On Wednesday, September 28th 2016, most indigenes of Edo state from home and abroad and from all works of life are expected to have arrived in the state to exercise their civic rights. They are all expected to vote for a new governor who will preside over the affairs of the state, for another four years.
This particular election to the general belief of the people outside Edo state is neither about the APC mouthed performance under Oshiomole nor about the PDP lack of performance in the past years…it is also not about Godwin Obaseki’s acclaimed economic expertise/wizardry, which is yet to be proved nor is it about his presumed ability to hit the ground running once he is elected a Governor.
This election is about the soul and the betterment of Edo State, it is also a calculated attempt to reclaim our state from the grips of a political despot. Available evidence so far, has shown that there are two front runners in the forthcoming election, out of which one is most outstanding and ready for the job. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, no doubt, is far more prepared as a candidate for the office of Edo State Governor and if given the chance, he could turn the fortune of the state around and make Edo state great once again.
The September 28 election is simply a fight to rescue Edo state from the grip of some evil persons in the corridor of power in Benin City. From the moves made so far in Abuja and Benin, Edo people are not unaware that the fight ahead is going to be a tough one. Interestingly, majority of Edo people are determined to fight for the liberation of the state from the self acclaimed Emperor- like misbehavior of Adams Oshiomole. Majority of the Edo people have long made up their minds and are prepared to face the odds with a will that knows no defeat, using their civic rights as their armour, and the Sword of Truth as their weapon.
They are determined to confront the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), Oshiomole and his anointed political son, Godwin Obaseki in a fierce battle of wits.
But for whatsoever it is worth, majority of the people in the state are ready to ensure that their will prevail no matter the intended APC magic. This determination has unsettled the Edo State APC as they already smell defeat. They know they might lose Edo state to PDP.
As expected, all manner of reasons have so far been adduced by the APC propaganda machines, as the party perfects its plans to rig the forthcoming Governorship election. Already in the public domain, is some of the decisions reached in the all night meeting of September 13, 2016 which took place in the Edo State Governor’s office in Benin City, where a firm decision was reached, that by all means possible electoral materials should not be supplied to places where APC is likely to lose electoral votes in the state. At that same meeting, the intimidating tactics to be deployed by APC thugs on that day were said to have been perfected. Sadly, this plot is alleged to have been witnessed and had the active support of some INEC officials within and outside the state.
The postponement of the Edo State Governorship election from 10th to 28thSeptember, therefore, was one of the final moves to perfect and solidify arrangements for this shameful act of election rigging.The INEC decision to shift the date of the election was not only carried out in bad faith but the outrage that followed was an indication that all is not yet well with our polity. Fair minded Nigerians never hid their feelings; they expected mixed reactions in various ways and manner. An example is a veteran journalist, Oni-Onusola Gbenga whose moniker is “Benin Angle Gabriel,” although apolitical, he is a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC government, he is known to be a fair and objective commentator on national issues. He reacted to the Edo State Governorship election postponement in this manner on his Facebook wall: “Now, the news has been confirmed and leaves me really bewildered.
I wonder what sort of threat the insurgents pose that cannot be neutralized if the police already have the intelligence as they claim. Are the insurgents more powerful than the state? Why is the police unwittingly conceding superiority to the insurgents? This does not paint government in good light at all.
Now, some people have begun, justifiably, I would say to impute some ulterior, lesser than noble motives to the security report which they believe is farce. The thesis goes that it is the APC Federal Government that is attempting to use the concocted security report as subterfuge to postpone the ‘evil day of the polls. That if elections are held on September 10 as scheduled, APC feared it would lose the state to PDP.”
In the same vain, Dr. Sylvester Odion Akhaine, a political science lecturer at the Lagos State University, reacted thus to the postponement; “I am surprised about the political situation in Edo state and extremely worried that democracy in Nigeria is heading for the rock. Therefore, I wish to make the following remarks:- That since 1999 when Nigeria returned to liberal democratic order, it has not made any major democratic gain and democracy has been largely observed in the deficit than in its essentiality.That the optimism of the Nigerian people has kept Nigerian democracy alive despite its asphyxiation by self-serving political elite. That Edo state has been particularly unlucky by being the dumping ground of imposed state executives bereft of any idea of how to turn the civil-service state around in the last 17 years of civil dispensation. That the Edo people should be given the unhindered opportunity to express their franchise and choose from among those vying for their mandate. That on the question of who governs the state, the Edo people retain the veto”.
Hear lies the crux of the matter. The right of the people to choose whosoever governs them is what Oshiomole deliberately wants to remove. Now that Oshiomole has done his beat and he is about to quit office after eight years as governor of Edo State, must he impose a candidate on the Edo people willy-nilly, in the name of continuity?
Especially now, that the principles upon which Edo state was created have been eroded by his administration’s tactical moves. For the benefits of those people who are not too familiar with the principles that led to the creation of Edo state, the state was created in order to unify the various elements of communities, to crystalize the natural aspirations of our people, to express in concrete form the trend of public opinion, and to emancipate our states from the manacles of political bondage. If one may ask, how far, did Oshiomole’s government help in the realization of these aims and objectives? The political, cultural and other tribal gulfs that today exist between the Etsako, Esan and the Binis more than ever before are there for all to see. The details of this matter are already in public glare; suffice it to observe that, at this critical period of our national humiliation due to the poor handling of the nation’s economy by the APC government at the center, the determination of the Edo people to obtain victory in the September 28th election is barricaded by enemies within and outside. Happily, the Edo people have also resolved, to ensure that victory at the polls is attained come September 28th.
A question that must never be ignored is how far did the Oshiomole’s government succeed in unifying the various elements of our communities? As far as I know, he never took any concrete active steps to create a spirit of oneness among our heterogeneous people; instead, he deliberately expanded the gap just to achieve his political ends. Oshiomole’s eight years rule in Edo state was characterized by arrogance and haughty conducts. The “go and die” case of the Benin widow is still very fresh in our memory. The policy of the outgoing government in Edo state is a reliable index of the prospects for the future if an APC candidate retains power. Must we continue in this unprofitable way? I say “NO”. I say without equivocation that such policy has been formulated in accordance with the logic of imperialism, buttressed by a false belief about the incapacity of our people to develop initiative. Now is the time to give another person the opportunity to redirect the affairs of our state. I will be in Edo state to vote, I, therefore, urge all well-meaning indigenes of the state to come out en masse and vote and defend their votes no matter the intimidation. The Edo State Police command, which is alleged to be an accomplice in this devilish plot, should be careful not to ignite an orgy of violence in Edo State. The days of political brigandage are over for good. Edo state is ours, we must reclaim it for a new direction.
Gabriel Omonhinmin is a media consultant based in Lagos.