokoto:

Expectedly, the 2019 governorship election in the Seat of the Caliphate was a straight battle between an estranged godfather and godson – Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, who is a former governor of Sokoto State and incumbent Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

They were the real dramatis personae in the battle royale. Tambuwal, who ascended the governorship position with the backing of Wamakko in 2015, was re-elected for a second term in office without the support of the latter.

Things changed in the last four years. Political realignments brought an end to the alliance between the two.

Leaving the APC in August last year, along with 18 members of the State House of Assembly, Governor Tambuwal had said he was returning to the PDP because of the failure of the APC and its government.

Wamakko, a grassroots and influential politician in Sokoto, was poised to stop Tambuwal’s re-election in order to return the state to APC rule. The rest is now history.

Once upon a time in Rivers, Kano, Benue and Akwa Ibom:

Other stories of love-gone-sour relationship of godfathers and their godsons include the one between a former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and his successor, Nyesom Wike.

Others are the epic battle for the control of the soul of Kano State during the 2019 elections between a former governor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his erstwhile deputy, aide and friend – Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Conflict of interests also reared its ugly head in Akwa Ibom State and separated the incumbent governor, Udom Emmanuel, from his estranged benefactor, godfather, former governor and now minister-designate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, a development that denied the latter re-election to the Senate.

Also in Benue State, the political structure of a former governor of the state, Senator George Akume, helped the current governor, Samuel Ortom, to win his first governorship election in 2015 but they soon fell out over conflict of interests.

While Ortom left the APC and went back to the PDP in order to win re-election, he ensured that Akume, who is now a minister-designate, lost his re-election to the Senate at the 2019 polls.

Abia State,  Orji Kalu,Kalu and Theodore Orji, who succeeded him in 2007 as Abia governor, had been arch- enemies for almost a decade due to political differences, Kalu helped theodore into power and fellout shortly.

though Senator for Abia North and former state governor, Chief Orji Kalu, said that he had put his political enmity with his successor, Sen. Theodore Orji, behind him and was prepared to work harmoniously with him in the Senate.

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