With campaign for the Governorship election in Edo State in top gear, one hears all kinds of arguments from different campaigners to support candidate of their choice or the party they belong. The arguments the campaigners are advancing to express their support and loyalty ranges from logical to the very absurd.
Recently while traveling in a bus to Benin City, a woman, who clearly was a lone voice in support of PDP, announced to us that Mr. President is staunchly supporting PDP’s gubernatorial candidate, Major-Gen Charles Airhiavbere (rtd). One man immediately asked her if she wanted the president to abandon his party and support APGA candidate. We all laughed because the use of APGA, which do not have a candidate for the contest, is to show the woman how funny her information was. The woman trying to make her point appealed that she should be listened to before we react. She informed us that Mr. President has assigned PDP Governors to fund the electioneering campaign of the party in different Local Government Area in the State. She provoked a prolong laughter from us as her later information was a bizarre thing to suggest.
Supporters of the two major parties in the race, ACN and PDP, are using everything they can lay hand on to gain even psychological advantage. What I find interesting is when you try interviewing most of the street vociferous supporters of the parties dishing out what ordinarily look like sensitive information, what you get is revealing – they are not card carrying members of their party; few who claim to be card carrying members will tell you, when engaged as to how often they attend their party’s meeting, they don’t attend party meetings as their party leaders do not invite them for meetings when election is not close. Whatever information such people give, I take with a pinch of salt.
What the woman in the bus was trying to impress on us was that with one governor financing one local government, ACN cannot match PDP in resource distribution. I personally do not agree with her because Mr. President has a lot of problems to contend with now that even though he will support his party to win the state, he will not take the election so personal as to promote “do or die” politics. Considering the fact also that his and his party’s performance across the country is abysmal, he will not think about approaching any state Chief Executive to fund election outside their state. Even if he does, I was prepared to take a bet that no Chief Executive in face of unmet electioneering promises will agree to use his state scarce resources to co-fund election outside his state.
However, when leaders of a party, who make and execute the party’s policies, engage in wayward talk, such party also needs to be taken by the people as wayward and undeserving of confidence vote. The primary reason given by the National Vice-Chairman of PDP, South-South, Mr. Stephen Oru, why his party MUST win July 14 governorship election in Edo State is at best preposterous. The principal reason he advanced is exactly the same reason why majority of Edolites are excited and most prepared to further sink PDP in the state come July 14, 2012.
On why PDP must win Edo, Mr. Stephen Oru, as contained in Sun Newspaper of Friday, May 11, 2012, said the party was working hard towards victory at the governorship elections in Edo because, PDP needs 100 per cent support for the second term bid of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. He went further to say it was important for the party to have a hundred per cent domination at the home region of the president with a victory in the governorship poll in Edo State. Not done yet, he promised that the party in the region would temporarily relocate to Edo State for the election and lamented the loss of the state to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) through the court and vowed that the party would reclaim the state through the ballot. He said “When the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo came to power in 1999, there was no PDP State in the South-west. During the second election, we won six with the exception of Lagos State. But now during Jonathan, it is important that we have a hundred per cent PDP in the South-south to affirm a base for the Jonathan second term in 2015.”
These are the kind of people who will exploit their access to the president and impress it on him that he needs to surpass Obasanjo’s record to be re-elected. Though we dismissed the information by the woman in the bus, I think Oru wanting to relocate the region to the state and with intent to winning Edo State for a reason that is well outside the primary essence of governance is suggestive.
Oru and his narrow-minded party leaders should know that the people of Edo State have seen the light through Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and are not prepared to reverse his achievement by handling the state to PDP just because Jonathan, who is presently confused on how best to steer the affair of the nation, needs 100 percent support for second term. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole gave us his words and has lived up to it. He has delivered excellently. Come July 14, 2012, we are going to tell him thank you by massively voting for him.
Edolites are not prepared to go back to the days of political godfatherism. It has never helped in advancing the course of development in any state. Anyone in doubt of the evil nature of “politics of godfatherism” should ask Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, Chimaroke Nnamani, Lucky Igbenedion, Chris Ngige, Osariemen Osunbor just to mention few. Lucky Igbenedion for eight years used the resources of Edo State to serve himself and the godfather.
Edo People for now cannot trust any candidates presented by PDP no matter his outstanding quality, not to talk of an unknown candidate, considering the present leadership of the party and its manifest capacity to turn angels into sinners. Before our very eyes, we see how PDP has turned Reuben Abati, who used his entire youth age fighting for social justice and upholding the truth, into blatant liar – lying with grey hair. Imagine Reuben telling Nigerians that Jonathan has delivered on all his electoral promises, which impliedly means that the president has achieved stable power supply, created jobs for the youths, has achieved qualitative and affordable education for our teaming youths, has ensured security of lives and properties, has successfully fought corruption among others.
PDP shot itself on the foot by presenting a candidate who before now was not known in the state. People are just beginning to learn to pronounce his name. Major-Gen Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) is not even helping himself as he is not forthcoming with information to enlighten Edolites of his pedigrees that recommend him for the reposition of trust other than what we know of him - a retired Major-General in Nigeria Army. He appears to be depending on the usual PDP manner of winning which actually helped him to emerge as winner of his party’s primary in the first place. The seed of one man one vote planted in Edo State has attained maturity that whoever wants to win election must submit his fate to the will of the people. We, the people of Edo State, are not prepared to gamble with our fate by voting into power person we hardly know.
PDP support base presently in Edo is only limited to those who benefited maximally when the party was in power and corruption was the norm. A friend told me recently that a young man while publicly campaigning for the party query the rational of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole building roads, hospital and he was emphatic on school demanding to know if building of schools will put food on people’s table. The young man noted that during the time of PDP state money was circulating in the hands of the people and everybody was happy. These are the kind of people who PDP will depend on in the forthcoming election. Unluckily for the party, people with such restricted sense of reasoning are in absolute minority.
I have been to all parts of Edo State and I say with all sense of responsibility that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s developmental stride is all pervasive in the State. Worthy of note is that our Governor does not compromise quality. He is visibly developing all sectors at the same time. Edo State has never had it this good. Many believed Edo State was irredeemably on the path of collapse before Comrade Adams Oshiomhole became Governor and with him at the saddle hope has returned to average Edolite. To think that we are going to do away with this newly found joy for mundane reason that Jonathan needs second term is the height of joke.
Oru and his party should not bother relocating to Edo because the election is already won and lost. We, the good people of Edo State, are united in our desire to say thank you to the Comrade Governor for a job well done.