By Suuny Ikhioya
THE way things are going in Edo State in the campaigns to the forthcoming governorship election, there is this fear by independent observers that it will not be conducted in a free and fair manner.
This line of thinking is further reinforced by the recent statement credited to the All Progressive Congress’, APC, leadership in the state as reported in the Sunday Vanguard of 4th September, 2016 asking all APC appointees to deliver their units in the election or face losing their position. A close examination at the implications of this threat reveals that all commissioners, special advisers, heads of government bodies, local government administrators and other political appointees in government positions must use their position to deliver the votes to the ruling party, APC.
What this means is, whether fair or foul, they must win in their polling units. How do you force an official to win in a place where the candidate he is supporting is unpopular? The answer is rigging or subversion of the electorate’s votes.
It is unfortunate that the campaign has taken a dangerous dimension- a do or die campaign, where characters are being unduly maligned in the name of politics. Who is the fool here? It is definitely the electorate who has been made to believe all the lies being peddled by the actors in the race.
I cannot believe that politics can be this way in Adams Oshiomhole’s controlled state government. It only shows the extent to which they have lost confidence in themselves and confidence in a truly free and fair election.
What is the difference in ideological persuasions between Obaseki and Ize Iyamu? Did both of them not originate from the same political tree that brought in Adams Oshiomhole? Is it not a credit to have a man like Pastor Ize Iyamu who was in government of the much maligned Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for eight years and yet came out unscathed, without any scandal? Is this not the same Ize Iyamu whom Oshiomhole used as the arrow head for his campaigns? If the man didn’t have anything to deliver, would he have picked him? Why vilify a man so much because of his desire to make his own contribution to the development of the state?
Experience has shown that people who do not come prepared for the job always deliver poorly. If Ize Iyamu has prepared very well all of these years, why deny him the right? Experience has also shown that over ninety percent of imposed candidates do not deliver to the people. We have the examples in abundance; Obasanjo, Yar adua, Jonathan, Igbinedion and very many others. The people of Edo state must do away with godfather candidates and vote for candidates of their choice. They must not be intimidated by threats, undue propaganda and outright lies.When you talk of performance, the outgoing APC government of Oshiomhole has not done anything extra-ordinary, contrary to their claims and what they want the people to believe.
As it was with the PDP, there is this accusation that the government inflated the airport road project by several billions of naira, the state treasury is very empty as they have to turn to the federal government for bail out funds, his tenure has been characterised by labour unrests. The State Assembly legislators are now mere rubber stamp to Oshiomhole’s whims, they could not conduct a simple free and fair primary election in the state, so what is he boasting about?
True democracy has been stifled in Oshimhole’s Edo state by his strong arm tactics. What an irony! Oshiomhole should leave the people to pick the candidate of their choice without intimidation. He has definitely failed the people in this aspect of instituting a truly democratic candidate. He will not be the first one to do it, we are no longer deceived by his khaki postures.
Obasanjo was once all over the place campaigning for late President Musa Yar’ Adua as if his life depended on it. What was the outcome? Oshiomhole has set up a University institution in his home town close to the Ambrose Alli University and Auchi Polytechnic that are crying for funds and he justifies this by comparing the new institution to that of Igbinedion. Does that justify the wrong in his action. Does this smell of partisanship? Oshiomhole has done nothing but play politics with the job since he assummed office for a second term and people must not be misled by his sweet rhetoric.
Politics is supposed to be a game between friends, brothers, colleagues, rivals and so on. When you win squarely, there is that feeling of satisfaction by all concerned but the way it is presently in Edo state, it is win at all cost.The people must be vigilant and not allow the use of state instruments to intimidate them. The people of Edo state must decide for themselves, they must shun the candidate of godfathers.