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EDO 2020: BETWEEN OBASEKI AND LIKELY HIS SUCCESSOR 

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I am an ardent follower of Nigerian politics, especially because of its murky nature. Having read series of write ups on the emerging political brouhaha between Obaseki and his ousted god-father in Edo State, Adams Oshiomole, I have come to an un-researched conclusion that politicians in Nigeria would stop at nothing to get what they desire.
Many people have said horrible things against the ruling party, whose candidate Godwin Obaseki emerged as Governor in the 2016 General elections in Edo State. Especially against his god father, who ensured his emergence in 2016.
Who is a God-father? A God-father, is a father figure who provides guidance and mentorship to his god-son. A writer had made a detailed analysis on the genesis of godfatherism, which dates back to the yore days of Roman Catholic. He referred to godfatherism as an ecumenical concept; a cosmopolitan reality. But it has been misplaced and wrongly deployed in Nigerian politics.
Perhaps, we should go back to history. In 2016, Mr Ize-Iyamu, a former secretary to the Edo State Government, had a bright chance to become the APC governorship candidate for that year’s election. 
Most likely, he would have won the general election, but for Oshiomhole who, as governor then, imposed Mr Obaseki on the party.Several APC members and supporters, including Mr Oshiomhole’s allies, preferred Mr Ize-Iyamu in 2016, before Oshiomhole favoured his opponent, Obaseki. This was despite the fact that Ize-Iyamu led Oshiomole’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Governor Obaseki, Adams Oshiomhole’s favourite then, was widely considered as an ‘outsider’ in the APC and in the politics of Edo State since he was recruited into Oshiomhole’s administration as a technocrat from the banking sector.
Governor Godwin Obaseki rode on the back of Oshiomole, his predecessor and former Governor of Edo State. I opine that he owes the State a huge apology for stepping on the toes of his destiny helper. 
It is worthy of note that in his new party, People’s Democratic Part, Godwin Obaseki’s selection has also been kicked against by some stakeholders. They described his emergence as seeming favoritism. 
Governor Godwin Obaseki joined the PDP after he was denied the chance to seek re-election under the platform of All Progressives Congress, the party under which he governed Edo state for the past four years.
It becomes worrisome to think God-fathers in Nigerian Politics receive some sense of ingratitude in return, after helping their protegees to the exalted stool they covet.
Away from the tussle between God father and son, the big question is does APC still have chances to win in Edo State? It is a question that baffles many minds, which only September election has clear answers to.
Starting with PDP structure, the emerging facts that PDP may split up before September, just because a strange force, called Obaseki has intruded. A ticket he clinched after many believe he must have been made to pay a huge amount of money to join the PDP. In fact, some people have interpreted Governor Wike’s ‘tax collectors’ comment to mean that the Edo governor paid a so much to get the party ticket.

Sources within the party said although they have nothing against Obaseki joining PDP, they however opposed the illegality to impose him on many who have been on ground and working for the party through thick and thin.
Allowing Obaseki to purchase nomination form and emerge as the candidate of PDP shows how weak PDP’s party structure is. They apparently do not have a strong structure, capable to combat the already existing structure APC has in place.
Rather than put the State’s interest first, Obaseki spent the meagre resources of the State to get into the camp of the political enemy; a camp to which he had been a complete alien until he began to look for a platform for his re-election.
Obaseki did not win the last general elections, APC did. The party, mosgt especially Oshiomole threw its weight behind Obaseki, not the other way round. A swerve in parties would still not alter the perceptions of the people of Edo State of Obaseki, who today is seen as a political learner, who because of his selfish interest did not mind destroying a party structure. In 2016 when Oshiomhole practically campaigned for Obaseki, as if his name was going to appear on the ballot. 
APC’s choice of Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a Pastor, Politician, and former Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Edo state government is a brilliant idea. Note that in the 2016 Edo State Gubernatorial election, Ize-Iyamu was the gubernatorial candidate of the Edo state People’s Democratic Party. 
He was the National vice-chairman, South-South Zone of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, who served as Director General of Adams Oshiomhole’s 2nd term Campaign Organisation. A victory that was landslide. 
Ize Iyamu has fought many political battles, which he had tremendous wins. He was also the Coordinator of Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation. A graduate of University of Benin, where he graduated with an LL.B (Hons), Ize Iyamu definitely has a rich experience in the Nigerian politics, especially the Edo kind. 
His defection back to the APC in November 2019 further worsened the wrangle in the state branch of the party, as it narrowed Obaseki’s chances in his previous party. He became a threat to the incumbent.
In the wake of the jostle for the party nomination form, seven aspirants stepped down to endorse Ize-Iyamu as the faction’s consensus candidate, an agreement that was terminated by three of the aspirants that later went ahead to purchase the party form.
A party member had revealed that APC started with Ize-Iyamu as their consensus candidate because they believe with unity, APC can remove the current governor. 
In 2016, Pastor Ize-Iyamu ran against Obaseki in the governorship election. Many observed that the process which culminated in his “loss” to the State APC machine superintended over by Oshiomhole and backed by the Federal Might.  
Even at that, Ize-Iyamu proved himself to be a difficult opponent to beat.  Although Obaseki was declared the winner, Ize-Iyamu got the people’s approbation. 
In a reversal of parties, Ize-Iyamu is in APC, and has emerged as the party’s standard bearer while Obaseki has controversially emerged the candidate of the enemy camp- the PDP.  
Now, this is 2020 and the political game has completely changed for the trio of Oshiomhole, Obaseki, and Ize-Iyamu. There has been a reversal of roles.
Obaseki, who was once a darling, has become Mr Oshiomhole’s political nightmare. They have fought a protracted political battle that sapped the strength from the Edo governor. He was eventually disqualified, most likely through Oshiomhole’s prompting, from contesting in the APC governorship primary, thereby forcing him to defect to the PDP.
Obaseki, already exhausted after his battle with Oshiomhole and the APC, entered his new party, the PDP, only for him to encounter another challenge –some of the aspirants who were already in the party before him vowing that they would not step down for him.
Ize-Iyamu at the moment, is a candidate with state-wide appeal, which is a function of his grassroots network and mobilizational dexterity. With his agenda, Pastor Ize-Iyamu is set to take the lead in the urgent task of transforming our state and taking it to the next level in infrastructure and human capital development.
Governor Godwin Obaseki has made some miscalculated steps in the course of governing the State, that has affected his love by the Edo people. 
Another emerging question is what brand would Obaseki flaunt during the September 19 governorship election? An already dented brand, soiled by selfish interests, bickering and political misdemeanour.
Obaseki, should have learnt from the likes of former President, knowing fully well, that the power of incumbency may not guarantee his victory. Incumbent leaders such as former President Goodluck Jonathan was dethroned from their exalted positions.
Obaseki bit the finger that fed him. He took on his godfather, leaving the State in an abysmally low level of leadership.  He made the blistering heat of politicking take over the administration of the State. 
He embraced PDP, a decision that places him on an untrustworthy stead. Of course, PDP members and leaders should also be ready to receive a raw deal from Obaseki and be barred or banned from the Government House in case Obaseki wins.
Kashetu Momoh, is a political analyst and an indigene of Edo State. 

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Russia seeking military aid from China, says US official

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Beijing rejects the US assertions as ‘disinformation’, as senior US and Chinese officials set to meet in Rome.
A United States official says Russia has asked China for military equipment to use in its invasion of Ukraine, a request that heightened tensions about the ongoing war before a meeting between senior US and Chinese officials in Rome.

In advance of the talks on Monday, White House NSA Jake Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy.
“We will not allow that to go forward,” he said.

The White House said the talks in Rome will focus on the direct effect of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in recent days, Russia had requested support from China – including military equipment – to press forward in its ongoing war with Ukraine. The official did not provide details on the scope of the request. The request was first reported by the Financial Times and The Washington Post newspapers.

The Biden administration is also accusing China of spreading Russian disinformation that could be a pretext for President Vladimir Putin’s forces to attack Ukraine with chemical or biological weapons.

Beijing on Monday accused Washington of spreading “disinformation” over China’s role in the Ukraine war, ahead of talks between the two countries’ envoys in Rome.

Without directly addressing US media reports of a Russian request for help from Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “The US has been spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue, with malicious intentions.”
Lifeline against Russia sanctions not ‘allowed’
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in a delicate spot with two of its biggest trading partners: the US and the European Union. China needs access to those markets, yet it has also shown support for Moscow, joining with Russia in declaring a friendship with “no limits”.

In his talks with senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi, Sullivan will indeed be looking for limits in what Beijing will do for Moscow.

“I’m not going to sit here publicly and brandish threats,” he told CNN on Sunday. “But what I will tell you is we are communicating directly and privately to Beijing that there absolutely will be consequences” if China helps Russia “backfill” its losses from the sanctions.

“We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world,” Sullivan said.

In brief comments on the talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian did not mention Ukraine, saying the “key issue of this meeting is to implement the important consensus reached by the Chinese and US heads of state in their virtual summit in November last year”.

“They will exchange views on China-US relations and international and regional issues of common concern,” Zhao said in comments posted on the ministry’s website late on Sunday.
China-Russa cosy relations
China has been one of the few countries to avoid criticising the Russians for their invasion of Ukraine. China’s leader Xi Jinping hosted Putin for the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing just three weeks before Russia invaded on February 24.

During Putin’s visit, the two leaders issued a 5,000-word statement declaring limitless friendship.

China abstained on the United Nations votes censuring Russia and criticised economic sanctions against Moscow. It has expressed its support for peace talks and offered its services as a mediator, despite questions about its neutrality and scant experience mediating international conflict.

But questions remain over how far Beijing will go to alienate the West and put its own economy at risk. Sullivan said China and all countries are on notice that they cannot “basically bail Russia out … give Russia a workaround to the sanctions” with impunity.

Chinese officials have said Washington should not be able to complain about Russia’s actions because the US invaded Iraq under false pretences. The US claimed to have evidence Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction though none was ever found.

On CNN, Sullivan said the administration believes China knew that Putin “was planning something” before the invasion of Ukraine. But he said the Chinese government “may not have understood the full extent of it because it’s very possible that Putin lied to them the same way that he lied to Europeans and others.”

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Russia accuses West of seeking ‘artificial default’ over Ukraine

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Russia is ready to pay its debts ‘in roubles’ as a large part of its foreign currency reserves are frozen over Ukraine attack.
Russia’s finance ministry has accused foreign countries of wanting to force Russia into an “artificial default” through unprecedented sanctions over its war in Ukraine and said it would meet its debt obligations.

“The freezing of foreign currency accounts of the Bank of Russia and of the Russian government can be regarded as the desire of a number of foreign countries to organise an artificial default that has no real economic grounds,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in a statement on Monday.
Ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded Russia’s sovereign debt rating further into junk territory, warning that the decision reflects the view that a default is “imminent”.

The government is due to pay $117m on two of its dollar-denominated bonds on Wednesday.
“Claims that Russia cannot fulfil its sovereign debt obligations are untrue,” Siluanov said. “We have the necessary funds to service our obligations.”

The finance ministry said it had approved a temporary procedure to allow banks to make payments in foreign currency, but said the possibility of those payments going through would depend on sanctions.

Several Russian banks have been banned from the SWIFT international payments network, hampering efforts to move money outside Russia.
Payments in ‘roubles’
If payments are not possible, Siluanov said, Russia “is ready to make payments in roubles” according to the exchange rate of Russia’s central bank on the day of the payment, including its Eurobond issued since 2018.
Western sanctions on Moscow over its war in Ukraine delivered an unprecedented blow to Russia’s banking and financial system, with a large part of its foreign currency reserves frozen.

Russia has boosted efforts to prevent money from leaving its borders and to support the rouble, which has already seen a precipitous drop in value against the US dollar.

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Buhari Sacks CEOs Of DPR, PPPRA, PEF, Scraps Agencies

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The Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has officially scrapped the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF).
This was made known by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, while speaking on the side-lines of the inauguration of the boards of the Nigerians Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, Naija News reports.

He stated that the Buhari-led administration has also sacked the chief executive officers of the three agencies.

According to the minister, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, the NPRA and NURC had taken over the functions of the DPR, PPPRA and PEF.

On the DPR’s fate following the inauguration of the board of NURC, Sylva said, “It is now a matter of law.

“The law states that all the assets and even the staff of the DPR are to be invested on the commission and also in the authority. So that means the DPR doesn’t exist anymore.

“And, of course, the law specifically repeals the DPR Act, the Petroleum Inspectorate Act, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Act and the PPPRA Act. The law specifically repeals them. It is very clear that those agencies do not exist anymore.”

Speaking on what would happen to their CEOs, he said, “The law also provides for the staff and the jobs in those agencies to be protected.

“But I’m sure that that doesn’t cover, unfortunately, the chief executives, who were on political appointments.”

The minister revealed that the process of integrating the workers of the scrapped agencies with the new bodies has already started

“The authority has its staff coming from the defunct PEF, PPPRA and DPR. The commission has staff coming over from DPR and the process is going on for the next few weeks,” he said.

Credit: naijanews.com

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