Talk about World’s politics, the Nigerian Political scene is one that will always stand aloft among world political culture, all thanks to its unique features. One which is filled with so many intrigues, and identity that makes you wonder what its active players are made of. It is a system that makes a mockery and put to shame the best of ideal Political systems of the world. While the Nigerian Political setting during our national experience has in the sustenance of the nation’s democratic process, it has however been soiled with anti-democratic and un-ideal features and practices. Features such as election rigging, god-fatherism, permutation, tribalism and many other related terms has found their way into the mainstream of the Nigerian political stream. Much to the frustration of the people, that is the masses the continual silence of the nation’s elites, the negligence and misplaced priorities of youths in Nigeria has seen to the reality that the nation Nigeria has been denied the growth and development it so craved for since the days of its independence.
The dreams of the nation’s founding fathers to see a country come into a full political institution has been marred by the daily charade that we constantly see on our national dallies been played out by the so-called public officers who got the mandate of the people only to turn their backs against the electorates using the platform given to them to enrich themselves as well as make unpleasant scenarios which our national dallies never fail to cover.
While they say power and money brings out the real behavior of humans, it is however not a fallacy or over generalization to posit that election in Nigerian brings out the innate identity of the Nigeria Political institution. This is when the active players of the Nigerian Political scene comes out as wolves in sheep’s clothing, throwing all caution against the winds as they through every possible way try to lay their hands on political power which they have always craved for; their ticket to having the national piece of cake.
Justifying my rather too blunt description of the Nigerian Political Setting is the recent drama which has continually graced the Nigerian realities coming all the way from the stables of the embattled governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki. The embattled governor over the past few month together with his unwavering accomplice, the deputy governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu has been locked in an ending and unabating fracas with the comrade turned politician, Adams Oshiomhole.
Four years ago, Obaseki was the poster boy of the APC. At various public rallies, APC chairperson Adams Oshiomhole eulogised Obaseki. Oshiomhole made us to believe that Obaseki had no blemishes and that, with him as governor, Edo State was in safe hands and politically advanced.
Here is the glaring hypocrisy in the APC decision to exclude Obaseki. Four years ago when Obaseki received the support of the APC to contest the governorship of Edo State, APC leaders did not spot any stains on Obaseki’s certificates and his family name. Today, APC leaders say Obaseki is a political liability because of issues relating to a missing letter in his family name and his higher school certificate. How revealing. How duplicitous. How narcissistic. How contradictory. The Poster boy for the All Progressive Congress in the state overnight embraced the enemy camp, making himself their commander in chief as he leads his new camp the People’s Democratic Party against his old love.
The crisis between these two political figures, has its root in the supremacy battle between Governor Godwin Obaseki and former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, started on June 17, 2019, when nine of 24 members of the Assembly, who were all elected on the platform of the APC, were secretly inaugurated. The governor had earlier scheduled the proclamation of the Assembly for June 7, but it could not hold because he was said to be absent. However, while they were waiting to be inaugurated, the Clerk of the Assembly, Yahaya Omogbai, was said to have ushered nine of them into the chamber and read out the letter of proclamation transmitted to his office by Governor Obaseki at 10 p.m. on June 17. Reports had it then that the exclusion of the 15 members-elect was to prevent Oshiomhole’s loyalists from taking control of the state legislature. Thus, at the nocturnal sitting of the nine members-elect, they lawmakers elected Frank Okiye (Esan North East Constituency I) as Speaker against Oshiomhole’s preferred candidate after the proclamation.
Since then, 12 of the members-elect have refused to be inaugurated while two of those who later presented their certificates of return to the Clerk and were inaugurated had not been attending plenary.
In December last year, the Speaker, Okiye, declared vacant the seats of 12 members-elect for deliberately refusing to present their certificates of return to the Clerk of the Assembly for inauguration. He had also declared the seats of Messrs Uyi Ekhosuehi and Henry Okaka, representing Oredo East and Owan East respectively, vacant for allegedly absconding from plenary after the inauguration.
He had hinged the decision on the fact that if the lawmakers-elect began to come for sitting from then, they would not meet the mandatory 180 sitting days enshrined in Section 109, Subsection 1(F) of the 1999 Constitution.
The affected members-elect are Vincent Uwadiae, Ovia North-East II; Ugiagbe Dumez, Ovia North-East I; Washington Osifo, Uhunmwode; Victor Edoror, Esan Central; Kingsley Ugabi, Etsako East and Michael Ohio-Ezomo, Owan West.
Others included Sunday Aghedo, Ovia South-West; Chris Okaeben, Oredo West; Crosby Eribo, Egor; Aliyu Oshiomhole, Etsako West II; Oshomah Ahmed, Etsako Central and Ganiyu Audu, Etsako West I.
“Whereas the matter is in court, they have gone ahead to violate the elementary principle of law that says no party in a matter in court can do anything to render the position of the court that would eventually be, nugatory. That is contempt. He is pre-empting the court and attempting to tie the hands of the court and the court does not take it lightly with anybody who does that,” Washington Osifo, who claimed he spoke on behalf of the other 13 lawmakers-elect, had said.
Nevertheless, in January, this year, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, while ruling on the application filed by the 14 lawmakers restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting by-elections on the 14 seats declared vacant by the Speaker.
Since then, the 14 members-elect had been practically out of the scene while Obaseki tightened his grip on the nine lawmakers, effectively managing state affairs with their support.
But with barely six weeks to the governorship election, both camps have been making serious efforts to secure their territories, especially against the backdrop of Obaseki’s defection to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). They fully understand what victory or defeat at the polls portends for their political future and have been realigning forces.
While many has come to air their opinion about the unending drama as being churned out in Edo state, coming to the defense of the embattled governor citing reasons such as the god-fathersim tendency of Adams Oshiomhole must not be tolerated in the state, others pitching their tent with Adams Oshiomhole stated that the former was a traitor who against the trust bestowed on him by the former Governor and also immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress [APC] . However, against these positions which does in certain right has an element of truth, the show of power and supremacy in the state is nothing but a public show of thuggery, maladministration and outright misrepresentation of an ideal political institution.
With all indications and with all the recent happenings in the state, with the kind of utterances and actions from both parties, credence and legitimacy has been given to violence in the state, the features preceding the gubernatorial election in the state is a pointer to that which is to come during the election.
While INEC is doing all its can to ensure a peaceful process, it is however seeming that the next gubernatorial election will not just be settled or decided by the power of the people through their thumbs but will be largely influenced by the ability of the parties involved to manipulate and exploit the system.
While the rest of the world watches and anticipates the outcome of the Edo Gubernatorial election it is quite imperative to condemn the various acts of violence in the state as it has in no way portray the ideal political system, one that is needed for a conducive and enabling environment for peace to thrive and for democracy to be sustained in the state and Nigeria at large.