By Steve Nwosu
There’s a reason I don’t want to ‘overcelebrate’ the outcome of the weekend’s governorship election in Edo State. And it is not because I’d be accused of being a PDP apologist.
It is also not because the courts and the tribunals have yet to vote. Neither is it because, like in Imo State, I have not confirmed who actually came fourth, nor which party’s logo was not included on the ballot paper (Bayelsa), nor why INEC decided to print the names of the big parties at the top of the ballot paper, instead of alphabetically.
Yes, all the people whose noses have been bloodied, and whose egos have been badly bruised, are prancing all over cyberspace, with eyes redder than their bloodied noses, looking for those gloating over the alleged demystification of godfathers, the slap on Ganduje’s face and the hyping of Wike’s intervention.
They are looking for the slightest reason to pounce on just anybody – in a clear case of transferred aggression. Rather than accept the loss as a consequence of their own miscalculations – a fallout of one man playing tingod, and another playing Deputy God, they’re looking for ‘traitors’ and scapegoats.
They don’t want to accept the fact that the Edo election was less of whom the electorate voted for than who they voted against.
They also don’t want to accept that although APC (and its variant) has held it for 12 years now, Edo, like most South-South and South-East states, is basically a PDP state. They forget that the Adams Oshiomhole governorship happened in the first place because PDP messed itself up in the eight years between 1999 and 2007, thus providing the pedestal to launch a then-hugely popular labour leader into Osadebey House.
Even then, as Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the then governor of Osun State, told some of us then in Osogbo, the situation in Edo was a case of PDP-One defeating PDP-Two. In other words, Oshiomhole could not have happened without the PDP leadership (both locally and nationally) working for him.
But Oshiomhole soon consolidated and dared his godfathers (or switched godfathers). And he not only got away with, to secure his second tenure, but also installed a successor in Godwin Obaseki.
But, just as Oshiomhole fell out with his original godfather at the end of his first tenure, his own godson also fell out with him on the eve of his own quest for re-election. And since the ex-governor would have no taste of the sour delicacy he gleefully loads onto others’ platters, he decided to play God, by (as Chinua Achebe would say) challenging his own ‘Chi’ to a wrestling match.
The real reason I don’t want to be caught gloating over Edo is because Ondo is just a stroll across the border, and the governorship election there is around the corner.
I don’t want to appear to be mocking the powers that be, so they don’t get tempted to return to their old tricks.
I know partisans will reach back to President Muhammadu Buhari to ‘blackmail’ with talk of how he’s idly sitting and watching the decimation of APC, and how he must do something about it.
Dear, Mr. President, we understand that you should be concerned about the electoral fortunes of your party, and we would understand that you’d want to do something to save the situation. However, ensure that the ‘something’ you’ll do is both legal and ethical. Let the constitution and the electoral guidelines be your guide. Stick to the path of justice and equity. Give your party all the support you can legally give.
Anybody who thinks he’s popular should go to the field and win his elections, and not necessarily ride on the criminal ‘Federal Might’. Ensure that the Supreme Court has no ‘vote’, except to, like other courts, dispassionately interpret the law. Explain to the military and othe security operatives that the bullets in their guns do not approximate to veto votes. Convenience all the relevant agencies that election day duty is not another name for money-making rackets.
Sir, your legacy will not be judged by how many states you captured for the APC, but by the fidelity you brought into our electoral system.
Sir, isn’t it instructive that, despite the few incidences of violence, non-partisan observers and election monitors are in a near-unanimity on the transparency of the Edo election? Was this the case with the last governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa? Are you in doubt that nobody would wave an insulting visa ban regime before you as a result of this Edo election?
Mr. President, sir, I dare say that credible elections actually hold the key to the solution of most of the problems causing you sleepless nights and frightful days in the country today.
Secure the kingdom of transparent election today, and everything would be added onto you – from better security to better economy and even more resounding success in the anti-graft war.
It means there would be repercussion for fumbling governments and their appointees and agencies. It means that on election judgement day, the people and the system will cleanse and renew the polity. It means people would take their briefs seriously, knowing that there’d be no way to rig themselves back to power after failing to deliver on their first outing.
Let no one misled you into believing that your party cannot win Ondo unless you bend the rules, or look the other way while others did the bending. And if indeed you need to compromise the system before APC can win, it then means its initial victory was contrived in the first place, by a party leadership that was bent on creating the false impression of popular acceptance.
So, Mr. President, continue to clean this Augean Stable. For you really have nothing to lose, except probably the loyalty of persons who want to illicitly ride on your back to perpetrate the very ills you have always wanted to stamp out.
So, sir, I’m still keeping my champagne on ice, waiting to pop it only after we have repeated the same feat in Ondo – irrespective of which party carries the day.
For this reason, I’ll not also go into identifying the winners and losers of Edo. I’d rather say that we’re all winners. For it is the triumph of democracy, and, I believe, all democrats must be happy at the outcome.
But, let’s face it, did anybody forget that it was Edo governorship? Of course, handsome men don’t win it. It is in the native constitution!