As the build-up to the 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo state increases, tension heightened yesterday in the camp of Governor Godwin Obaseki as reports emerged that one of his loyalists and APC Chieftain, Chief Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, has joined the race for Dennis Osadebey House.
Iduoriyekemwen reportedly picked the expression of interest form at the APC national headquarters in Abuja without fanfare.
A former member of Edo state House of Assembly and one-time commissioner at the NDDC, Iduoriyekemwen joined the APC from the PDP in 2018 when he declared that he was joining the party because Governor Obaseki was building the biggest park and modular refinery in his Ikpoba Okha local government area.
Honourable Iduoriyekemwen was a strong supporter of Governor Obaseki until yesterday when he proceeded to pick the gubernatorial form, a move considered as unhealthy for the chances of the governor.
Governor Obaseki, Pastor Ize-Iyamu and Iduoriyekemwen will now slug it out at the APC primaries predicted to be very dicey for incumbent Governor Obaseki because of the huge outcry against his policies in the state.
Governor Obaseki has severally boasted that his second term bid was not negotiable, which has not gone down well with many party members in the state. On several fronts, they have accused him of abandoning governance, leading to a no-show performance in the past three years of his administration in infrastructure development.
The report of Iduoriyekemwen joining the gubernatorial race was received with shock, as it formed topic of discussion among members of the governor’s camp in small groups, within and outside Government House, Benin City.
The speculation giving room for the discontent was that since the governor has perfected his plans to join the PDP, Iduoriyekemwen in his own way of resisting decamping with the governor, was to join the race and probably come out as the dark horse in the primaries.
“Its obvious that Iduoriyekemwen does not want to follow the governor to PDP,” said one of his followers who pleaded for anonymity.