Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu

Ayorinde Oluokun/Jethro Ibileke

Even with high traffic build up in the major roads that traverse the city, Benin, the capital of Edo State was calm on Friday morning.

Though the 14 political parties participating in the state’s governorship election which was less than 24 hours away were supposed to have rounded off their campaigns on Thursday,  as at the time of writing this story, some of the posters deployed for publicity by the contestants,  their parties and supporters are still firmly in place on billboards, walls of buildings, offices, private homes and other places where they were pasted.

Yet, another indication of the imminence of the governorship election  were convoys of government officials and security operatives moving with sirens in the state capital and other places.

Some of the residents who spoke to this magazine indicated that they will soon leave for their villages later in day in order in order to perform their civic duties.

Though 14 candidates are participating in the election, the two candidates on the lips of the voters are Governor Godwin Obaseki who is seeking re-election on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

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The two candidates had campaigned across the 192 wards of the State, using every trick possible to outwit the other in order to gain the support of the electorate.

The two candidates were not strangers when it comes to gubernatorial battle. Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu were also the leading candidates in the 2016 Edo gubernatorial election. Obaseki, who contested on the platform of APC  defeated Ize Iyamu, then of PDP, in the 2016 battle by a slim margin.

In tomorrow’s contest, both candidates have switched platforms with Obaseki now the flag bearer of PDP while Ize Iyamu is the candidate of APC.

Below are other facts to know about the two gubernatorial candidates

Governor Godwin Obaseki

  1. Governor Obaseki was a stock broker and investment banker before joining the administration of former governor Adams Oshiomhole, as head of the economic and strategic team.
  2. He served Oshiomhole for eight years and the former governor described him as the ‘brain box’ of his government.
  3.  He later succeeded Oshiomhole as governor in 2016, on the platform of the APC.
  4. Even though a green horn in politics, it was believed that Obaseki mastered the tricks and maneuverings of politics under the watch of Oshiomhole before they fell apart.
  5. He has been described as anti-democrat because of his frustration of attempts to swore -in 17 lawmakers elected in 2019 general election into the Edo House of Assembly.
  6. He also enjoys the unflinching support and loyalty of his deputy, Philip Shaibu, who is a thorough-bread politician.
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Pastor Osagie Ize-lyamu

  1. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, or POI, as he is popularly known, is a grassroots politician whose loyalists spread across the 18 local government areas of the state.
  2. He served as chief of staff to former governor Lucky Igbinedion, and later Secretary to State Government between 1999 and 2007.
  3. Ize-Iyamu served as the Director-General of Oshiomhole’s re-election campaign in 2012.
  4. He later fell out with Oshiomhole and in 2014 defected to the PDP, where he picked the party’s governorship ticket, but lost the election to the incumbent.
  5. It is believed that he has structures across the 192 wards in the state
  6. Analysts says his greatest strength lies in his foot soldiers and his investment in people across the state, when he held-sway as the SSG and Chief of Staff to Edo State Government.
  7. He is also a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and he regularly took time off during the campaign to attend church services