Why we must pay close attention to the election in Edo

The Edo gubernatorial election is today and this is not one of those types that Nigerians are taking lightly considering the circumstances and events that led up to this day.

The Nigerian Police and the DSS made several claims about a security threat that would have disrupted the election process if it held on the original date. The electoral body, in a full display of it’s autonomy, shunned the security agencies until like an online news agency reported it, news of the election postponement “came out of the blues”.

The ruling APC has been largely unimpressive since they were voted in most parts of the country in the 2015 elections, Nigerians have suddenly entered into the “light” so there’s a new level of sensitivity in the way most people react to issues like this one.

Is this another cunning attempt by the APC to favour its candidate, Godwin Obaseki, a man who publicly admitted to being a stooge of the incumbent governor, Adams Oshiomhole? According to Ekiti State’s Governor Ayo Fayose, a staunch critic of the APC, the postponement is a strategy by the APC to perfect its “new rigging plan”. Hate him or not, Nigerians have reached a point where this Gov. Fayose whom we used to disregard as a loudmouth and bitter politician, might actually be right on many levels. Not that a lot of people truly want to, but President Buhari’s run-of-the-mill performance brought us here.
But more than the postponement, there are writings on the wall that Nigerians are paying rapt attention to and in less than, 24 hours from now, the fate of the broom party will be decided by all of us. This is the biggest state election to be conducted under this President Buhari’s watch. Since November 2015, results of gubernatorial elections held in Bayelsa, Kogi, Imo, Nasarawa have been inconclusive. The spate has eroded the confidence of voters in the election process in Nigeria and INEC has taken less of the blame. At least, the APC promised a better electioneering process in its fancy campaign in 2015 so it makes sense to heap all the blames on them.

This time though, the APC has a free ticket to redeem its inglorious image, not that it would make much difference, but hope would be restored in our ability as a country to conduct free and fair elections and we deserve that.

That said, this election is not about the APC, the party only has the power to make or mar it. How about PDP’s candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu? The man shone at the debates few weeks ago, a feat that is the least surprising as pastors are known to be well-versed. It is a battle between the man and the party. The PDP ruled in Edo state for 8 years, two-term governor, Lucky Igbinedion is hard to forget, his administration was chiefly characterized by fraud and gross corruption, so it’s hard to place the affairs of the state in the hands of a man who belongs to the same party that ran it aground before. Not only do these two men share the same politicking views, Ize-Iyamu is also considered a stooge of the man, Igbinedion. He was the Secretary to the corrupt government that Igbinedion ran.

Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu are not the only candidates at the election but they are the major contenders. Each man and his party did not spend the night praying for a miracle to happen today. As the police strategizes its deployment of officers, INEC on its part strategizes how voting materials will reach all parts of the state. On the part of the candidates and especially their parties, there is so much to look out for. A win in Edo state will be pivotal to the leverage the APC so desperately needs in the South South and South East. The PDP is embattled, a win will be good for the morale of its leaders and will strengthen its opposition stance. So we wait!

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