One spectacular achievement can change the fortunes of a nation. Examples abound in history. The success story of Edo gubernatorial election can be that singular achievement, that can take Nigeria to enviable heights in democracy, if leveraged upon.
Edo has always been a beacon of hope and pacesetter in several aspects of human endeavour. It’s progenitor, the defunct Bendel State was acclaimed for excellence in Sports, Education, Commerce and Industry. “UP BENDEL” was a popular mantra of yesteryears in acclamation of the top status of present Edo and Delta people.
The excellence of it’s past, underscores the significance of accolades the just concluded Edo gubernatorial election has drawn to Nigeria. This is another feather on the cap of Edo people for being the first State in Nigeria to have an election adjudged to be free, fair, credible and generally peaceful. It is the first time where the will of the people prevailed.
Victory in the election is not only for Governor Godwin Obaseki but also for all Edo people in particular and Nigerians in general. In the history of elections in Nigeria, none had attained the level of brinkmanship it generated.
The violent rhetorics of the political actors, the misuse of Federal might to intimidate Edo people and the pockets of violence before the election, aimed at voter suppression, all combined to charge the preelection atmosphere.
The governorship election which ordinarily should be a political contest among Parties, subsequently escalated into a political movement for liberation of the soul of the State from principalities and powers. Along the line, it became evident to Edo people that a congregation of external and internal evil forces were in high powered conspiracy to devilishly seize the reins of power in the State. They had wound a web around the executive governor, to entangle and render him incapable of discharging his duties unencumbered.
The vigilance of the State Attorney General, Professor Yinka Omorogbe and her legal team, thwarted the evil plan to ambush the State Assembly, for clandestine misuse and hijack by political godfathers.
When that failed, the same satanic elements decided to shame Edo people by hiring some demagogues from the academia that somebody described as “yeye” professors, to cast aspersions at the highly qualified governor’s academic credentials. It became the devilish concoction for denying him the deserved right to contest, despite his sterling achievements.
That wicked persecution of the beleaguered governor, together with unending harassment and blackmail of his government because he refused to surrender the State to self-centered godfathers for plundering, pitched the Edo people who detest oppression, against the oppressors in a battle of liberation.
The election was therefore an encounter between light and the wicked forces of darkness. At the end light prevailed. By this victory, a new political force has started which is capable of spreading like wildfire across the nation.
The unexpected but pleasant congratulation of the victor by President Muhammadu Buhari, shows that he has also started seeing the light and living by the tenets of his words, that he belongs to nobody but to everybody. This can be the beginning of the much awaited turnaround of the battered image of his Presidency.
Edo has brought honour and glory to Nigeria. It is the new morning star that has risen. May it never fade and be a point of contact for liberation of communities still pressed down by bloodsucking vampire godfathers.
The outcome of the gubernatorial election gives Edo people a cogent reason to hold their heads high. For in unity and oneness, they defeated the forces of darkness. This is the first time in Nigeria’s electoral history, that citizens will stoutly rise in defence of the sanctity of their votes.
The people refused to be compromised by cursed money and other financial inducements thrown at them by already condemned politicians who are destined to perish in eternal anguish. Edo people proved the disgraced Comrade Adams Oshiomole wrong by demonstrating that contrary to his cynical belief, they are not like chickens that run after corn thrown at them, even to their point of death.
Throughout his travails and persecution, the lovely good people of Edo stood firmly by Governor Godwin Obaseki. This shows that if a leader is good, come rain or sunshine, his people will never desert him.
Together, they have now triumphed. The lesson here is that unity is strength and no power can vanquish a people if they are determined. Edo people took hold of their State by display of rare courage and people’s power. Individually and collectively, they were ready to confront all eventualities against their will.
They were not frightened by possible attacks from thugs or the unleashing of wicked weapons fashioned against them by principalities and powers. They were resolute in fighting for their rights.
Despite the ethnic and religious plurality of the State, Edo people stood together in solidarity to defeat the evil powers. No suppression can kill the indomitable will of a people who are determined to triumph.
From time past, Edo people never accepted subservient status hence, their exit from defunct Western Region, to escape from Yoruba hegemony. A key factor that propelled the success of the ancient Benin kingdom, which also made it a center of civilization in Africa was the devolution of power in the kingdom.
The high chiefs like Ezomo, Oliha, Ologbosere, Ero and others, who administered the kingdom, were of coordinate authority with the Oba. They even had palaces of their own. The Oba was a leader among equals in the ruling council. His authority was not absolute but qualified, unlike dictators in other kingdoms.
The ancient political dispensation gave no room for oppression. That is the heritage Edo people are born with and live by. No oppressor or political godfather can wish away this inheritance from them.
Modern political events occasioned by collapse of communism and military dictatorship worldwide, have antiquated godfatherism and political barbarism which the anarchists stood for in Edo. Over time, unraped democracy has delivered prosperity to hitherto oppressed citizens. This demonstrates that good politics gives rise to good economy.
The staunch solidarity with Edo people offered by Nigerians, and the widespread joy throughout the country over Governor Obaseki’s victory, signals the very beginning of the end of political godfatherism, election rigging and corruption in Nigeria.
Forthcoming Ondo gubernatorial election is the next litmus test. Can they rise above godfatherism which is endemic in Yoruba politics?
Finally, credit must go to the APC governors and Anslem Ojezua, APC State Chairman, who maintained their honour and dignity by withholding their support for the illegitimately and fraudulently procured candidacy of the discredited APC flag bearer. UP BENDEL.
DAVID ADONRI IS A SOCIAL REFORMER.