By Elizabeth Chukwuma
At long last, the All Progressive Congress, APC, leadership, in Edo state appear to have swallowed their pride of rejecting the September 19, 2020, governorship election result of the state. The party in its emotional outburst, had rejected the result announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission , INEC, appointed Returning officer, Akpofure Rem-Rukeh, a Professor and Chancellor, Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Warri, Delta state.
Political Observers believe that the party leadership may have been encouraged to Congratulate Godwin Obaseki, the state governor, and who incidentally was the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governorship Candidates in the just conclude governorship election in the state because President Muhammadu Buhari ,had congratulated him.
In Congratulating Obaseki, who had won the keenly contested election by 14 political parties in the state which fielded Candidates, Mai Mala Buni, the Chairman of the APC, Caretaker Committee in the state said ‘’the peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represents victory for Nigerian’s Democracy’’.
Perhaps to save his face and that of the party, he said ‘’the party and the Kastina state born Nigerian President are Committed ‘’ to free and fair elections to strengthen the foundation of the country’s political and moral Authority’’.
In giving reasons for rejecting the governorship election result, John Mayaki, the party Chairman, Media Committee, had alleged ‘’strong arms tactics ‘’, which gave the PDP, victory. Mayaki had alleged that Osagie Ize –Iyamu, the party governorship Candidate, supporters were arbitrarily arrested, , stressing that many of the figures bandied about for the PDP Candidate were fabricated.
The party further alleged ‘’illicit tampering with the results to shore up Obaseki’s figures and marked down that of the APC Candidate votes. The party had said that the electoral umpire officials had deliberately decreased the APC candidate’s votes in areas where he had advantage and jerked up PDP figures.
The comments by some of the electorates interviewed after the election shows clearly that Oshiomhole, a former governor of the state who hds assumed the role of the godfather of Edo politics to equate with Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state who has made himself the defacto godfather of south west politics ,particular, Lagos state, by dictating who becomes the governor of the stat speaks volume.
e. He may have dome to Obaseki , what Tinubu, did to Akinwumi Ambode, a former governor of Lagos sate as he denied him a second term and brought in Babajide Sanwo- Olu, who had contested the 2019, governorship election in the state on the ticket of APC ,and won.
In the case of Edo state, Oshiomhole had used subterranean means to disqualify Obaseki from picking the APC, governorship ticket in the September 19, 2020, election and imposed Ize-Iyamu, a Clergy man as the APC , governorship Candidate. In imposing Ize-Iyamu on the party, he was optimistic that the Clergy man, will win the governorship election. He got it wrong . He had failed to read the handwriting on the wall that the people no longer need him and wee ready to turn their back on any party Candidate he supports to prove to him that he is a political feather weight.
It was not surprising why the people ensure that Ize-Iyamu,the APC ,Candidate sponsored by him faiedl the election to avoid giving Oshiomhle room of running the state from his bed room. Note that he had attempted to control Obaseki , in his first term in office being his godfather but the later was not ready to bow to him.
He was said to divided the state House of Assembly as he kept the 14 Lawmakers who were loyal to him permanently in Abuja, for much of the four years o Obaseki first tenure in office to frustrate the him from functioning effectively in office .
Obaseki was said to have cashed on his action to inaugurate the House with the 10 Lawmakers loyal to him. He did everything within his powers to force the governor to re-inaugurate the House to ensure that his loyalists clinch the Principal positions in the House but was disappointed.
Obaseki may have proved to be a better politician than Oshiomhole as he was said to have extended a hand of fellowship to his erstwhile godfather and his godson, Ize-Iyamu , who incidentally his closest rival in the Edo Elections and other leaders and members of the opposition APC,’’ to join hands with him in the Administration of the state’’.
He was specific on his message to Oshiomhole. ‘’I want to use this opportunity to call on the former Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshuomole that the fight is over and he should come and join in the house where he was part of in laying the foundation’’. We have no malice. The only thing we disagree on is the approach in moving Edo forward, he remarked.
H The governor may have confirmed peope’s impression abouthe PDP and APC, that they are one family, parties without ideology. This may have informed why he said that ‘’there is need for Cooperation between the two parties to move the Niger Delta state forward.
The INEC , may have given Obaseki and his Deputy , Philip Shaibu, a cause to Celebrate as it issued Certificates of Return to the duo. Mrs. May Agbmuche-Mbu, the Commission Commissioner, incharge of Edo, Rivers and Bayelsa, was said to have made the presentation on Tuesday, September 22, 2020., at the Benin City office.
Notwithstanding the general consensus the Edo Elections was free and fair, that APC, as APC has Congratulated the PDP, Candidate who won the Edo election, the Federal Court of Appeal, has established the Election Petition Tribunal and also constituted a panel in respect of the south-south state governorship election. The panel was said to have been constituted by Justice Monica Doongban Mnsem, President of the Appeal Court of Nigeria .Both the Election Petition Tribunal and the Panel, were said to have been set up on Sunday, September 20, 2020.
Aggrieved Candidates from the 13 political parties which had slugged it out with Obaseki, the PDP, Candidate on Saturday , September,19, 2020, the Appeal Court President had said has 21 days after the date of the declaration of results in line with section 134 subsection one of the electoral Act to file their petition against the winner of the election.
The inial fear was that APC, would file petition against the declaration of Obaseki as the winner of the Edo election based on their grievances . But the party had agreed that the election was free and fair, an indication that the Edo Election Petition Tribunal and the panel that was set up by the Appeal Court President might not have much work to do .