Oshiomhole: And The Ayes Have It

The way and manner the Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole routed the PDP candidate in the just concluded Edo State governorship election showed that if they have a system that can be trusted to allow them make the best possible choice on who governs them, Nigerians can make a difference with democracy. It shows that Nigerians can still make the best of our wobbly and highly lacerated electoral system and the hugely mutilated democracy we have been saddled with since 1999. It shows that Nigerians still have a good grasp of their expectations from democracy and how it can best serve them despite the multifarious distortions and manipulations that have been brought to deface it. The resounding trashing Oshiomhole gave to the cult of fixers, godfathers and shibboleths who have sat on the Edo politics for long and employed it not as a means of uplifting the people but satiating their ancient greed and rapacious tendencies. The victory came with a clear and cadent intent of retiring the recalcitrant godfathers and their minions, if only they can learn and decode the message of the people. It was obvious that the victory transcends Oshiomhole as a person but is a victory of not only determined Edorites but all Nigerians that desire for change, good governance and a facelift to what we have at present. The victory belongs to Edorites and indeed Nigerians whose hopes for a credible democracy had serially been dashed by those who see democracy as a malleable tool in their sly hands.

As the Edo election approached, it was very obvious that the PDP had anchored its hope for a miracle on its power and capacity to spin results from nothing. It had structured its obscene and loud intent to replace a performing governor on its notorious ability to forge electoral results in Nigeria from its expansive industry of electoral malfeasance. The Edo PDP and its fading godfathers were re-assured that it would be given the power to decide its own results, write its report card and divert the result of the election to favour it, even when it was obvious that it was facing a horrible hiding in the impending election. So it is within this prism that one locates its increasing confidence in the face of a withering political reality. It is within this negative mantra that one locates the wild boasts and loud affirmations that hit the PDP as an election it was clearly trailing badly approached. It was certain that the powers that be had assured the rank and file of Edo PDP that it faced no skin pain in its arduous task to upstage a performing incumbent. For a party that believes that an end justifies the means, it was so easy for the PDP and its few members and supporters in Edo to believe that it would clearly upstage Oshiomhole and the ACN in a state the PDP had woefully failed and the later had performed to the admiration of all.

So the sponsored viewpoints and patronizing media analysis that gave Edo State to the PDP, which were generously laundered on the media, as the election approached were merely efforts put at the ready, to justify a possible electoral heist on July 14. The many unintelligent media efforts that parceled the state to one dying godfather or the other merely insulted the people of Edo State and saw them as robots to be employed by any besotted godfather for his fancies. The many media views that latched on groundless reasons to award Edo to the PDP were mere sponsored efforts to justify the well known notoriety of the PDP with the possible hope that such could influence or mutilate the views of the many who saw a landslide for Oshiomhole as the election drew nearer. Even with no known reality supporting the wild hallucination of the PDP for power in Edo, the party and its patronizing propagandists never flagged to rub it in that nothing would stop it from rebounding in an Edo State it despoiled and laid waste for ten harrowing years. With Edo people showing open and unbridled hostility to such dream and with its members voting with their feet to ditch the party, its hierarchs, its enablers and speculators were sounding increasingly confident of winning the state back as the election drew near.

On election day, the Edo people trooped out in unprecedented numbers with one mission in mind; to return the man they know and damn the recurrent forces of darkness that were lousily threatening to re-captivate them and herd them into a fresh regime of bondage. While it lasted and with the collaborative shenanigans INEC threw up on election day, the Edo people resolved not to take any chances in dealing a deep gash to the audacious godfathers and their minions. As the results poured in confirming their victory, the people, without prodding, trooped out in spontaneous gaiety to celebrate and all Edo became one huge carnival that attests to the supremacy of the people, as the ancient soul of democracy. One can imagine what the picture would have been if the dark forces had succeeded in stealing the mandate of the Edo people as they boasted.

But it was obvious that democracy, even in the defaced and jaundiced form we have known in Nigeria these past thirteen years, would have suffered further degradation if Oshiomhole was displaced by the PDP. It would have been a direct blow to democracy for a performing governor to be replaced with a party that had not only failed woefully but has demonstrated the fact that electoral positions are for the grand satiation of the interests of the slave masters and free loaders that have parceled all the political spaces for their selfish interests. The victory was particularly sweet for the way and manner Oshiomhole dealt all the notorious political manipulators in Edo State in their very backyards. It was a horrible hiding and marks the final interment of godfather and godson politics in Edo. It is a red card served those who arrogantly claim the political space of Edo to give as they please. By the spread of his victory, its overwhelming nature and the margin with which he routed his opponents, Oshiomhole proved what I wrote in my report preceding the election to the effect that his challengers are notorious commanders that lack battalions. They were generals without army and their political empires are products of arcane forgery and fiction, which could be demystified with the resilience of the people to stand by their real electoral choices. This they did on July 14, thus confirming the fact that those that had been threatening to take over Edo from Oshiomhole were empty political shells bereft of the critical support of the masses.

It was not as if these ramparts failed for lack of effort. They did what they usually do in such elections and they put in their best but they did not have an answer for the raw determination of the people of Edo State to sever the sash of political masters and break the yoke of political slavery, which had ruined the state since the present dysfunctional democracy berthed. The exhausted the contents of their dictionary of electoral vice but these were not enough to still the well expressed resolve of the people not to cede grounds to these leviathans. They found it difficult to break through the impregnable determination of the average Edo man to shun the tasks of molten gods and irreverent slave masters who have ensured that the country’s political space is reserved for them and their anointed god sons and hirelings. They never reckoned with the expressed wish of a people to have for themselves a government that would attend to the general good and level the high mountains of ineffectuality that had been erected in Edo since 1999. So their efforts was primed to meet a collision with the determination and resolve of Edo people to affirm a governor that has worked for and with them for four years and has demystified the jinxes and negative ennui that have been decreed on Edo State. The forces of retrogression planned a showdown with the people of Edo and wonder is how they thought they would have withstood the people in this roiling battle. What would surprise any keen observer of the intrigues that attended

the just concluded election remains how these forces of Hades fancied their chances against the solid and impregnable determination of Edo people to return Oshiomhole. It is doubtful if they never saw or fathomed this grand collision but it is very certain they believed they would over run the people with the traditional brashness with which they force several electoral frauds on the Nigerian people.

The victory of Oshiomhole, even with all the intentional bottlenecks brought on the process, is an eternal dedication to vigilance for were the people forced to slumber, they would have woken up on the laps of the lascivious godfathers that had already primed the state for dinner. The people stood down the rage of shibboleths and political predators to claim their state and it is a wakeup call for all Nigerians to fight for their political space from those that have employed shrifts and electoral chicanery to politically dupe and short change them. The message is that Nigerians must fight for their political freedom from those that have placed them on bondage and the moment any political office holder knows that he must justify his mandate for him to expect more voter patronage, attitude and approach to political office would change with emphasis placed on performance and satisfying the people.

So Adams Oshiomhole should see his resounding victory as a tribute to dedication to duty and a demand to do more and further banish the specters of disaster and woes his predecessors brought to bear on Edo. He should see his victory as a great approval rating and now, his eyes should turn to history’s placement. He should endeavor to script his name in the golden urn of Edo and Nigerian politics with greater stellar performance than he did in his first term. He should continue with the same pace or even greater pace than the one that secured for him this laudable victory. He should re-double his efforts to give Edo the best in the next four years for I understand that was the message Edo people sent with the resounding manner they returned him for a second term.

All said, the naysayers have had their days in the sun. They have put in their best to stop the wind with their bare hands. They have done their best to corner what rightly belongs to the people. They denied that Oshiomhole was working. They denied his verifiable achievements. They misinformed on his standing with the people and formed a mass of naysayers to his return. But the people who feel it and know it feel otherwise. They feel Oshomhole has justified another term and on the day of decision, they had their way and with one loud and almost united voice shouted “Ayes” to the question of his return to the job. And the ayes have it in Edo.

Written by
Peter Claver Oparah
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