Thursday, 24 September 2020 05:37

Edo election: Shape of things to come? - Bola Bolawole

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True is the saying that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan! While those on the sunny and shiny side of success are wont to beat their chest and amplify, even exaggerate, their contributions, those responsible for failure, as it were, are wont to shift blames and pass the buck. That has been playing out since last Saturday’s Edo state governorship election. Incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP won while Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC lost, both of them twice in a row.

A post-mortem of the election started even before it was concluded. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, ex-APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, who had literally carried Ize-Iyamu on his head, denounced INEC and vowed not to accept the yet-to-be-declared result. ‘Gandudollar’, who was supposed to have led his party to victory, abandoned the battlefield as defeat stared him in the face. APC National Leader, Mr Bola Tinubu, waxed lyrical after defeat, as a result of which I could not but ask whether Tinubu is also a poet!

The Oshiomhole group puts the blame of defeat on Tinubu for his ill-advised and hare-brained dying-minute broadcast “ordering” Edo people to reject Obaseki and vote Ize-Iyamu. Pundits say having been assured of APC victory, Tinubu proactively moved to position himself to lap up the victory but the move backfired and proved a costly gaffe instead of the deft political move it was intended to be. So has Tinubu needlessly exposed himself to public ridicule and odium!

But if Oshiomhole thinks he can dodge behind Tinubu in this matter, he fools himself. No other APC leader has done as much damage to the party as Oshiomhole. All over the country, Oshiomhole hurt APC badly; which was why the party had no candidates in the last General Election in Bayelsa and Zamfara, gifting PDP a virtual walk-over. Oshiomhole drove Obaseki out of APC, as it were, handing him over on a platter to PDP and returning to his vomit (Ize-Iyamu) of four years’ ago.

Oshiomhole personalised Ize-Iyamu’s campaign to a ridiculous extent, giving the impression that he alone had what it takes to wrest victory for his godson. In doing so, the tailor-turned-Labour leader-turned politician alienated virtually everyone that matters in the APC leadership – except, of course, Supreme Court-imposed Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State. Oshiomhole must have counted on “Federal might” and Tinubu on the power of Bullion vans. Both failed last Saturday in Edo for many reasons.

One is that the combination of Tinubu and Oshiomhole no longer evokes thunder in APC. The conspiracy against the two rules the waves at the moment. They are, therefore, like the proverbial leader not wanted in town but who, rather than recognise that fact and quietly go home, defiantly chose to lead praises at the village square! Who will chant the chorus after him? Many APC leaders worked in scantily-concealed ways and manners for their own party’s defeat in Edo last Saturday simply to spite Tinubu and Oshiomhole with a view to cutting them to size or rendering them completely emasculated politically.

Two: The fear of sanctions has become the beginning of wisdom for Buhari and his cohorts. The United States must have deliberately timed its sanctions on election riggers in Bayelsa and Kogi states as warning signals that any such impunity will not be tolerated in Edo. The UK also issued similar warnings. So, INEC and the Presidency’s hands were tied and they could not give the go-ahead in Edo for the kind of shenanigans that have seen the APC record “victory” after “victory” all over the country. Right from 2015, APC has not really won free and fair elections but has relied heavily on rigging, manipulations, vote-buying, intimidation, and court judgments. In free and fair elections, the party wouldn't be sitting in many of the offices it occupies today, including the presidency.

Three: For many reasons, the Edo people were determined and showed enough resolve and resilience to see their will prevail. That also sent warning signals to the seat of power. The country sits on kegs of gunpowder and hangs on tenterhooks already; it could be too dangerous to foment election trouble at this point in time. Remember Mali and be wise! As “Edo no be Lagos” became a powerful rallying force and battle cry just like “O to ge” in Kwara State in 2019, we could be closer to our own “Arab Spring” if we evoke “People Power” and set in motion a chain of reactions the end of which no one can predict.

APC took a very bad product to the market. The quantum of allegations trailing their flag bearer was too mind-boggling to be ignored; most of them revealed and amplified four years ago by Oshiomhole himself. It was foolish of APC to think it could white-wash such black market and sell to the Edo people. They must have reckoned, though, that since they succeeded with Buhari, why not with Ize-Iyamu? This time around, many factors worked against them!

Obaseki won last Saturday’s election not because of Obaseki; not because of his performance or because he is less a “sinner” than his opponent but because APC literally gave him a free ride. APC leaders by errors of omission and commission threw away that election. Many APC leaders chose to punish Oshiomhole and Tinubu rather than win Edo. They had their eyes on emerging political configurations towards 2023 which, to them, is a bigger picture than a mere governorship election. At any rate, Obaseki a few months ago was an APC governor and reports have it that he has an understanding with his colleagues in APC to return to the fold after a few months in office as a PDP governor. Such shenanigans!

The way Obaseki ran the majority members of the Edo State House of Assembly out of town cannot be condoned by any conscionable democrat. Obaseki’s action against the majority elected members that he kept in the cold was vile – although those ones, in putting their fate in Oshiomhole’s hands, actually did not act as true representatives of their various constituencies. They acted more like Oshiomhole’s errand boys than as honourable representatives of their people.

In all of this, I pity the people the most. Today, they rejoice that their man got the victory but I am sure you know that their victory song will soon turn into a dirge. The victory they celebrate today will soon become pyrrhic. In no time, the joy of the moment will turn into ashes in their mouth. That has been the enduring nature of our politics because the political leaders soon forget the people once they settle into office - and into good things. Ask the people of Kwara State who have started singing another “O to ge” to the same APC government they brought into power by singing “O to ge” to ex-Senate President Bukola Saraki and the PDP!

And if it turns out that Obaseki truly entered into a gentleman’s agreement with APC to go back to the party after some months, what will be the gains of PDP in all of this? Is it the cool “doughs” reportedly made by individual party leaders?

In conclusion, with the benefit of hindsight, it may be too early for the winners to rejoice and hope may not be totally lost yet for the presumed losers because, as someone cynically said, the most important voter – which is the Supreme Court of Nigeria – is yet to cast its vote in the Edo election! And its own vote carries veto power! Behold the “Supreme Court” Uzodinma of Imo State and be wise! So, anything can still happen! What a country!

 

...Paedophile case in Osun State: Judgment is today

Readers of this column must be familiar with the case of my four-year-old niece who was allegedly defiled by a vile paedophile. Judgment in that case comes up tomorrow at High Court 4, Osogbo, Osun state. Commenting on that case in the past, I had noted here that: “Rape cases have been on the increase. Paedophiles are also on rage. The impunity of these vicious elements is fuelled by the complicity of the law and duplicity of those in authority... Society has been viciously assaulted by cases of sex-for-marks in our institutions of higher learning and the stalking of innocent students by predator-lecturers... If nothing drastic is done, it will soon become an epidemic of unimaginable proportions...

Rather than abate, these heinous crimes have been on the rise. In fact, case after case of rape-and-murder has been recorded. On January 15th, 2019, my niece’s daughter was reportedly defiled by one Oyelakin Oluwatosin, the driver of the school bus driving her home from Charleston Group of Schools, Kelebe, Osogbo. The wife of the proprietor of the school, one Mrs. Eniola Badmus Adeyemi, had been my niece’s acquaintance.

At first, the authorities dithered and spirited efforts had to be made to ensure that the case was not swept under the carpet. May justice be served today!                   

  • Bola Bolawole

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