Post-Edo 2020 election: What Nigerians need to work on

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The end result of the September 19, Edo 2020 gubernatorial election came on the heels of essential outcomes that manifestly reflects some reservations for the political field in Nigeria. The contest and the circumstantial terrain that surrounded the gubernatorial contest particularly on the heels of the campaigns had raised alarm of possible fear of aggressive showdown. Against projections of anarchy and inconclusive outcome however, the end story of the poll came on a lighter note than the projected.

The contest over the gubernatorial seat is apparently a tussle amidst thorns; as it more or less reflects a supremacy battle between established political foundations. The political footage was clearly one that was feared to result into uncontrollable violence among other vices. While to some extent there were manifestations of menaces which hitherto used to characterize elections in Nigeria, such manifestations were minimal compared to the expected projections. The issues of voting buying, violence, and failure of Card Readers,  among others were recorded but not as anxiously projected.

The end result of the poll have it to show the Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the seating Governor of Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki, emerging as the winner of the contest.  Governor Obaseki at the election polled 307,955 votes to defeat his closest rival, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who garnered 223,619 votes.

With the clear gap, the INEC declared Governor Obaseki, as the winner of the election. On this basis, the PDP, now emerges as the ruling Party in the State for the next four years. In the announcement made by INEC’s Returning Officer for the Edo Election, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, the results from the 18 LGAs in the State reads as follows: Akoko Edo APC – 22,963, PDP – 20,101; Egor APC – 10,202, PDP – 27,621; Esan Central APC – 6,719, PDP – 10,794; Esan North East APC – 6,556, PDP – 13,579; Esan South East; APC – 9,237,PDP – 10,563; Esan West APC – 7,189, PDP – 17,434; Etsako Central APC – 8,359, PDP – 7,478 Etsako East APC – 17,011, PDP – 10,668; Etsako West APC – 26,140, PDP – 17,959; Igueben APC – 5,199, PDP – 7,870.

Results from other LGAs are: Ikpoba Okha APC – 18,218,PDP – 41,030; Oredo APC – 18,365 PDP – 43,498; Orhionmwon APC – 10,458, PDP – 13,445; Ovia North East APC – 9,907, PDP – 16,987; Ovia South West APC – 10,636, PDP – 12,659; Owan East APC – 19,295, PDP – 14,762; Owan West APC – 11,193, PDP – 11,485; Uhunmwode APC – 5,972, PDP – 10,022.

The outcome of the election apparently reflects a saner atmosphere of the Nigerian political space. Prior to the poll, Political analysts who had projected a slimmer chance of Governor Obaseki to win the election, had premised their arguments on the two major grounds of the “battle of godfatherism” and the strong arm of “Federal might” phenomenon, as two major political architectures that would subject Obaseki to an unfortunate fate in the election.

However, the end result of the poll has come to refute this assertion. With the result, it is becoming clear with better hope for Nigerians that elections could be conducted in Nigeria and the right winner declared winner. It would be recalled that things fell apart between Governor Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the PDP in the poll, with his political godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, before the build up towards the election.  The fallout was recorded to be responsible for the disqualification of the former (Obaseki) from contesting the primary election for the governorship race under the APC, his former Party. The development had necessitated his defection to the PDP, on the platform of which he had emerged victorious. Oshiomhole having fallen out with his godson, had  pitched his support behind Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Candidate APC fixtured for the gubernatorial election.

On the experience of how tough and slim it is to engage a political godfather in a supremacy battle and emerge victorious, particularly in an election contest, it had been argued that the chances of Governor Obaseki in winning the election are very slim. The argument have been made stronger on the fact that he is not only contending against an ordinary political godfather, but one who is an aggressive orator.

The use of “Federal might” was a phenomenon that analysts believed would have worked against the Governor.  Indeed the use of both human, security and material resources have in the past been experienced as one of the tools the ruling government at the Federal level, usually mobilise to outweigh opposition elements during gubernatorial contests. The phenomenon is practically one of the instruments the ruling government do employ to strengthen its foothold amongst States in the Federation.

Against all odds however, the emergence of the candidate of the PDP, Governor Godwin Obaseki, is apparently an indication of an upward step in the journey towards a saner political atmosphere in the Country. The decision of the electorates to vote according to their conscience against the odds of being coerced to vote based on the influence of ‘godfatherism’ is an indication of a developing political culture among Nigerians, and Edo people in particular. It is important that Nigerians across board begin to imbibe such culture on the basis of which, they vote based on their perception of who sincerely is capable and competent to lead them in a vibrant prowess for development. This is essential to guide and put an end to the reigns of inefficient rule by incompetent persons in the Country. It is important that against unlearned voting mostly based on irrational political influence and impulsive needs, such as vote buying and selling, as well as susceptibility to mobilisation for violence, Nigerians begin to imbibe the high spirit of enlightened political culture to further guide them in choosing leaders capable of driving the growth and development they desire.

The decision made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce the right winner as at when due, and the fairly commendable conduct of security operatives during the polls are good omen for better election profile in the Country. However, this not to say that this is the best that is achievable. It is clear that there were hitches recorded during the poll, on which corrections are essential for future elections. Since there were issues on malfunctioning of Card Readers to authenticate voters for the poll, as well as issues of violence, and vote buying, it is important that INEC gather intelligence on these subjects and work hand-in-hand with security operatives, where necessary, to guide the re-occurrence of these deficiencies in future elections.