As the momentum is gradually building up across major political parties in Edo State, the stage is set for the governorship election on September 10, 2016.
The two major contenders for the governorship position are the All Progressives Congress (APC), Godwin Obaseki and stabdard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Osagie Ize-Iyamu, were both in the same political camp before they went their separate ways due to individual aspirations.
While both men have their strengths and weaknesses, the electorates of Edo State should be left to have the final say, as to who becomes their next governor.
The current governor of Edo State, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, assumed office in November 2008 after winning an appeal in the 2007 elections, which had initially declared his rival Oserheimen Osunbor governor. In July 2012, Oshiomhole was reelected for a second term victory in a landslide as a member of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which merged with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013. Since then, there had been rising political tensions between PDP and APC supporters in the state.
The spate of politically-related violence which is playing out in states across the country, readily brings to mind recent happenings in Bayelsa and Rivers States ahead of gubernatorial election and re-run elections, respectively. It is, in our view, a worrisome trend which must not be allowed to become an established feature of the country’s political culture.
We have been holding elections in Nigeria since 1960 and incidents of violence had been reported across the country with some regions recording the worst political violence. It is time to embrace peace as exemplified by former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election.
Nigerian NewsDirect urges Edo State politicians including Governor Oshiomhole, the two major ontenders of Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu respectively to eschew violence and arm twitisting of any sort in
the governorship election. They must continually admonish their supporters during and after the election on the imperative of playing by the rules. Hate speeches and all forms of provocation should be totally de-emphasised. The entire gamut of the political process must ensure the moderation of the rising political temperature in the state.
Edo State can right all electoral wrongs, reduce if not totally eradicate the controversies and violence that often accompany most elections in the country, build voter confidence on the electoral body and brighten the country’s electoral image among civilized nations. There is the chance to do this in the forthcoming September 10 in the state. In the light of the security challenges bedeviling the country and escalating ethnic and religious suspicions, our nation can only be saved from disintegration by ensuring that the forthcoming General Elections are free, fair, credible and free of violence.
To achieve the very important objective of credible and violence free election, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, the chairman and management of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all the participating political parties, political players, security agencies and, of course, the electorate must be ready to stick to all the rules and regulations guiding both the conduct of elections and public order and decorum.
To have credible and violence free election in Edo State without the security agencies is to be imagining the impossible. To this end, the Nigeria Police, the Directorate of State Security, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and all the relevant security agencies should train and equip their men towards the election. They should be patriotic and avoid partiality for any party or politician, shun corruption and protect the citizens from harassment by parties or politicians.