Thursday, May 28, 2020 2:27 pm
By Jethro Ibileke
Rt. Hon. Pius Odubu, is not a green horn in Nigerian politics. Although a lawyer by training, he has traversed the political routes both at the federal and state levels, being a two-time member of the Federal House of Representatives, where he represented Uhumwode/Orhionmwon Federal Constituency, between 1999 and 2007.
When Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who was then nose-deep in labour matters decided to dump activism for politics in 2006, he opted to contest for the governorship position of Edo state, on the platform of the Action Congress, AC. Odubu was the man anointed by the party to run with Oshiomhole. That was the beginning of their political partnership.
After a successful protracted lawsuit at the state electoral petition tribunal to reclaim their mandate from Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor of the PDP who was declared winner of the governorship election, the duo eventually assumed the mantle of governance.
The then Governor Adams Oshiomhole operated more like a twin-brother with his deputy whom he fondly called Okakuo (witch doctor) perhaps marshalling his government.
Odubu’s loyalty to his Principal was unequalled, it won him the best deputy governor award. In fact, Oshiomhole publicly declared at different fora that Odubu was the most loyal deputy governor he has ever seen.
In view of this, it was somewhat natural to expect that Oshiomhole will support his deputy to succeed him in office. Unfortunately, however, that was not to be. It was reliably gathered that things fell apart for them the moment Odubu declared his intention to succeed Oshiomhole. They hardly could see eyeballs to eyeballs. It would be recalled that during one of his pre-primary election campaigns at Auchi, Odubu was attacked by hoodlums who shot at his convoy, injuring one of his police orderlies in the process.
It could also be recalled that during the governorship congress proper which was conducted in the night of 18 June, 2016, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, the former governor worked hard to ensure the emergence of his preferred aspirant, Godwin Obaseki, as candidate of the party. Obaseki eventually won the election.
Like the gentleman he is, Odubu neither did lose sleep over his loss, nor did he cry over the spilled milk. He did not hold grudges with anyone or the party. He hoped for another day.
There is no gain saying that Odubu’s calm disposition must have enchanted Oshiomhole. Hence, he made frantic effort to reward Odubu’s loyalty, when he pencilled him of the NDDC top job. Unfortunately, though, it failed.
The 2020 governorship election in the state did present Odubu with another golden opportunity to realise his age-long ambition of ruling the state.
Perhaps Odubu was confident that with his former boss as national chairman of the party, he stands the best chance to clinch the state’s top job. What is more, Oshiomhole has fallen out of favour with his erstwhile political godson, incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki. What better opportunity could it be to help his former loyal deputy to get the party’s se ticket.
Again, it is not to be! Odubu’s ambition was scuttled, even with his former boss in charge of the party. This time, a new comer to the party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was anointed by the powers that be to slog it out with Governor Obaseki for the ticket of the party. It was reliably gathered that the screening process of Oshiomhole faction of the party was skewed, to favour Ize-Iyamu at the expense of other aspirants, Odubu inclusive.
Alas! Odubu is again left to himself in the cold, he has been beaten twice.
Richard Akinnola couldn’t have captured the whole essence of Odubu’s travails better, with his write-up on his Facebook page.
“Snookered twice by his former boss. Dr. Pius Odubu, was the deputy governor of Adams Oshiomhole. He wanted to succeed his boss four years ago, but his boss favoured Godwin Obaseki.
“He wanted to be the governor again this year, but his former boss preferred Iye-Iyamu. He is left in the cold. I hope he would still be given the NDDC job for which he was initially appointed before the NDDC katakata,” he wrote.