2020 elections: Edo as pacemaker towards realistic democracy?
By Sylvester Udemezue
2020 elections: Edo State as a pacemaker towards realizing the democracy of our dreams in a perennially troubled country?
There were few statements I had considered not well-thought-out, and I have commented thereon, published under the headline, “Dear Governor Obaseki, Be Humble & Magnanimous In Your Victory; Let Mr. Oshiomhole Be (A piece of Advice from a Disinterested Fellow)” by Sylvester Udemezue.
Aside this, I have watched with happiness and satisfaction all news and developments oozing out of EDO State since results of the September 19, 2020 elections were made public.
For example, yesterday, 24/09/2020, I saw a news headline, “I Am Ready to Work With Obaseki – Ize-Iyamu,” in which it was reported that “The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just-concluded Edo election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has declared that he is ready to work with his victorious opponent, Governor Godwin Obaseki.”
I have come to the conclusion that EDO State may well have turned out to become a near-perfect beginning of the best demonstrations of democratic culture in this perennially troubled Nigerian nation. Consider the following:
- The INEC successfully resisted all temptations (if there were any such) to declare the EDO election “inconclusive” or to do a shoddy joy job. I heard one RO had disappeared and was searched for, found (lost but found) and brought back to do his job according to law.
- For the first time, we had a State election adjudged by all reasonable citizens of Nigeria and by international observers, to be free, fair, credible and acceptable.
- For the first time, in recent history, we had the APC voluntarily unhesitatingly accepting defeat, cheerfully congratulating the winner and happily urging its candidates and members to follow suit. There is Godu ooo!
- For the first time, a defeated Comrade, Oshiomhole came out to declare that someone had to lose, and saying, from his gym,“you win some; you lose some. That’s democracy,” which declaration is an implied acceptance with equanimity, of what he couldn’t change— an abject resignation to fate. In God we trust..! Unto theee, Lord… I am sure, the Comrade remembered his own words: “GOD must WIN. Who says GOD no go WIN? Obaseki, you’re winner, you no be loser.” Those blessings never left Obaseki! Chai. “Whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven;” the Holy book book must be right.
- Ize Iyamu, APC’s candidate, has congratulated GOD MUST WIN’s Obaseki and has declared that “EDO people have decided. I am ready to work with Obaseki.” Although he’s asking GOD WIN to return to the APC. Lol… The rejected stone as the corner stone!
- For the first time, NO loss of human life was reported during a state-wide election in Nigeria. Unbelievable! The Lord’s doing! Na God Win ooo!
- Obaseki, the winner, although initially he had started taking tough (like the typical Nigerian politician, that he too is), he nevertheless later drank from the humility cup, and repented, got born-again and then started singing that “the war is over,” and that he would extend the olive branch to everyone. 👌🏾
- Edo the youths had resisted the temptation to be hired and used as louts and thugs for the purpose of thwarting the wishes of the masses of their own people. EDO youths, and by extension Nigerian youths, I salute ooo. You’re not lazy! You’re the leaders of Nigeria’s tomorrow. Udems included. Amen. Your destiny is in your hands! The day you rise to say “enough is enough” to these manipulative, exploitative, egoistic, corrupt and inept politicians and leaders, (and you can do it) that day marks the beginning of Nigeria’s peregrination out of the Golgotha. Your exploits on September 19, 2020 in EDO State shows clearly that you are able and capable; you can do it. You can stop election rigging; you can stop vote-buying; you can stop electoral violence and all forms of malpractices, JUST AS YOU GALLANTLY DID IN EDO STATE.
WHO THEN DO WE GIVE CREDIT FOR ALL THESE:
In my opinion—
- Gov Obaseki who, though boxed to a corner, and tied to a stake, had resolved to fight the biggest fight of his life, to liberate himself and EDO State indigenes and residents from the clutches of godfatherism, injustice, oppression and intimidation. I remember his words: “I can’t be Governor and not be Governor. …If you’re in my shoes, wouldn’t you fight back?” It was at that point I pitied the man! At a point, he was even falsely baptized “Obasek.” Chai! Oga, sorry, sir.All things work together for the good of the righteous man.
- Gov Obaseki who has now resolved to be magnanimous and high-minded in his hard-fought victory. I remember the DAVID and GOLIATH angle of the fight. But the EDO State version of it is the “POLITICAL LIZARD and the POLITICAL LION” fight. How are the mighty fallen? Lesson: there is no mountain one cannot surmount! Just believe. “Fear not, the Lord is with thee” says the Holy Book. And, lo and behold, there was night, and there was morning, and then, the “GOD MUST WIN” prophecy came to pass. One with God is the majority!
- The Oba of Benin who had set the tone for peace among his subjects by calling a meeting and getting each of the contending parties to agree to a peace pact.
- APC and Mr. President Buhari who chose to not manipulate INEC into compromising the wishes of EDO people.
- PDP which had accommodated Mr Obaseki at his darkest hour,and gave him its ticket on grounds that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Besides, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. No permanent friendship in politics! Obaseki: APC Candidate in 2016, and PDP candidate in 2020.
- President Buhari who took the lead in swiftly congratulating Gov Obaseki and declaring, “I am for all, as a Democrat.”
- APC which demonstrated rare wisdom in readily accepting the outcome of the election and wisely advising all of its subjects/members to do likewise.
- Ize Iyamu (APC Candidate) whose exceptional maturity and wisdom led to his quickly accepting defeat in the spirit of sportsmanship and declaring his readiness to support and work with the incoming administration.
- Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who saw the handwriting on the wall and declared that he had resolved to accept the outcome with serenity and to move on with his life, under the concept of “you win some, you lose some.” Everyday is not xmas. Thank you, Osho Baba!
- Edo State Youths who stood gallantly and fearlessly to ensure that (a) the election was peaceful and violence-free; and that (b)the people’s votes counted. I salute Edo Youths. If I had money now, I would have gone to EDO state to host the youths to a special party, to celebrate (not Obaseki’s victory) but Edo youths’ unprecedented doggedness and exceptional courage to stand for what is right.
- Governor Wike of Rivers State who again demonstrated that he had become the people’s jagaban in defence of the voice of the voiceless and the wishes of the masses. How do I even begin to salute this one-man army! I off my mic.
- The international Community, especially the US and the UK who had come up (at the most material/auspicious time) with the Visa ban theory, and later with threats of more visa ban. Could we say that this had helped to do the magic of the free and fair election we witnessed in EDO? You, please answer the question. As for me, “my father discovered my mother and they invented me.” So, I off my mic. While thanking the USA and the UK, I think I should draw our attention to this comment: “Grossly overrated in my view is the visa ban threat (there are plenty of other places to go), but I agree that help from the entire international community (and various UN and EU agencies) continues to assist INEC in its efforts to improve.” (per AYO OBE)
- The Nigerian people who had stood by and with Mr. Obaseki (insisting that “Enough is Enough”), right from his “OBASEK” days to the OBASEKI” era, until the end of the tunnel where victory was waiting patiently. I remember the story of the patient dog that ate the fattest bone. My friends, here is the lesson: don’t let anyone change your name ( like OBASEK), your destiny or your destination in life. Insist on answering your father’s name (like OBASEKI) and RemainFocused towards your destination. With determination, no obstacles, and no “political lion” can stop you. Follow your heart. Friends will foresake you; relatives may denounce you; allies may discourage you. Some will even call you bizarre names (like OBASEK). But, dear, don’t get discouraged or distracted; RemainFocused and you’d reclaim your glory and soar to greater heights.
- Not forgetting the INEC which introduced (for the first time) the capacity for the general public to check individual polling station results, online, and which helped a lot to curb what a respected learned senior colleague described as “collation wuruwuru.” Explaining why INEC deserved some special commendation in respect of the 2020 Edo Elections, Ms AYO Obe has made the following observations (which I adopt):
“INEC and its continuing efforts at election reform don’t get enough acknowledgement. To my mind, the independence that it exhibited at the top when it took action in respect of the APC candidates in Zamfara and Rivers State should suggest that its leadership has quite a good record in resisting any pressure from the APC. Where it remains weak is in the performance and integrity of its officers in the field. In this regard, I suggest that one of the efforts by which it has attempted to tackle this was its decision to make it possible for anyone to cross-check through its website the results declared at polling stations ‘in the very before’ of voters and party agents there with the results that it has received and is using in its collation of the final result. That means that the political parties need to ensure that their agents cover the polling stations and do the maths. For sure, it is very late to this particular party (the elections I observed in Kenya three years ago in 2017, allowed anybody to log on to the KIEBC website, enter the details of the polling station it wished to check, and see the results), but if the name of the anti-corruption game is transparency, then this is a huge – though belated – step forward.”
- Nigeria’s Security agencies also deserve some special positive mention here. As rightly observed by respected AYO OBE ESQ, although the security agencies had been “pilloried for mounting a heavy presence over the election period, they no doubt contributed to, and facilitated, the decision of Edo State youths to not allow themselves to be used to foment trouble/violence.” Kudos to our security agencies for the orderly and civil manner they conducted themselves during the EDO elections. May this unprecedented feat replicate itself in all future elections in Nigeria. Amen 🙏. Edo 2020 style is a pacemaker! After all, the slogan that “Police are our friends” is not for nothing! As our friends, the security agents ought to always collaborate and cooperate with us (as they did in EDO state on 19 September 2020) towards ensuring and achieving free, fair credible and violence-free elections in Nigeria! You cannot be our friend and yet act as our enemy; a friend that acts as an enemy, is an enemy indeed. Long live a Nigeria Police Force that is, and acts as, our friend always. Amen
- Last but not the least, the public analysts, writers and commentators, who wrote, wrote and wrote at every point in time (before, during and after the fact) to insist not only that things must be done right, but (more importantly) that the right things must be done at the right time, no matter whose ox was/is gored. Is ok! off the mic…
(1). It may well be that there might be no election petition this time in respect of EDO State 2020; that would be unprecedented. And that would especially mean serious BAD MARKET for a certain Governor Uzodinma who had reportedly rejected the results of the Edo election and had bragged that “we’d will win in Court.” This means that Uzodinma places his HOPE in Court to have Obaseki (the people’s governor) out. Unfortunately, it does appear (at least judging from prevailing events) that APC and Ize Iyamu might not be keen on going to court, which means Uzodinma’s reported HOPE of winning in court might turn out to be a DASHED HOPE. See “Imo Governor, Uzodinma, Rejects Edo Election Result, Says APC Will Win In Court” (<http://saharareporters.com/2020/09/21/imo-governor-uzodinma-rejects-edo-election-result-says-apc-will-win-court>)
(2). Democracy is the sweetest when the game is played according to set rules. You can see how everyone is happy about EDO State 2020 elections, including the so-called losers, simply because everyone is satisfied that the election was free and fair, and devoid of unholy manipulations. The truth is, in a true democracy, there are hardly winners or losers; everyone is a winner when the right things are done in the right manner, at the right time.
(3). Lest I forget, we hope members of the scattered EDO State House of Assembly can now queue into the new EDO state (the born-again, reformed EDO) and close ranks, among themselves and with the incoming executive branch, to lift EDO State higher. The job of moving EDO state to greater heights, is too enormous to be left for any one person; only a “united we stand” spirit will see EDO more triumphant. Everyone has a role to play. The war is over now, and it should be over for all and everyone. Long live EDO State. Long live the FRN!
Sylvester Udemezue (Udems) email@example.com.