The outcome of the Edo State Governorship Election held on September 28, 2016, which produced a winner in the mold of Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki of the All Progressive Congress, has been widely acknowledged as representing the collective decision of Edo people, except in a particular section of the opposition where some troubleshooters are stoking the fire of dissent by questioning the legitimate expression of the people’s collective fundamental right to choose those they feel are qualified to lead them.
Through sponsored statements in the mass media (print and electronic, social and regular), rowdy street demonstrations, and other available fora, these loose cannons have been casting aspersions on the credibility of the exercise of September 28th, accusing the Independent National Electoral Commission, the APC, the security services, and other imagined parties of supposedly influencing the process and outcome of the election to favour the candidate of the ruling party.
However, any objective observer of the ongoing brouhaha will concur that it is one of the traditional hallmarks of politics in Nigeria. Our politicians are simply sorry losers who never accept it when they are defeated by more acceptable candidates in electoral contests. Can anybody point to any election from our tainted past that was controversy free? Has there ever been any election in this country where the losers did not complain of foul play by their victorious opponents? That is why the ongoing ruckus in Edo State should not surprise any good student of Nigeria’s hazy political history.
The accusations being flung around by the chief opposition in the state are as frivolous as they are ill-conceived, and should not be given any serious consideration by any sane mind. The opposition elements, by their latest indiscretions, have inadvertently owned up to the past atrocities they mercilessly perpetrated against the electorate for several years; a shameless admittance of their past crimes against Edo people; a true confession of the indecent and barbarous manner they consistently circumvented the people’s will in the past, without redress from any quarter; a cataleptic revelation of the hideous skeletons in their cupboard; an obtrusive disclosure of the gory contents of a can of worms that had remained hidden from public view until recently – expiation of a pettiness that is as rank as it is villainous.
One wonders the kind of outcome the impish elements in the opposition camp expected from an election they had already lost before it was even held, judging from the negative vibrations emanating from the public, which were tilted against their party and its unpopular candidate, prior to voting day. How did they expect to win a contest they were ill-equipped and unprepared to participate in, considering the weak candidate that bore their banner on D-Day? What did they really bring to the table on election day apart from the grandiose promises they had no means of ever fulfilling were they voted into office? For these debauched characters to even suggest that their summary defeat at the polls was due to a conspiracy is an insult to the collective intelligence of Edo people who collectively voted their conscience on September 28th. That a crop of fraudulent characters whose only motivation for aspiring to public office is to amass public wealth, are the same ones accusing others of stealing, sounds as hollow as it is preposterous; it is malapropism of the highest order; a play on words that is as despicable as it is damning.
Another comical side to the whole drama is the caliber of clowns and spent forces supposedly spearheading the campaign for the cancellation of the election, which consists of jobless activists, sham pastors, hungry touts, brainless party bootlickers, and other hired ignoramuses – a bewildered herd of frustrated incarnations of stupidity in search of free meal tickets; a colony of dishonourable mercenaries doing the bidding of their desperate, inglorious paymasters; animals in human skin without substance.
Just like I advised in an earlier piece, any individual or group that feels aggrieved by the outcome of the election should feel free to forward their complaints to an electoral tribunal or court of competent jurisdiction set up to resolve electoral disputes in Nigeria, with facts and figures to support their allegations, and desist forthwith from disturbing public peace in the name of solidarity matches and other unruly acts of civil disobedience that are capable of causing social disharmony if care is not taken.
A precedent on how to peacefully and constructively protest perceived electoral injustice was set when, consequent to the gapping inconsistencies that accompanied the Gubernatorial Election of 2007, for which the then ruling party was unjustly declared winner, the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), now the All Progressive Congress (APC), went to court to legitimately protest the outcome of that election, and after a prolonged legal battle, won a resounding victory that returned its stolen mandate; a victory that was due largely to the fact that it had hard facts to back up its claims. There is no reason why the opposition currently crying foul can’t do the same in the current dispensation, if, as is being claimed, there is “documented evidence” to back up such claims, rather than stirring up trouble unnecessarily.
When a poorly prepared, physically challenged combatant gets roundly beaten by a stronger opponent, he blames it on forces beyond his control – which could be the umpire, spectators or some other contrived fiends – and proceeds to boast that on a good day he would have crushed his nemesis without even raising a limb, ignoring the fact that he lost because he was both physically, technically and tactically unprepared to win the duel in the first place.
Agreed that the election of September 28, 2016, was not perfect – no election ever is – any critical, unbiased analysis of the events of that day across all the eighteen local government areas of the state would logically arrive at the balanced conclusion that the battle of that day was won by the best prepared, most popular, and fittest contestant. The facts are there for all to see. What are we still arguing about?