By Festus Adedayo
The Edo governorship election has come and gone, leaving its flakes hovering in the sky. The flakes come in the form of lessons to be learnt from the highly-charged pre-election pundits’ prediction on Edo and Nigeria as a whole, the post-election expectations from Edo governor, Godwin Obaseki, winner of the said election, among many others.
Let me begin from the last flake. Obaseki has done well by acknowledging the people of Edo State as the Number One hero of that victory, as well as his colleague governors who demonstrated espirit-de-corps in supporting him. His thank-you visits to those governors are also in order as a major consideration in African social relationship. In fact, you could group his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari immediately after the election as belonging to this same social requisite category.
However, a major debate has been provoked by these visits and which is permutations that he would soon jump ship to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The governor’s response to the insinuations is also very apt. He had been quoted as having said that if he abandoned the PDP that shielded him from the APC tempestuous downpour that threatened to consume him, that move would define him as an ingrate who stands for nothing. Which is very true.
Granted that the borderlessness of Nigerian political party space is well recognized, jumping ship for Obaseki, though it may portend no serious political implication, would be a total confirmation that Nigerian politicians have indeed sold their souls to Mephistopheles for a farthing. Even if symbolic, Obaseki should remain in the PDP for the remaining four years of his stay in office to demonstrate that, no matter how few, men of principles can still be found among the political species.
Another flake is what should be the speed of Obaseki’s delivery of democratic dividends to the people of Edo State. Experiences have shown that second terms for governors have become a huge liability. Second-termers go into that office relaxed, unexcited and very uninspiring in bonding with the people. Obaseki should justify the people’s sweats by bailing out of that loop. He should populate that school of people who believe that society would benefit more if elected executive office holders get a second term.
The Adams Oshiomhole flake has also been at issue. What becomes of Oshiomhole in Obaseki’s governmental estimation? Obaseki has been quoted to have said that if the former APC chairman behaves well, he would not be smoked out of Edo but if he carries himself like the carnivorous lion imagery he invoked, he would be out of the state. I will want an Obaseki who visits Oshiomhole to ask for his hands of fellowship. Having been fought for by providence and the people, Obaseki should not be seen in the milieu of revenge.
Finally, I found the UK’s response to the Buhari government’s frown at the visa ban placed on Nigerian politicians who subvert the will of the people at the polls very apt. Last week, I had lampooned that Buhari government statement as odd, realizing that the UK and America reserved the right to decide who they allowed inside their territories. The UK, during the week, said exactly that. The outcome of the Edo election, which many people have attributed, in large part, to the threat of visa ban by America and the UK, was necessary for us to instill sanity into the Nigerian electoral process. This is why I do not believe that Buhari ensured that peaceful election. These countries are where politicians ferry their loots and places of Buhari and his acolytes’ convalescence. Can you imagine a visa ban on despicable Nigerian politicians who go abroad to treat ailments as minor as tooth aches? So, if you ask me, Buhari and his gang behaved well in Edo, afraid of UK/US visa ban.
Festus Adedayo is a Public Affairs Analyst.