- Category: POLITICS
- Published on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:34
- Written by Palmer Ogheneyole Nathaniel
In the next couple of days, the much talked about and highly intriguing contest for the Edo State seat of power will have come and gone. Whichever way it goes, one lesson will have been glaringly taught and learnt. The lesson of "no army can stop an idea whose time have come". The July 14th governorship election is undoubtedly
the fiercest, most expensive and most aggressive battles ever to be fought in the political turf of the State in history. The calibre of gladiators being paraded by the various parties reminds one of the magnitude of the contest.
But be it as it may, the chances of the Candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole cruising to victory are high and bright. His political clout and stronghold on Edo Politics have soared to high heavens in the past three and half years judging from his earth-shaking developmental strides.
Whoever downplays the incumbency factor in our polity in this part of the world does so at his/her own peril. The electorates only yearn for a change upon been unsatisfied with the current system. No one calls for change in a system that is working. The situation here in Edo State is satisfactory to say the least. Apart from the fact that the people are okay with the ruling government's policies and prgrammes, they have also repeatedly passed a vote of confidence on the government for its tremendous and unequalled developmental stride across the State.
Upon resumption of duty as the Governor of Edo State after reclaiming his mandate fraudulently seized by the PDP mathematicians, Oshiomhole knew the battle for the soul of the State just begun. He knew the system was deeply enmeshed in gargantuan corruption and inefficiency which made it possible for just one man to dictate the State's affair from the outside for half a decade, hence the need to question that order.
Sooner than later, Oshiomhole had his own fair share of the might of the godfather when his pioneer Appropriation Bill was censored to submission by a PDP controlled State House of Assembly on the order of the godfather. That singular act brought the spit-fire labour Leader to the pressing reality of what Edo Politics was all about, and that act marked the beginning of a long battle that has shaped Edo Politics till date.
The Comrade Governor never hesitated to fight back. He mobilized the ACN members in the House led by Hon. Phillips Shaibu to square-up with the PDP members.
And eventually when the Courts sacked three of the PDP members and a re-run was declared, Oshiomhole seized the opportunity to launch his presence in the Polity. Apart from the fact that he heavily bankrolled the re-run elections, he also personally, as the leader of the party in the state campaigned vigoriously for the party's candidates winning all of the three re-run elections with a dramatic change of leadership in the State House of Assembly. A tsunami that consumed the then Speaker, Barr. Zakawanu Garuba, ushering-in a new beginning that have left Edo people smiling till date.
The most interesting of the three house of Assembly re-run elections was that of Etsako Central where both the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe and State PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbi were trounced in their Wards.
Also in Akoko-Edo, the PDP polled a paltry 122 as against the ACN's 6,929. This development however pulled a heartbreaking supprise to the PDP leader in State, Chief Tony Anenih who in 2009 while receiving Barr. Kenneth Imasuagbon back to the PDP at Ewohimi demeaned the strength of the ACN, referring to it as an "aircondition without compressor".
During the April 2011 elections, Oshiomhole never hid his intention to take the fight to the enemies. The outstanding performance of the Party was unprecedented as it clinched 2 of the 3 senatorial seats, 6 of the 9 House of Representative slots and 19 of the 24 State House of Assembly seats.
Although the Party almost lost all elections in Esan-land which still remained a stronghold of Chief Anenih till date, analysts strongly believed the story will be different come July 14.
Oshiomhole has never played politics with the people's development like it is a norm in most Nigerian States. His first tenure is a giant departure from the 10yrs in the locus with tales of woes and gnashing of teeth of the PDP.
He has introduced a well co-ordinated programme of activities aimed at impacting on the lives of the people who just came out of the wilderness of the lucky Igbinedion years.
In all parts of the State, from Benin City the State Capital to Ososso in Akoko-Edo, from Uromi in Esan North East to Ozalla in Owan West, Oshiomhole's success story as the people's Governor of cast-iron commitment is same.
The election of Saturday will be based more on facts than rhectorics and sophistries. The only weapon the opposition PDP seem to be heavily weeding against Oshiomhole is the Benin ancestry of their Candidate. This is another crash-landed insunuation, as the people have gone much wiser to be swayed with such cheap gimmicks.
The PDP candidate, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere haven retired from the army barely last year under nebulous circumstances is far from gathering enough political clout to challenge a grassroot soldier of Oshiomhole's calibre. Apart from the fact that Gen. Airhiavbere is generally believed to be the only man with the financial wherewithal to give Oshiomhole a good fight, the remaining PDP aspirants were better politicians than Airhiavbere.
The circumstances that led to his emergence as the PDP flagbearer is yet another undoing on the party. Those who were schemed out have vowed to shoot down the Party's kit at all cost. With the decamping to the ACN of Prof. Julius Ihovbere, and Professor Osunbor openly declaring support for Oshiomhole, the coffin of the PDP is undoubtedly nailed.
Airhiavbere on his own part have been repeatedly rejected by his people of Agbado. While receiving a gift of Electricity Transformer presented to the community recently by Governor Oshiomhole, the Community Chairman declared thus: "a man who have spent over 30 years in the corridors of power without bringing anything home will certainly bring home nothing if made a governor". These statements are not just political statements, but words made to re-aweken the consciousness of the people.
If the elections are free and fair, then the wish of the "Edo gods" will definitely prevail. The people have decided that there shall be no going to courts this time around. The election will be won and lost in the field. The commitment of zero tolerance to fraud is not negotiable. Whoever tries to manipulate the process will incure the wrath of the people and gods as well. PDP is sure on its way to the crematorium, even as its death in April 2011 is still a source of joy to proponents and lovers of the emerging democracy.