So who Rigged the Osun Election?

Nobody really thought that the electoral revolution that took

place in Ekiti State was going to take place and shape – and honestly, I

didn’t. In fact, before that election, there had been several outcries that the

election was not going to be free and fair, and that votes were not going to

count. So many of the members of the

opposition, whose perception of opposition unfortunately is in the art and

science of hurling insults at government and at deploying irresponsible

sobriquets at it, travelled to Anambra. Most of us watching from the sidelines

did not really understand what an El-Rufai was going to do in Anambra State on

the very eve of the elections. Was he a grassroots campaigner or was he going

there as an accredited election monitor? If El-Rufai had been in Anambra state

at least three to six months before that election in Anambra, nobody would be

raising eyebrows that he was there in the thick of the campaigns and that the

SSS were unnecessary being malicious in locking him up in his room when they

did – and to protect him from the angry Anambrarians who felt piqued at his

taking them for granted by his highly provocative visit. I often like to quote

my oga at the top, Mr. Sam Kargbo, who writes for the Daily Independent Newspaper. His article titled, ‘Revisiting

Fashola’s politics and development’, published on Thursday 21st 2014

eloquently captures what the so-called political elite should have done and be

doing instead of running political opponents down. Hear him: ‘Democracy has its

challenges, but the greatest challenge we are facing is the challenge of

building a political class capable of managing resources for the benefit of the

people. In this respect, the elite must

join the political arena and participate actively in campaigns, elections and

all aspects of politics including the molding and creation of a critical mass

of voters capable of putting into elective offices, people of proven integrity

and competence.

This was the agenda that the opposition did not set for

itself against the backdrop of the Ekiti election – Ekiti then suddenly became

a mecca for politicians who had never set foot on Ekiti soil either as visitors

or campaigners for their party. Now please do not get me wrong here – there is

nothing in the books that says that politicians cannot go to a state to

campaign but if it would have been downright irresponsible if the government

had folded its arms and legs, albeit in the spirit of political tolerance, to allow

certain people to go Ekiti to ‘campaign’ just twenty four hours before the

elections proper. Twenty four hours before the elections, Ekiti suddenly began

to teem and swarm with politicians with fat wallets, ready to rock the state.

They were not allowed in, and the result of that election is comfortably

nestled somewhere in history as the local equivalent of the Arab Spring and of

the June 12 presidential election – nothing else in the annals of our political

experience could explain how that election happened the way it happened unless

the government took proactive steps.

But some Nigerians are indeed terrible sports and such sore

losers. Even with the Ekiti Arab Spring where a defeated governor conceded

defeat and congratulated his opponent, the opposition still went on to allege

that the elections were rigged in favour of the PDP because the government did

the needful by deploying a sizable proportion of security men and women and

patriots determined to forestall the mayhem and pandemonium that the opposition

had arranged. The opposition did not

stop at that. Incredibly, they have

listened to some practitioners of the law seeking to benefit from the electoral

process and they have gone to court to challenge our Arab Spring of an election

in Ekiti State.

For me, what compounds the credibility ratio and index

unfavourable to the opposition is that in the build up to the elections in

Osun, they began to play mind games with everyone. They alleged that the PDP

was going to rig the elections. That allegation was hinged on the theory that

since the PDP won the elections in Ekiti state with a huge draft of security

men and women to Osun, it was going to win the Osun election as well.

Therefore, having boxed everyone in a corner with their rhetoric, the APC

resorted to issuing threats, the most serious one of them being that it was

going to form a parallel government in the event that it did not win the

elections.

The Osun elections have come and gone, and the APC won by a

very slim margin in a keenly contested election, and under a playing field

adjudged by us all as level. Many people have said that the PDP lost because

its candidate was a hard sell. I do not know about this. What I am sure of is

that Nigerian politicians are like the lawyers: they win a case and they

proceed to the rooftops to let the world know that the judicial system that

gave them victory is the best in the world; if they lose the case, they proceed

to the rooftops as well and tell you the judge erred in law, principle and

fact, and that the judgement is a travesty of the judicial system. For us to develop as a nation seeking to get

it right, politicians must learn to be mature and magisterial in their scope

and outlook concerning the political process.

Written by
Augustine Utoware Etemiku
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