THE GODFATHER WE CAN CALL OUR OWN
What is it we are really celebrating in the Edo election?
Are we celebrating the victory of Godwin Obaseki who was a member of the All Peoples Congress until he lost the party’s governorship ticket having been in a running battling with his predecessor and party strongman – then, Adams Oshiomole, who in 2016 eased his way to the Edo State Government House. This time, in 2020, he was helped by Governor Nyesom Wike, the sometimes cavalier governor of River State, and the club of governors to displace the four or so aspirants who were warming up to jostle for the candidacy of the People’s Democratic party.
Or, is the jubilation over the defeat of the APC candidate, Pator Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is on his second missionary journey? Last time he rode on the coach of the People Democratic Party and lost to the same rival, then candidate of the All Peoples Congress, Godwin Obaseki. Pasotr Ize-Iyamu left the PDP and formed an alliance with Adams Oshiomole, a man who during the 2016 elections called him a thief and accused him publicly of acid attack on a fellow student in his university days. Together, they succeeded in shoving off the incumbent governor from the party and had him scampering for help in the hands of his fellow members of the governors club. The pastor became comrade’s dusted board in the 2020 campaign trail after things had gone inexplicably awry between him and his successor, Godwin Obaseki.
Or are we celebrating the humiliation of Adams Oshiomole, the labour leader who in 2008 converted his popularity with strike actions against the PDP led government of Olusegun Obasanjo into political victory for the governorship seat of Edo State under the Action Congress of Nigeria. After his mandate was salvaged by the judiciary, in his public utterances, he popularized the battle against godfatherism in Nigerian politics in his own celebrated defeat of the Igbenedion political machinery and whilst the Ngige-Uba saga was not healed which had opened our eyes to underlying political intrigues and perhaps affirmed that indeed so much more goes on in a man’s mission to climb the stool of power. He joined forces with those who promised to change the fortunes of Nigerians and retire the party they accused of plunging Nigeria into misrule, terrorism and endemic corruption. They helped our former military leader to become President Muhammadu Buhari, after he had attempted to retire from politics having been defeated three times, mostly for lack of national spread in his politicking.
Some others are jubilating over the supposed set back suffered by one of the key players in Buhari’s ascension to the presidency, former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, hated for his power and influence across the South West. His desire to rule Nigeria may no longer be rumour. And many, believe his interest in Edo State and all the claims he made on NTA are not about democratic goodwill, rather he is seen as being desperate to preserve what is a dwindling influence in the political party whose formation and successes he is accused of bankrolling, and perhaps to stall the continued advance of his political opponents into his bastion. ‘Edo no be Lagos’ many parroted implying that the continued stay of Senator Tinubu’s line-up in Lagos since 1999 is not the wish and decision of the electorate.
If these are not the reasons for the buzz on Nigeria’s cyberspace and in the news, then it may be that some of us believe that a new era has actually dawned in Nigeria when electorates make up their minds and individual political actors can walk to victory in elections just on the strength of their ideas and performance records. If that is so, then we are in another naïve cycle for Nigerians who are notorious for forgetting too quickly, and would fall for the bait of political sentimentalism. Truth be told, if President Buhari or those very close to him had allowed the flexing of the infamous presidential muscle like it happened in Osun when Buhari was still preparing for his 2019 reelection, the outcome would have been different, not just for Obaseki, but also for the people of Edo State. In an ironic way, the president may actually be the subject of some people’s celebration who are trusting that Baba will remain in his chewing stick mode, and there would not be a call for review of any supreme court decision on Edo gubernatorial election as it happened in Imo State.
Oshiomole sometimes acted like a child who allowed his excitement of a new shoe last for too long that he forgot he was foaming around peers who had the edges of their own soles grated. After a few successes here and there, he tried to make a bold claim with a mate thinking his usually pliant senior brother was still available to interfere in child’s play. Now, social media comedians, mostly of the opposition PDP, are changing his emoji with that of the perceived new strongman, his bulging eyes with the protruding belly, his bare frame with the full regalia of a Port-Harcourt field marshal who will soon forget he too is just a pun in the fantasy of the Nigerian electorate waiting for day their reign will come.
The Godfather we can call our own—JIDE ALUKA
THE GODFATHER WE CAN CALL OUR OWN