By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”Edo State government yesterday said the campaign for electoral integrity, dubbed one man, one vote, by Governor Adams Oshiomhole, was an ideological battle for the liberation of the people from the stifling grip of exploitative godfathers.
It recalled that in 2007 general elections in the state, godfathers decided the direction of the elections in utter negation of the will of the people.
â€œThey determined who became what in the party by selecting the candidates of their choice and also took steps to vote for them on behalf of the people who were only made to queue up on election day to cast their votes in order to create a faÃ§ade and thereby legitimize a fait accompli,â€ the government explained through the Special Adviser to the governor on Political Matters, Mr Charles Idahosa.
The governmentâ€™s position was containedÂ in an address, titledÂ Remembering April 14,2007: Towards Electoral Integrity in Nigeria, put together as part of activities to mark April 14, 2007, when the people of the state voted in Comrade Oshiomhole as governor of the state.
According to the government, â€œComrade Oshiomhole could have played down on electoral reforms like several of his colleagues and relied on incumbency factor to return him to office for a second term.
â€œBut the governor has remained a pro-democracy activist; he is more concerned with the larger interest of Nigeria than have sleepless nights over narrow self-interest.
â€œNigeria lost a chance to elect their true leaders in April 2007. We cannot afford to allow the 2011 opportunity slip through our fingers. A good and credible electoral process is one in which powers are in the hands of the people to choose their leaders in an unfettered manner.
â€œThe people will have a sense of ownership of the government. Such leaders have no choice but to deliver on their electoral promises, knowing that the people are watching.â€
The government saidÂ that one man, one vote, campaign was for all genuine democrats, adding that it would collaborate with civil society organizations to kick-start the campaign in Benin City 20 April 2010.