Edo Election, A Good Omen For Our Democracy -By Okangla Stephen Peter
It is glorious that we are changing the narrative, it is great that we are responding to the drummers, singers and dancers in our political space positively, telling them, “Our Mumu don do!”
I followed keenly and read widely the reactions that pop out from the recently concluded Edo election, I must confessed I am not only satisfied but overwhelmed with joy and hope for Nigeria.
It used to be my heartache in the yesteryears, it used to be a tumor in our brain as youth and up-and-coming leaders to be fed with the assumption that, no matter how good and great your ideas and manifesto may appear, you will go no-where if you do not secure the backing and blessing of the so called god-fathers in your political terrain.
I am extremely happy because of the verb “used”, this significantly explains that we are coming off the era and age when we left our destinies in the hands of greedy and power drunk individuals. It is becoming a history and gradually we are taking the lead. This article aim at extolling the conduct of Edo gubernatorial election and to further recommend ways to sustain it for the benefits of the larger society.
As a lover of democracy, I followed up all the happenings in Edo state. Starting from the conduct of the primary elections, campaign and to the conduct of the election proper. My message to Nigerians is, “no matter how good evil and impunity are dress and present, it won’t stand the test of time, it will fall and great shall be its fall”.
You would recall and buy my view that the way and manner in which Governor Godwin Obaseki was disqualified from contesting the gubernatorial election on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is not dissimilar to political coup d’état, robbery, thuggery and gangsterism.What a shocker! A sitting governor is not qualify to seek re-election? How did he get elected in the first place? Was it not the so called “defective certificates” now manufactured and sold by the political Goliath from his terrain not what brought him first to power as Governor of Edo state? Even the massive defense from the premier University, the University of Ibadan clearing the air on the defectiveness of Obaseki’s B.Sc. Certificate could not save him from the claws of the political lords who are bent on frustrating and thwarting his re-election.
It should be put on record here that my expression is not born out of prejudice for anyone or political party neither is it targeted at ridiculing the reputation of any.
It is in the exercise of my right as provided in in Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution oftheFederal Republic of Nigeria as amended that I consciously write and not to abuse same for the benefits of Nigerians. It should be reiterated if possible for a million time that the destiny of Nigerians lie in their hands and not another whomsoever. The development in Edo state is commendable not for the fact that Gov. Obaseki won the election but for the fact that Nigerians are retracing their steps and changing the political jingles. It is a clear indication that we are becoming politically cultured, mannered, socialized and matured. The conduct of Edo election is not only a good omen for our democracy but also a recipe for growth, peace, unity and societal development. The conduct of the election has proven that conducting a credible election in Nigeria is never a rocket science. It only demand the sincere commitment of our Government, Stakeholders, Security Agencies, Politicians, Voters and the electoral umpire.
I am exhilarated that we have come to understand that the countless bullion vans that are driven about and the pile of cash that are bandied about by politicians during elections to buy votes and cause mayhem will not in any way salvage our state of squalor, servitude and economic doom. But will continuously compromise and sabotage our security, growth and livelihood.
I therefore submit at this point that Edo election is the most credible of all election in the history of Nigeria as there were minute record and report of violence, ballot box snatching and stuffing, shooting, killing, maiming, intimidation, thugs invasion and disruption of the process. Available reports show that the security agencies deployed to voting centers conducted themselves in high sense of professionalism, voters were civil and the electoral umpire were independent and professional in the conduct of the election.
The most important lesson to learn from the conduct of Edo election is not just the end of god-fatherism in Edo politics as opined and pontificated by many, but the clear picture that it has presented that in a democratic society, power resides in the people and not the few individuals in control of government machinery.Edo election will in no doubt serve as a reference point for the conduct of future elections and set a model for our elections now and tomorrow. It is indeed a good omen for Nigerian democracy.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
In a nutshell, in all our doing, we must acknowledge the fact that power belongs to God and he alone can determine who wields it. We should learn to appreciate the fact that politics shouldn’t be a tit for tat game and should be devoid of vendetta, this is the only way we could sustain our growth, unity and development. Nigerians have been buried in various forms political injustice for long and it’s high time we pull ourselves out of the political grave. Edo election should serve as an eye opener to other states including the Federal Capital Territory that power truly resides in the people and that god-fatherism and political injustice could be fought and won!
Before I drop my pen, I must commend the international community in no little for positively influencing the outcome of the Edo election. The visa barn slammed on some political players in Nigeria by United States Government for various acts of electoral fraud during the 2019 general election sent a strong message and warning to others who might want to indulge in same.
I therefore urge the United Kingdom, European Union and others to follow suit as that will save and secure the future of Nigeria politically.
Worth commending is our security agencies who for the first time displayed neutrality and professionalism in the conduct of Elections in Nigeria.Edo election should bring to life the phrase “gone are those days” in our political space.
To sustain the temple, INEC must replicate the conduct of Edo election in future elections across the thirty six states of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, government at all levels must continually provide a level playing field for all contenders.
Finally, I must commend the Edo people for standing out by conducting themselves in high sense of civility, indeed they are model to others in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
Okangla Stephen Peter
University of Maiduguri
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