[OPINION] Palpable Fears In The 2020 Edo Election
By Edosomwan Isaac
Constitutional democracy demands that periodic elections are conducted at regular intervals to choose a people’s representative into the legislature and executive arms of government.
In Nigeria, as a result of certain interruptions, gubernatorial elections are no longer uniformly organized. Edo state is one of those states whose gubernatorial election was affected and it’s now scheduled for later this year.
Whereas this year’s election is not the first to take place in adherence to the above shift, it promises a lot of omens owing to prevailing interests.
Although there are several political parties in the state, only two are viable platforms for any serious candidates to contest. These are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Peoples Congress (APC).
While in the PDP, some political horse-trading has been going on, it has not exuded serious intraparty skirmishes, even as the Party primaries is yet to be commenced. The fireworks here are still perceived to be within manageable limits.
The same can not be said of the APC where politics has and still being played to demonstrate the dirtiness and filthiness usually associated with the term.
The first salvo was fired by the Party’s Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole whose body language was interpreted by close watchers to indicate a disinterest in supporting the incumbent governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, who many see as his political godson.
The whole scenario started to play out when immediately after the House of Assembly elections, where the Party won all available 24 seats and rumours started to filter out that the governor would be removed from office through impeachment by loyalists of the Party Chairman who were in the majority, cutting across all the senatorial districts.
To avert this, the governor decided to inaugurate the House in the wee hours of the night, drawing the cotton off the feet of most of the Party Chairman’s loyalists who now had to flee to Abuja.
Although the number of those inaugurated is deemed to have fallen short of the constitutional requirements of a quorum, many competent courts of jurisdiction have ruled that the inauguration was in order. This has not been accepted by both those yet to be inaugurated and the Party Chairman.
The state has lost out in development indices as a result of this unnecessary and unfortunate political situation. Scarce resources are being dissipated in fueling the war chest with governance at almost a standstill.
The fear that the Party under the influence of the Chairman would alter the outcome of the Party primaries has also increased the tension in the state as the government decided to sack all those with affiliation with the Chairman. The Party is now factionalized along with the two demagogues; the Governor and Chairman of the Party.
To ensure that the chances of the governor are blocked during the primaries, some credible and viable gubernatorial candidates from the senatorial district as the governor are being encouraged to enter into the race.
These political heavyweights in their rights have been denied the rights to organise rallies. There have been drastic consequences for failure of the intraparty candidates who violated this ban.
The use of non-state actors to enforce this ban has further fuelled tension in the state, from Auchi, the stronghold of the Chairman in the north to the central and south senatorial districts perceived to be sympathetic to the governor. The polity is being faced with tension.
As if the above is bad enough, the menace by the Fulani herdsmen has further added fuel to this state of fear and insecurity.
If the above scenario is happening with this high decibels, one can only imagine what the situation would be during and after the primaries in both parties, before the gubernatorial election and after it.
Although some concerned personages including some traditional rulers, within and outside the state and the Party have made concerted efforts to mend the broken fences but this has not yielded the desired results so far.
The general public deserves the best in life through good governance. Whether this present crops of political leaders would bequeath this to them is everyone’s conjecture.