EDO 2024: Who Becomes the Next Governor of Edo State?

Edo State is a notable state located in South-South Geopolitical region in Nigeria. The State is led by an executive governor elected every four years while there is existence of the legislative arm led by the speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly. At the grassroots level, the state has Local Government Areas chairmen and councilors representing the various wards in the State.

Edo State is among the States in Nigeria that don’t follow the normal election calendar in Nigeria for the election of the executive governor due to the judgment delivered in the past by the judiciary during one of the elections to avert miscarriage of justice. Edo State and other States like Anambra, Imo, Bayelsa, Ondo, Osun State, Kogi State, and others are States that don’t conduct governorship elections during general elections, or the same year that presidential elections, National Assembly and State House of Assembly election holds in Nigeria.

A time has come again when the citizens and residents in Edo State will go to the poll to elect their Governor as the tenure of His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy Comrade Philip Shaibu gears to elapse.

Governor Godwin Obaseki succeeded Senator Adams Oshiomhole during his first tenure when he ran under the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC) but the former left APC in 2020 to decamp to the People’s Democratic party where he secured the party ticket for the governorship election and eventually won the election after defeating Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of APC.

It is also an interesting election as this is the first time that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu will not be contesting the Governorship election as he is popularly known for his desire to govern Edo State. He has contested under the platform of APC and PDP respectively but in 2024, he did not participate in the primary election of any political party as a candidate including his current political party All Progressive Congress (APC).

Senator Adams Oshiomhole governed Edo State for a complete two tenures of eight years in total while Governor Godwin Obaseki is in the final year of his two tenures of eight years.

In the month of February 2024, the major political parties in Nigeria known as the three leading political parties has conducted their primary elections to pick flag bearers for the upcoming  Edo State Governorship election.

None of the candidates from PDP, APC, and LP has a popular history of having contested for the office of the Governor in the past. The candidates of LP and PDP both coming from the private sector while only the candidate of APC is a sitting Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They all have experience in private and public services which means that one of them will emerge at the end to govern Edo State people.

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The candidate of PDP is from Edo Central which has not produced a Governor of the State for a long time, and he also has a laudable achievement in the private sector quoting many companies where he has served as chairman and directors respectively. Asue Ighodalo is an accomplished lawyer and contesting under the platform of PDP. From permutation, his life in the private sector is speaking for him while he also has the backing of the ruling party in Edo State. He is also from the Senatorial District that is clamouring that it is their turn to produce the next Governor of Edo State.

The candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Barrister Olumide Akpata is the former President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and co-founder of Templers which is a leading law firm in Nigeria. He contested and won his election as NBA President when many felt his ambition was a mission impossible as he was contesting with notable Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) when he was yet to attain that title. He is from Edo South Senatorial District where the incumbent Governor of Edo State hails from, many said it is not the turn of Edo South as Obaseki is from there but many of his supporters argues that good governance is not a question of turn by turn. Among all the major political parties, Olumide Akpata is the only candidate from Edo South which boost his chances, but will he be able to defeat the incumbent Governor of the State who will support the candidate of PDP Asue Ighodalo?

Senator Monday Okpebholo is the candidate of the All-Progressive Congress (APC) and he is from Edo Central that is clamouring for their turn to produce the executive governor of Edo State. He is a sitting Governor and among the two senators from APC that are representing their senatorial district at the Senate Chambers of the National Assembly. He has experience in election activities as a candidate that has ran for a public office which he won and became a senator. He has not contested for the office of the Governor before as a candidate and it his first time of becoming the flag bearer of APC during Edo State Governorship election. His party APC is the ruling political party in Nigeria with majority in the National Assembly and occupies the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria since 2015. He is from the region that is preaching their turn while he may enjoy the backing of the federal government in line with party interest.

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Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole is from Edo North Senatorial District and governed Edo State for complete eight years as the Executive Governor of Edo State. The incumbent Governor of the State His Excellency Godwin Obaseki is from Edo South Senatorial District and already in the final year of his second term of eight years. Edo Central which is populated by Esan people is the Senatorial District that is yet to produce a Governor in a long time and 2024 seems to be their chances but will it be a dream come true for them?

The candidate of PDP and APC are both from Edo Central Senatorial District which means they will likely share the votes of that senatorial district alongside other candidates in the election. The LP Candidate is the only major contender from Edo South Senatorial District which may give him upper hand if regional or tribe sentiments comes into the picture, but the Executive Governor of Edo State is from the same senatorial district and would like to deliver the candidate of his party PDP.

Edo North Senatorial District don’t seem to have a candidate from the major political parties as the deputy governor of Edo State Comrade Philip Shaibu may not have secured the official PDP ticket though he was said to have emerged in another primary election.

At the end of the primaries, the three leading political parties seem to have more than one candidates that emerged as APC conducted primary election twice. In Labour Party, there are two factions of Abure and Apapa and each said to have conducted a primary where a candidate emerged.

The journey to Osadebey House is not one that will come without a serious campaign and soliciting of votes from electorates from Edo.

Each of the candidates of LP, PDP and APC all have the where withal and stumbling block that could make or mar them.

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