Edo Guber 2024: Hurdles Before the Three Parties in Edo State; Labour Party in Focus (Part 2)

Dr. Asue Ighodalo (PDP), Sen. Monday Okpebholo (APC) and Barr. Olumide Akpata of LP

Edo Guber 2024: Hurdles Before the Three Parties in Edo State; Labour Party in Focus (Part 2)

By Elempe Dele.

The campaign is under way to succeed the Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State who would be leaving office after two terms in office.

Dr. Asue Ighodalo (PDP)
Dr. Asue Ighodalo (PDP)

Voters are divided along party lines, as usual. They will be the eventual deciders of who wins the election come September.

The Labour Party, LP, settled for Olumide Osiagbova Akpata Esq. He was the former Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Chairman – a total outsider to the Edo State politics and the establishment.

Read: Edo 2024: Philip’s Disability and Witches

Political analysts have pondered about his chances in this election without discounting him from the race as a non-starter.

Akpata is not the type of candidate you will think voters will easily reject even when it was rumoured that delegates were gifted one thousand dollars each to to create the humiliation the other aspirants recieved during the primary that was one-sided even without the support of the embattled national chairman, Julius Abure.

The LP was built last year by the effort of the subtle fundamentalist group called the Obidient Movement. More than anything, the movement allowed Peter Obi his brand of individualism.

They allowed him to build the party around him, not the party itself. And since Obi lost the presidential election obviously because of his inability to penetrate the core north, the movement has somehow fizzled out.

The concept that animated the movement was the sad conditions of existence of the commoners who became disenchanted with political class and elite that had denied them the type of standard of living they envisaged.

The movement was actually borne out of an attempted democratic revolution to oust the establishment. They saw in Obi a new illumination, and that a new Nigeria is possible.

They resented everything of the political old – they accentuated and preached the gospel of political purity.

They formed compact bonds, with sophisticated evangelism of political holiness.

Their interest was on the political shape of things in the country where all the corrupt elements must be destroyed immediately without delay. It was an organized mass movement with the features of a a kind of political segregation.

Members of the movement hate being disagreed with – an attitude that later pitched the movement with citizens. But let us leave that for another day.

The movement unlearned its religious-like task to install Obi after the presidential election was he lost. Like I pointed out then, the transparent untruth that leaders of the party like Dele Farotimi and co were peddling about the election being rigged by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, went a long way to affect the fortunes of the movement and the party afterwards.

The group felt elections in Nigeria can never be free and fair or even credible, as they were told. They blamed every single one – including the INEC boss, Prof. Yusuf, the courts, voters…for their misfortune. This resulted in voter apathy afterwards.

They lost interest in elections, and have not won any election since the general election where the party did fairly well considering the short time it took to build its national structure.

So if Olumide is depending on the Obidient Movement in Edo State, he will need to look elsewhere for his political fate. Some members of the movement have since gone back to their parent parties from where they came to form the illumination.

So it will take beyond magic to get the kind of supporting vote to win the election with the movement as reliance.

Akpata might win some urban areas in the south senatorial district, based on ethnic considerations, he will find it difficult to diffuse beyond those areas, or beyond the district. The moral support for an Edo central candidate eclipse other arguments simply because the outgoing governor is from the south while his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, is from Edo north. So it is impenetrable argument for the most voters to consider anyone outside that zone based on justice, fairplay and equity.

Barr. Olumide Akpata of LP
Barr. Olumide Akpata of LP

Another issue that will affect him is that Obi is not on the ballot that could have moved the Obidient Movement from their nooks and crannies to vote. The group has learnt their lessons from voting others apart from Obi. Others they have voted have not lived up to the expectation. Take for example Senator Neda Imasuen who was elected on the platform of LP by the Obidient Movement. He has since become as incommunicado as other politicians they usually condemn. They wont be deceived the second time. There even attempts to recall the senator for neglecting his constituency.

Sen. Monday Okpebholo (APC)
Sen. Monday Okpebholo (APC)

Again, Olumide seems to be running like a sole leader of the party, sponsoring all its activities. Since the humiliation of the other aspirants – Hon. Serguis Ogun, Ken Imasuagbon and co, none has made any categorical supporting statement concerning Akpata’s candidacy. Will he be able to do it alone? Will he be able to fund his election the way APC and PDP will? The cost of running the election is beyond a 30 billion Naira project. Will Akpata be able to summon such an amount from somewhere with a dancing wand?



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