Written by Shaba Mafu
No matter how hotly contested an election is, it will certainly come and go. The most ideal and important thing in all such situations is that the players at any levels outlive the electoral processes so as to enjoy the expected dividends of democracy. Many elections have been conducted in Nigeria. Some people who wanted to die for their country in the most dishonourable manner have gone with the elections while those who were wise and desired to live have stayed alive. Nigeria, as a country, and the component states will always outlive any elections. This should be the pivot on which all issues revolve, particularly to those who are courting violence in the forthcoming Edo elections.
Barely three weeks from now, Edo people will be filing out to choose who will lead them in the next four years as the Governor of the State. Precisely on the 19th of September, Edo people will surely decide between the top contestants of the race. These are Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and the incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). On the 31st August, 2020, The PUNCH newspaper (online platform) authoritatively reported an arms build-up in Edo state as the gubernatorial election gathers momentum. The Newspaper under the caption, “POLLS: Parties clash as IG fingers politicians in arms build-up”, reported that “the IG stated that the Election Security Threat Assessment Report submitted by the Commissioners of Police from both states in a meeting held on August 25 also revealed the use of inciting statements during political campaigns and a high likelihood of violence and possible cross-attack by political opponents.
First, I would like to submit that whoever agrees to collect a gun from any politician for the purpose of perpetrating mischief is the greatest fool ever living on the soil of this great country, Nigeria. The question is how many of the politicians’ children carry guns for the elections for their fathers? How many commoners do you see being chauffeured away in Armoured Personnel Carriers or a standing helicopter in the face of violence, being ignited by same fleeing politicians? Come to think of it, who Is actually your political opponent? Your kinsman? Your next-door neighbor who have lived peacefully with you at least for the past four years, who belonged to another political party of his choice.
This person was your neighbor until campaign started, and a ‘stranger’ came and talked ill about someone who ordinarily had not personally offended you. With his oratory power like Lucifer deceived you to the extent of such hatred that you agreed to collect a gun to terminate the life of your neighbor or at least a human being. Sadly, after the killings, these deceiving politicians never fulfilled their electoral promises. Once elected into that office, the same politician becomes invincible. Whilst they campaigned, the door of access was thrown open to them by the so-called commoners in every community or town they chose to enter.
He is accompanied to campaign grounds with drums and dances with special songs composed in his name, but once elected and becomes an ‘Excellency’, you need to write series of letters begging him, praising him in order to fulfill his electoral promises he freely gave during campaigns. Kings and high personalities have to pay courtesy calls to pamper this political colossus striding the political heath of the state, an individual who someone was murdered for his sake. You become more a commoner to this exalted principality. When he is asked to give account of his stewardship, he turns around to brand you an enemy, and deploys all his executive might to finish you up. This was the same person someone was gunned down for. None of the candidates is worth the blood of ordinary goats, not to talk more of a whole human being created in the image of the Almighty God, a member of the human race. Which politician is worth even the stale blood of an animal? Who?
History has proved that most politicians do not love his people (his constituency). They only flash their teeth like a British harlot, during their campaigns. They satisfy your IMMEDIATE needs like food, drinks and go ahead to hatch personal agenda hidden in the basket of flavoured lies. Having shown you a fading and fake love, you will be recruited to their assassin squad. No human life can be quantified in monetary terms. The prospective hoodlums to be recruited must know this clearly. If the lives of these hoodlums have been made worthless by the same politicians they want to kill for, the lives of other people remain very sacrosanct and very useful to the owners.
The security operatives must be up and doing to nip any criminal intent on the buds. The Police have already taken a proactive step by virtue of the information flowing to their domain on the possible violence and “cross-attacks of political opponents”. They should ensure that they are not compromised by financial inducements. Any compromise could be very suicidal.
Regarding the use of violent speeches during campaigns, politicians should be mindful of what they say. Apart from the fact they are capable of inciting damning violence, they are character-assassinations and hate speeches which this present government has seriously frowned at. No matter the violence by the politicians, we still have a common irretrievable denominator, an indisputable oneness; we are still from the same State, Edo State. If not for the left-handed politics of Nigerians, brilliant and productive individuals from other political parties could be invited to form a government to give the best for a people. Unfortunately, the systems of rewards have always beclouded the political system.
In my conclusion, it is very possible to conduct the elections in Edo State with all civility and decorum without any threats to public peace, not to talk more of threats to the lives and properties of the people of Edo State. All the stakeholders, the politicians and their followers, the Police, the electoral umpire, the traditional rulers, the media, etc should join their hands together to ensure a peaceful election in Edo State. The National Orientation Agency should also wake up to her responsibilities during this volatile period. Edo people must deliberately reject the gift of death by self-serving politicians. They are humans like you, and in no way better save just the privileges they are exposed to, which privileges you may be favoured with, sooner or later.