The upcoming 2024 Edo State governorship election is poised to be one of the most captivating moments in the state’s political history. The array of heavyweight contenders vying to succeed Governor Godwin Obaseki sets the stage for a compelling race. Edo State, often referred to as the “Heartbeat of the Nation,” has a legacy of producing political luminaries who have left an indelible mark on Nigeria’s political landscape.
Historical figures like Chief Anthony Enahoro, Tony Anenih, Tom Ikimi, Samuel Ogbemudia, and Prof Ambrose Ali have contributed significantly to the political narrative of Edo. The current pool of aspirants for the gubernatorial seat reflects an unprecedented level of quality and experience, both in the public and private sectors, with academic records that can be described as nothing short of impressive.
The Labour Party has thrown its weight behind formidable candidates, including former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president, Olumide Akpata, and the accomplished retired banker, Dr. Ehizojie Imafidon Ohiowele. Meanwhile, the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presents Asue Ighodalo, touted as Governor Obaseki’s favored successor. However, internal party dynamics, particularly the resolution of the dispute between Governor Obaseki and his deputy Philip Shaibu, may pose challenges for Ighodalo.
Edo State’s tradition indicates that the next governor should emerge from Edo Central, encompassing Esanland, in the spirit of fairness and equity. This unwritten agreement has positioned three frontrunners from this zone: Dr. Ehizojie Ohiowele (Labour Party), Prof Osunbor (APC), and Asue Ighodalo (PDP), representing the three major parties.
The prevailing sentiment suggests a tilt towards a youthful governor, favoring candidates like Dr. Ehizojie Ohiowele. Born in 1977, Ohiowele brings a wealth of experience as a retired banker and a distinguished alumnus of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Harvard, and Oxford. His political journey aligns with the increasing political participation of youths in Edo since the 2023 general election.
While the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Oserheimen Osunbor, boasts a rich political history as a lawyer, senator, and governor, there is a growing inclination among the electorate for a more youthful leadership, a criterion met by Ohiowele.
As the political landscape evolves nationwide, Edo anticipates a transformative shift in its political dynamics come September 2024, marking one of the most pivotal elections in the state’s history.