Popular support, good antecedents, supportive political party and a bit of luck are ingredients which are necessary to winning elections within the Nigerian political setting. However, another factor which is highly important that without which election cannot be one in Nigeria, or should I say credible election cannot be won in Nigeria is a conducive atmosphere in the nation, one which supports the will of the people, the freedom to politically and socially express oneself without fear of intimidation or attack giving all the components of a sovereign state properly called a sense of belonging to operate and function independently and inter-dependently. This is regarded as Democracy, in the words of Abraham Lincoln he defined it as a government of the people by the people and for the people.
This a practice which is advocated by the Elites of the 21st century to be practiced and embraced by nations which calls itself or regard itself as a political state. It is one which grants political Legitimacy for Government; this in this regards implies the general acceptability of a government by its people.
The Nigerian society in its practice of Democracy has often been greatly criticized since the years of it’s civilian rule over it’s ability to practice and embrace a purely democratic system in Nigeria, the various anti democratic features which has become a norm and counter culture of the system has left many wishing and praying for the entrenchment of a pure democratic system.
Every four years in the history of the nation, Nigerians take to the poll to exercise their legal cum constitutional rights which gives them the liberty to vote and be voted for. However they are in most cases left with no viable alternative or choice as this right is taken away from them as these process is often influenced on the altar of personal gains and the unchecked urge and desire for power.
The beauty of this system is lost when people lose their faith in the relevance and ability of this process grant them their demands. It must be noted that the practice of democracy in its truest form not only gives the people the right to vote and be voted for as popularly known by people but also it birth the influx of even growth and development in any society where it’s been practiced as it create the atmosphere for growth and development as it brings about a proper and respectable synergy between the government and the governed.
Bearing all factors which are responsible for influencing the outcome or the election pattern and behavior of the electorates withing a federating system, whatever this factors are, the most important factor is that the tenet and values of democracy must be attained irrespective of the odds.
Using the biblical illustration of one of the trials of Jesus Christ by the Pilate before his eventual crucifixion After the arrest of Jesus Christ by the Pharisees and was later taken to the Court of the Pilate who wished that he could set him free following his personal convinction that Jesus did no wrong. He gave the people the chance to pick between the Jesus whom many said he claimed to be the son of God and a thief named Barabbas who was popularly known and regarded to be a menace to the society. His hope was that the people, his people will choose to liberate Jesus. He’s however dumbfounded to realise that the people picked the thief who made a living by stealing from them. However the Pilate had to respect the wish of the people. He could have used his power as the Pilate to overrule this decision in order for him to have his way. However, he choose not to.
This aforementioned illustration is a pure definition or explanation of what democracy is. The will of the people must stand. It doesn’t matter if it’s bore out of emotions or sentiments.
This is the case or the scenario in the just concluded Gubernatorial election in Edo state which saw to the re-election of the incumbent Governor of Edo state, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against his closest arch rival, Pastor Ize Iyamu of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Active followers of the nation’s political discourse will be well acquainted with the events that led to the September 19 election in Ondo State. The battle between the former Governor of the State and removed National president of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole and the incumbent and re-elected governor of the state Engr Godwin Obaseki.
The result of the election saw that Goodwin Obaseki of the PDP polled a total number of 307,955 votes to defeat his main challenger, Ize-Iyamu of the APC, who scored 223,619 votes. Governor Obaseki was returned elected after polling the highest number of votes in the election.
The reaction trailing the outcome of the election which saw to the emergence of Godwin Obaseki has been described by many as the reflection of the mind and desire of the majority in the state.
It’s said that the Governor was returned re-elected chiefly because majority of Edo State was against the plan to further entrenched the tentacles of God fatherism within the state. The quite unfortunate situation which led to the disqualification of Godwin Obaseki from the All Progressive Congress (APC) signalled to the people a distasteful occurrence one which they felt if not checked will prove disastrous to the good of the state.
Either Godwin Obaseki during his campaign process for his re-election bid campaigned on the basics of what he’s done or will do, the people of Edo State has made their choice, a popular one which many regards as a positive step to the entrenchment of democracy in the State. While many had expected that the result of the election may be manipulated by the ruling party in Nigeria, it’s however a surprise to many that against this belief the people had their way. It’s good to observe that the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Nigerian Police and the People came together to checkmate the excesses of the nation’s political parties, ensuring a peaceful electoral process.
While there’s more to be worked on in our pursuit for a purely democratic system in Nigeria, there are great positives from the conduct of the Edo Gubernatorial election. It’s our hope that the electoral behavior of the electorates will continue to grow into all maturity. One that’s not only dictated by Sentiments, emotions or any other related factors.
By Marcus Amudipe