THERE must be some extraordinary milestones in the journey of a people at which point their leaders must periodically pause for deeper reflections with simultaneous exhibition of a modicum of endearing dignity. It is expected that at such moments, that those invested with the responsibility of guiding the destiny of their communities will abstain, even temporarily, from the seduction of political theatres, that no responsible leader would deliberately seek to overheat the political landscape, to saturate civil discourse with mendacious tales manufactured to mislead the electorate and, consequently ignite civil disorder. Such a minimum conduct should be a binding obligation especially in circumstances where the situation could trigger a state of insecurity in the polity. After all, one of the foremost tasks of governance is the protection of lives and property of the citizenry. Regrettably, it seems that such a refined paradigm of humane contemplation in public affairs is far beyond the likes of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. Fayose, recently, swam across Rivers Ogbese and Osei to pollute the waters of Edo State.
As events relating to security reports and, consequently, hints of possible postponement of Edo State’s 2016 Governorship Election were unfolding, Fayose immediately took on the role of a harbinger for doomsday. On the fateful Wednesday, Sept 7th , ‘the news was breaking ‘ all over Edo State that grave security reports available to the Department of State Services,DSS and the Police could necessitate a change in the gubernatorial election date: from Saturday, September 10th to some weeks later. As most responsible leaders in alliance with peace and democracy-loving people of Edo State patiently waited to comprehend the rapidly evolving scenarios from INEC and the security agencies, the all-knowing ‘Fayoses’ of the world had jumped on the drama stage, beating the drum of tension, Fayose along with some other PDP voices engaged in jaundiced analysis of the unfolding situation and offered lugubrious conclusions.
In his quest for central relevance in the 2019 national PDP calculus, Governor Fayose completely threw caution to the winds, not giving any thoughts to the consequential harm that his comments could inflict on the polity. He hastily told the media that the postponement of Edo election was an APC plot for the purpose of perfecting its rigging strategy. How can a supposed state chief executive make such a potential crisis- generating statement without a shred of evidence? The Governor with a penchant for verbal recklessness further said that the APC was about to destroy the “legacy of free, fair and credible electoral process bequeathed on the country by the PDP’’. On what planet has Fayose been dwelling in the past sixteen years? For anyone to so endow the PDP with the attributes of qualitative and virtuous democracy is the zenith of historical impunity. Coincidentally, the ‘Fayoses’ of our polity wallowed in the planet of impunity for decades until some wise ‘Asiwajus’ and other committed national patriots created an unprecedented African model of responsible opposition alliance called the APC.
Governor Fayose and the likes of Edo State factional PDP governorship candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu are engaged in hallucinatory flights and hoping to block the surging wave of progressive history. Ize –Iyamu, former Chief of Staff and later Secretary to the State Government in the Lucky Igbinedion’s regime (1999-2007), is trying to garner political credits by imputing murky motives for the postponement of the Saturday 10th election. Ize-Iyamu ought to understand that the attempt by the PDP to manufacture conspiracy tales out of the postponement cannot displace the authentic narratives of the wreckage of the vandalised lives and economy that he left behind as ‘’co-governor’’ under Lucky Igbinedion. Edo voters will not suddenly abandon the issues of deficit of trust for PDP, their memory will not suddenly be wiped out on how their salaries and pensions lagged in arrears and situations of whole communities cut off from neighbours during raining season due to poor state of the roads.
Their reflection will remain vibrant on how their children were cramped into dilapidating structures called schools under Ize-Iyamu –Igbinedion government and how such major assets like the Bendel Brewery, Bendel Feed and Flour Mills as well as Bendel Line were either used to obtain huge loans. That was the past under PDP and Ize –Iyamu is yet to honestly explain how the future will be different under his government. Therefore, the attempt to make the postponement of the election the central issue for the voters is an illusory political adventure that will end up in a landslide defeat of the PDP on September 28th. It is understandable that both Fayose and Ize-Iyamu will see common ground in their approach to INEC’s decision.
With the postponement of the election, (protesting) parents of children scheduled to write WAEC initially on the same date can now feel some sense of relief for their children. APC was ready for the election hence the party held it’s very successful grand finale rally at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium on Tuesday September 6th, 2016 with an unprecedented crowd of party supporters and APC leaders across the country in attendance. From the ward level to the senatorial apex, the organisational machinery of the party was in top gear and caliberated for overwhelming victory. APC governorship candidate Godwin Obaseki however told supporters in a message that while he was formidably confident that APC would have indisputably emerged victorious on Saturday, he does not wish to put the” lives of voters and the general population at risk for any reason’’.
For Ize-Iyamu and Fayose, it seems that they would rather jettison the advice of the security agencies and ‘bully’ INEC to hold a poorly-supervised election with NYSC members refusing to cooperate because of deficient security arrangements. The new date of September 28th is not too far away, the trajectory of the Rainbow of victory steadily points in the direction of the APC, none of these hallucinatory somersaults by the Ize-Iyamus and Fayose’s will change the resolute determination of Edo people to vote for a continuing energetic march on the terrain of progress. There will be no going back to the years of bondage under the PDP.
Mr. Oteghe Adams, a political analyst,wrote from Benin City, Edo State