The just-concluded Edo Governorship Election was not just about who became Governor between Pastor Ize-Iyamu and incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki, it was also a defining assertive statement of who was the true deciding factor in the politics of the State against the backdrop of external influences championed by the great Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a respected Statesman of no mean repute and the avowed leader of all democrats in Nigeria.
As it turned out, the people of the great State of Edo overwhelmingly decided their fate by themselves. It was a bold and dashing statement of self-affirmation on their competence to glide, twist and turn the rudder of Edo politics as they please and however they wish.
The episode throws up many lessons. Top among them is the recognition and reward for good governance by the people for the work of the incumbent Governor who, over and above all else, has verifiable proofs of thousands of valuable jobs he has created for his people. It speaks volumes of his professional credentials as a private sector person with a deep understanding of the workings of government and the real pulse of governance.
Oddly, as we would have it, his questionable democratic credential as can be seen by how he has managed to ensure sections of the State remained without State legislative representation, appears to not be a big issue with the people. That is good for him. Whether it is good for the State is another kettle of fish.
The next big lesson is that the PDP did their homework well. Besides also showing their proficiency in equally propagating propelling propaganda just like the opposition APC, they were very ready for the election from the State to the National level.
The campaigns messages were clear cut. The strategies were spot on. One would even say it was brilliant that a greater part of their campaign was done on their behalf by controversial opposition ex governor and the god-father-buster-in-chief Adams Oshiomhole. The archives of his campaigns against then opposition candidate but now the beloved and adopted Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu did tremendous damage to the APC and why shouldn’t it. The populace are not so sophisticated to understand or wave off such a monumental volte face. The PDP definitely executed a plan and campaign that resonated quite well.
The last and final point among the litany of innumerable unmentioned points is that of an audacious verdict against godfatherism. The outcome of the election was not really about a dislike for Pastor Osagie. I don’t think so. To my mind, he is a great and popular man. But the baggage of being propped by Oshiomole who is backed by Asiwaju resonated like colonialism. As such, the election was a verdict of disapproval for the duo of Adams Oshiomhole and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who appear to have had an overbearing influence and personal interests in its outcome. That influence as epitomised by the needless broadcast of Senator Tinubu can considerably be termed the Achilles Hill of Pastor Osagie. Today, the fact that Edo is not Lagos is no longer a singsong on the lips of Edo people across the State, its flapping wings fly brilliantly across all polling results on the front pages of every result sheet in the election. It speaks unmistakably of the resilience and capacity of Nigerians to push back and prevail when pushed to the wall.
For grandstanding State actors who drive governance in all political parties in Nigeria including within the PDP, this would be a wake up call. The people cannot continue to be taken for granted. The lessons from Edo resonate brilliantly across the country that indeed the people can take their destinies in their hands whenever they decide to. It is good to note that the beginning of the end of godfatherism, a battle that began in Edo and was won by the people is also being sustained in Edo with this victory.
Other States will have to take a cue. Political systems that have been stifled by overbearing governors and influential political actors will have to be deconstructed by the people. No single person can decide or ought to so powerful as to singlehandedly decide the fate of a State. Where the interests of the people are not the primary focus of government, they themselves must rise to speak up, engage the system and ultimately reject it if or when it comes to that.
As our people would say, one person fit feed a community but food wey community cook for one person e no go fit consume am. The die is pleasantly cast. Enough of taking the people for granted. Things must change. Congratulations to the people of Edo State. Una wehdone.