As is already common knowledge, the much anticipated Edo Governorship election has come and gone, with the winners and losers already known. God almighty, Governors Nyesom Wike, Ifeanyi Okowa, Seyi Makinde, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and other major Edo, national, and even international actors have also been widely applauded for their respective roles in the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the keenly contested election.
However, having peppered the Ize-Iyamu/Oshiomole/Tinubu gang since Sunday, it is now time to appreciate and celebrate some of the unsung heroes that also greatly helped Governor Obaseki win:
1. The Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon (Comrade) Philip Shaibu: He’s the personification of loyalty. Was offered the governorship ticket by Oshiomole, but unlike the restless, faithless and disloyal Ondo State Deputy Governor and Governor Ambode’s Deputy, he remained firmly loyal to his boss. He’s a true Comrade and will very likely be the next Governor.
2. Hon. Ogbeide Ihama: He was one of the PDP Governorship aspirants who were prevailed upon to step down for Governor Obaseki when he decamped to PDP. Unlike others who may have angrily decamped to other parties or maliciously sabotaged the Governor/party, Hon. Ogbeide wholeheartedly mobilized his structure to work for Governor Obaseki. He even served as the chief agent for Obaseki at the State Collation Center and those who watched the collation and announcement of the results on TV will testify of how he was calmly but efficaciously raising alarm (such as when the Orhiomwon LGA Collation Officer went missing, when some units in Etsako West had overvoting, etc), and bombing APC with facts. He reminded me of the soft-spoken Dr Henry Ovwasa who dishes out medical knowledge calmly but in high dose.
3. Social Media: previously and as recent as last year’s presidential elections, many people like Henry Oghwere and others always looked down on the power of social media and mocked them for only voting online. But this election further revealed the power of social media both before, during and even after voting. The #EdoNoBeLagos mantra sold like “pure water”, videos in support of Obaseki were made to trend (who can forget that mama who swore for Oshiomole and said “f*ck shit”) any little misstep by Ize-Iyamu and Oshiomole was mercilessly amplified and magnified to astronomical proportion (such as when the APC unfortunately mocked Mrs. Obaseki for being childless), videos of Oshiomole praising Obaseki and assaulting Ize-Iyamu in the past were repeatedly shared and put on repeat, even old videos of Governor Ganduje receiving dollars resurfaced as soon as he was appointed the APC National Campaign Council Chairman. The list is endless. In fact, the fear of shame from social media trolls have made some APC/Ize-Iyamu/Oshiomole/Tinubu loyalists not come back online since after the declaration of the election results. With this, whoever doubts or undermines the power of social media in future contests may not survive such arrogance or naivety.
4. INEC: While some would argue that they were simply doing their job, INEC deserves some commendation for the significant transparency displayed which further gave credibility to the election. INEC even introduced some innovations such as when direct uploading of election results from the various wards and local government collation centers directly to https://www.inecelectionresults.com. This made it difficult for desperate politicians to change election results before announcements as was done in the past.
5. President Muhammadu Buhari and the armed forces: previous elections have been marred by the shameful abuse of the much vaunted “Federal might” such as in Ekiti 2014, Osun 2018, Kano/Kaduna/Kogi 2019 which led to the recent US visa ban on some members of the ruling APC for their roles in last year’s elections which were marred by violence, security forces either brazenly snatching ballot boxes for some political actors or simply turning a blind eye while thugs from a certain party (the ruling party in most cases) wreck havoc and suddenly wake up when the opposing party try to retaliate or stop the other party from rigging. However, in this Edo gubernatorial election, Mr President provided a level playing field for all parties and there are several videos and reports of some thugs (including some top APC politicians and a parliamentarian) being arrested for attempted ballot box snatching, vote buying, violence and other such Electoral malpractices. Furthermore, despite being in the opposing party, President Buhari speedily sent a congratulatory message to Governor Obaseki. This singular act went a long way in calming the polity and set the tone for the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other political bigwigs to concede and do same. This is indeed commendable and we humbly appeal to maintain this fatherly posture in subsequent elections, beginning with next month’s Ondo State Governorship elections. We also appeal to President Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act so as to maintain and even surpass the gains recorded in this Edo gubernatorial election.
With the distractions of the election now over, we call on Governor Obaseki to be gracious and magnanimous in victory and be a Governor and father to all ( APC, PDP, and all), face governance squarely and redouble his efforts to reward Edolites with people oriented policies, completion of all outstanding first term projects and even those from the Oshiomole dispensation, and fulfill all new campaign promises made over the last few months as the performance gauge has been raised higher than ever before .
Finally, we also implore the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and the ousted APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole to sheath their swords, and join hands with the Governor to move Edo forward. With the lessons learned in this election, he can try again in 2024 which is not as far as we think.
Dr. Izu Edesiri,
Good Governance Advocate