EDO 2020: STILL A FRUIT FROM A POISONED TREE
By Ubaka Okofu
Even if it’s true that the kind of violence and malpractices witnessed in previous elections were negligible in Edo governorship election, yet we cannot totally rule out vote buying, intimidation and sundry nondescript acts associated with electioneering in most difficult terrains of the country. Let’s not be deceived by all the testimonies of observers, (both local and international) their observations were limited to the metropolises of Benin City, Auchi and Ekpoma.
It’s an open secret that results from remote council areas such as Ikpoba/Okha, Ovia North and Ovia North-East are ordinarily suspected to have been manipulated. It suffices here to say that we didn’t exactly and completely pass the Edo litmus test. We had rather wait for Ondo election on October 10th, and subsequent elections before we can beat our chests and say we are there! A lot still needs to be done. Take it or leave it, Edo 2020, is still a fruit from a poisoned tree!
Those who determine the way election results go in this country are rich politicians, business moguls, traditional rulers, motor park touts (agberos), and youth leaders. The electorate only end up as tools in the hands of politicians. There was, and still are cracks in Edo APC. All the rigging machineries in the state had to cross over to the other side. What we saw in Edo state was scripted long before September 19th, and a deliberate act to undermine the fame and confidence of Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and all he stands for in the South south of the country.
No doubt, the Edo election has been won and lost. The victory in the election cannot deodorize the tyranny in Godwin Obaseki considering the denial of representation of 14 constituencies in the State House of Assembly. Till the point of going into the election, the governor refused to inaugurate by proclamation duly elected law makers of more than half of the 24 member Edo state House of Assembly.
Several reasons abound for this writer being pessimistic over the much touted victory of Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples’ Democratic Party. First is that Obaseki exhibited uncommon desperation to remain in office. Save for Samuel Ortom of Benue state, Obaseki is the latest Governor to have contested and won elections back to back on the platform of the two largest parties in Nigeria.
Over the years, Nigerians had witnessed the dearth of political ideology among politicians. What is being experienced now is that politicians dump party’s membership as quickly upon failure to secure nomination. This wasn’t the case in the 1960s, and the brief transition of the 1980s, when politicians were committed to their parties rather than the benefits accruable as members of such party as the ultimate.
It might sound absurd, yet the election of September 19th would go down for the people of Edo as a pyrrhic victory. One bought at a huge cost. If we must skip all the shenanigans associated with politicking in the country, we still have to surmount the complicity of the some government agencies assigned with the electoral tasks. The complacency on the part of the electorate is also worrisome.
It’s imperative to emphasize the political desperation exhibited by the incumbent governor before the election. Pulling down the roof of the Dennis Osadebey/Edo State House of Assembly complex in the guise of undertaking repairs in the premises is preposterous. Why would a democrat shiver over unconfirmed rumours of impeachment? Worse was denying constituents in 14 constituencies’ representation. Only 10 out of the 24 constituencies were inaugurated through a proclamation by the governor on June of 2019, and it was even done in suspicious and unofficial circumstances. One year, and still counting, the governor has not seen any reason to redress the situation. How does this qualify Obaseki as a democrat?
Merely hailing the people of Edo and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress headed by President Buhari for their doggedness and neutrality respectively is also not a true picture of what had happened in Edo on September 19th. Whenever the APC wins an election, it was rigged with the security agencies and umpire aiding its’ victory. But, when an opposition party wins, the election is credible, fair and free. We must purge ourselves of these presumptions.
Edo 2020 portrayed the Nigerian electorate as not only gullible but too insensitive to understand the labyrinth of politics. If not, how would the same Obaseki who had denied the people of Ovia North, Ovia North-east, Oredo West, Oredo East, Egor, Uhunmwonde, parliamentary representation for more than a year now be said to have won elections in those constituencies unless elections were rigged there in his favour?