- Governor Adams Oshiomhole recently declared that his deputy has been plotting to remove him with the aid of a witch doctor. MIKE ODIAKOSE writes on the import of the allegations made by the outgoing governor
A new twist was added to the battle for the governorship election in Edo state a few days ago the State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole shocked Nigerians when he came out to declare that his deputy, Dr Pius Odubu went to procure the services of a local witch doctor to eliminate him.
As incredulous as the initial rumour was, Comrade Oshiomhole confirmed the speculation that his deputy wants him dead over the struggle for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, ticket.
The relationship between the governor and his deputy took a negative turn in the past seven months, creating factions in the Edo APC ahead of the governorship primary in the state.
Apart from the deputy governor, the APC is parading aspirants like a former Minister of Works, Engr.Chris Ogienwonyi; a former military tactician, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd); a former governor of the state, Prof. Osarhiemien Osunbor; the Chairman of the Edo State Economic Team, Mr Godwin Obaseki; Mr Kenneth Imasuagbon; Comrade Peter Esele; Prof. Frederick Ebegue Amadasun; and the only woman in the race, Mrs Tina Agbarha. The state Commissioner for Works, Osarodion Ogie, was initially in the race but shelved the ambition after his boss informed him of his desire to support Obaseki.
The cold war between Governor Oshiomhole and his deputy came to the fore when Odubu lamented that his office had been starved of funds, his political allies victimized, the governor refused to attend his wife’s birthday and, above all, the governor directed his Attorney General, Mr Henry Idahagbon, and Washington Osifo to write a petition against him to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, with a view to impeaching him.
Responding to the allegations, Governor Oshiomhole said he has not been intentionally staving the office of the deputy governor of funds as the state is also facing huge financial challenges like other states in the country. The governor explained that his own office is also affected by paucity of funds and this informed the decision for him to travel without his aides. Oshiomhole berated his deputy for being part of those who signed a statement accusing him of backing the state Chairman of the APC, in the alleged plot to manipulate the delegates list ahead of the primary of the party, asserting that the deputy’s action was a clear indication of an attack against his person.
On the issue of native doctor, Governor Oshiomhole said he was informed of the alleged plan by a leader of the party and that he had met with the native doctors whom his deputy allegedly contracted to do the damage, adding that the native doctors admitted and gave him details of how the rituals were executed.
Oshiomhole added that the party leader who leaked the information, who was out of the country, was ready to confront the deputy with the details of his alleged meeting with the witch doctors. He further stated that he could not have attended any ceremony at Odubu’s place, saying he would not want to be poisoned.
Reacting to the allegation, the deputy governor, Pius Odubu, described the claims that he is planning to kill his boss as untrue and attributed it to the evil works of blackmailers.
Odubu, who refuted the rumours in a press statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, said that he holds the governor in high esteem and would do nothing against the governor that would go against his religion.
“As a devout Catholic, I will not do anything that is unbecoming of a true Christian in the name of politics. God knows that I never had any pact with any witch/native doctor to kill anyone or avenge for me and I will never condescend to that extent as long as God lives. It is against my faith.
“The Bible teaches that even when the innocent suffers and mischief makers and traducers appear to triumph in their blackmail, it is for God alone to avenge. I will, by the special grace of God, continue to disappoint the dubious expectations of those who are bent on driving a wedge between me and the governor.
“It is my nature and character to be loyal to those who God has set over me because they are His instruments. At times like this, blackmailers are at their best but I have decided to take solace in God who knows the hearts of men, trusting and believing as always that God will vindicate the just. I wish to reiterate that I have no rift with the governor, who I revere and deeply appreciate, “the statement read.
Since the “juju war” between the governor and his deputy went public, it has generated reactions just as political observers warned that the face-off is a distraction the APC can do without as it goes into the main governorship battle with the Peoples Democratic Party.
It is widely believed that Edo state governorship is up for grab for the PDP, especially with the biting economic situation facing Nigerians all over the country. The APC has been on the receiving end during the bye-lections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in several states. The PDP has swept most of the election to the chagrin of the national leaders of the APC.
As the campaign for Oshiomhole’s successor gets to its zenith, the PDP is already capitalizing on the shortcomings of the APC at the federal level to campaign against the party. The untold petrol scarcity in the country, the attacks by Fulani herdsmen, comatose economy, falling value of the naira and low level of money in circulation and attendant high cost of almost every product, including basic needs, are all counting against the APC.
The situation is worsened by the fact that the party has reneged on all its campaign promises, thereby making Nigerians believe that were conned into boarding “one chance” vehicle. With the waning popularity of the APC across the country, political pundits are of the view that Governor Oshiomhole’s exposure of an otherwise “APC family affair” is ill-timed and not in the interest of the party.
One of the implications of going public with the spiritual war in Edo Government House is that the deputy governor and his supporters will take their pound of flesh from the governor during the APC congress and the governorship election. The stigma that the deputy governor patronises witch doctors is one that will not be forgotten or forgiven so soon. Even if the governor and his deputy reconciles today, the stigma will continue to glue to the deputy governor as his second shadow.
However, Oshiomhole can do some damage control by tendering public apology to his deputies if he does not want the enmity between them to outlive their tenure. The possibility that the deputy governor can sue the governor for character defamation, either now or in future should not be overlooked by the outgoing governor. How Oshiomhole will prove in court that his deputy betrayed his trust and wants to use witch doctor to eliminate him can only be imagined. The governor, who is known to be stubborn, deviant and pompous (SDP), has no choice in this matter but to do the needful, swallow his pride and tender unreserved apology to his deputy. If he can reconcile with the former chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, there is no justifiable reason why he cannot do the same with Dr Pius Odubu.