The inordinate lust for political power combined with a voracious appetite for appropriation of public wealth is the sole driving force behind the so called protestations against the resounding victory of the APC in the Edo 2016 Governorship Election. The real motive for the orchestrated heckling, no matter how artfully masqueraded, cannot be concealed. The diabolic calculation, of the ugly faces and self-serving characters behind the masks of the mostly innocent and negligible youths carrying placards, is very clear. Some factional leaders of Edo PDP with huge deficits in democratic credentials are determined to further exploit the vulnerabilities of the long-suffering Edo youths in another journey to hallucinatory destinations.
The destination being promised by Ize-Iyamu to the misguided demonstrators is not by any means different from the blindfolded odyssey that the candidate touted in the ‘’Future Is Now’’ political campaign document, a pamphlet which has been adjudged as political heresy- the candidate as the messenger and his dubious message suffered outright rejection during the governorship contest. The PDP manifesto was literally considered less than some trash to be dumped in the garbage heap of history. The current sinister attempt by the former PDP candidate to vengefully slow down the momentum of progress for Edo people will fail- the contrived ‘opposition movement’ will similarly collapse with catastrophic bang. The demonstrations are not in any way reflective of a genuine pro-democracy movement, but the rickety political machine of an insatiable power seeker.
Every reliable public opinion poll on the streets of Edo State clearly indicate the direction that the people want to go, but some self-appointed PDP leaders are feeding their negligible demonstrators with vitriolic fictional tales about victory and attempting to generate heat and confusion in the polity. Regrettably, the conscienceless and cowardly financiers of the demonstrations have no interest in the authentic verdict of the Edo electorate as they are fully aware that they lost woefully at the polls.
Even with the infamously low standards of Ize-Iyamu’s Campaign for truth telling, this recent effort to invent an alternative universe of facts is still shockingly abysmal. Credible reports indicate that overwhelming group of PDP polling agents were deeply embarrassed about their party’s claim of victory. These workers were those directly on the ground in the over 3,000 (three thousand) polling units, at the 192 (one hundred and ninety-two) wards and the 18 (eighteen) Local Government Areas Collation Centers on election Day. From various confidential correspondence, most of the PDP agents were stupefied when they discovered that absolutely false results were being disseminated by their party; that the Ize-Iyamu Campaign Office was on the Social Media broadcasting fabricated outcomes even from units where voting was still in progress and in huge areas where counting was on going. This was a premeditated conduct of unconscionable desperation calculated to sabotage the electoral process on a massive scale with consequences of spontaneity for communal and civil conflagration. But such humane considerations do not have any bearing in the moral compass of the concerned PDP leaders- everyone and everything else can be sacrificed in their lust for political power.
It was on such basis that Ize-Iyamu Campaign somehow deluded itself into believing that their agents would sheepishly yield to the coded message that they were dispatching. The sinister projection was that these poll workers and PDP supporters have no consideration for their own survival and their families’ future as well as the safety of their communities. While it will be wrong to suggest any infidelity to the hope for their party’s victory, the PDP poll workers were however unwilling to blindly accept the improbable and impossible figures being distributed; they were not going to be faithful to the tales of victory being scripted in Ize-Iyamu’s political ‘Wonderland’. Except for a few places across the state, the PDP agents justifiably and in overwhelming majority signed the historic results sheets from their polling units, from their wards and the materials from the Local Government Collation Centers.
Not even, Barrister Chris Agbonwanegbe, who represented Ize-Iyamu at the State’s final collation center had much complaints as the results were comprehensively presented in persuasive details before Edo people with live television transmission. The Inec collating center from where the broadcast took place was the equivalent of a Peoples’ Tribunal with all the party agents represented and given ample opportunity to raise objections. It was evident to all those watching on the 29th of September that the PDP was inclined to perform an Edo State version of ‘’ Orubebe’’- a repeat of the tragic –comedy staged by ex-minister Orubebe during the final collation of Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election results. Ex- President Jonathan acting on the irreversibility of the verdict of the Nigerian electorate wisely suffered Orubebe to ridicule himself before millions of television viewers.
The unvarnished truth is that the PDP could not have been in the vicinity of victory or anywhere in the proximity of the statistical stadium of triumph. People’s history will unchangeably testify that Ize-Iyamu’s Campaign was hopelessly unprepared for the nature of the remarkably peaceful, free and fair exercise in the just concluded election. Right from the scandal- infested cradle of his declaration to contest and through the primary election which was hijacked by Ize-Iyamu’s gang, he was preparing for a very different situation from the occurrence of Sept 28th. The PDP candidate had grossly or arrogantly underestimated the firm resolve of the Edo electorate not to return to the land of pestilence of 1999-2007, the despicable era in which Ize-Iyamu served as Chief of Staff and Secretary to Government under Ex-Governor Igbinedion.
The PDP campaign failed because it entered the arena on two unsustainable premises founded on fatal illusion. One was that Ize-Iyamu was a ‘’ Capo’’, the brave heart, ready to meet violence with violence. So Ize-Iyamu sold himself to the PDP as the candidate who could recruit thugs and militants to secure the party’s fortunes. The electorate however had a different contemplation; the election was going to be different, it was going to be the launching of a bloodless and violence-free economic and democratic evolution in the heart of Nigeria. The PDP did not make preparation for such a political terrain- they were still reading the obsolete maps of yesteryears when rigging and violence were the nicknames for elections-the kind of which PDP was famous. The second and more deadly error born out of obdurate arrogance was the confidence of the Ize-Iyamu group that the candidate could ‘’ bully’’ his way to victory by laying a false narrative on the collective memory of Edo people. Unfortunately, the Edo electorate possesses acute historical recollection and, therefore, sharply rejected what was obviously a third term bid by a do-nothing political family from which Ize-Iyamu hails.
This is the incontrovertible verdict of history from the 2016 Edo Governorship Election. However, the self-destructive gene which takes dominion in the psyche of personalities with delusional psychosis is now at play. It seems that the former PDP Governorship candidate is determined to squander the precious time of Edo people in baseless electoral litigation and court-room theatrics. Ize-Iyamu’s intention is to suffocate the momentum of progress and attempt a delay in the actualization of the promises made by the APC and Godwin Obaseki during the election. September 28th marked the crystallization of the hope for Edo people for edification of remarkable economic objectives on the 21st Century Boulevard of progress. And no obstacles, no matter how formidable, can stop the manifestation of the peoples’ verdict and their profound aspirations.
Oteghe Adams, Public Affairs Commentator, Benin City, Nigeria.