By Isaac Asabor

Amidst thousands of political terminologies and phrases that can be found in lexicons, one of the phrases that continued to excite me is Horse Racing. I must confess that I have been more excited whenever journalists of all stripes incorporate the phrase into headlines in the bid to make them become catchy. Without resorting to lay undue emphasis on the political jargon, Horse Racing, ahead of any general election has become the most favorable catchword and hackneyed terminology preferred by journalists on politics desk and political observers.

As journalists, political pundits and observers keep describing any given election as a horse race, it is expedient to ask at this juncture what they mean by that. I must confess that the terminology has in the recent times created a lasting impression in my subconscious, and has against that backdrop inspired me to embark on an etymological journey in search of the relevance of the phrase within the context of Edo the upcoming Primary election which comes up in June 2020, and the general elections which comes up in September 2020.

As I gathered, Horse Racing is the sport in which horses and their riders take part in races, either on a flat course or over hurdles or fences, typically with substantial betting on the outcome.

Having satisfied my inquisitive mindset by gaining an invaluable insight into what Horse Racing is all about and that it allegorically finds expression in elections, permit me to appraise Dr. Pius Egheranmwen Odubu’s strength from a metaphorical perspective ahead of the foregoing elections.

In order to faultlessly appraise him in this context, it is expedient to ask, “What are the attributes that make a horse prancing and a winner in a Horse Race, and how can the characteristics that made up the winning horse be allegorically be related to Odubu’s race to Osadebey Avenue?

First and foremost, to those that want to be winners in Horse Racing, the need to ride winning horses is no doubt enthralling; either as owners or punters looking to make winning bets. But of course, it’s not the easiest of tasks. For the sake of clarity, looking at how a winning racehorse triumphs in this metaphorical context simply means a personification of Odubu’s background in all its ramifications as long as the much awaited elections are concern.

In Horse Racing, some horses prefer certain types of ground to race on. It may be that they only show their very best form on good ground. Some contestants may be praying for it to rain as a soft ground can have an improved chance of winning their next race just the same way some politicians in a contest would be looking for an undemocratic way out. A look at the horse’s pedigree will give important clues as to which ground it will prefer. A horse that can perform well regardless of the ground conditions can have a successful career in Horse Racing. Seen in this light, Odubu is well equipped as can be seen from his intimidating CV that he will surely excel in the coming elections; irrespective of the conditions he would meet. With this in mind, Odubu is a politician that God has destined to pull crowd of voters across the State, particularly in Orhionmwon with its large population, and which remains his political stronghold; anytime, any day.

Again, racing over the right distance is a key factor in horse racing. Often it will take a few races to work out the best distance over which a horse should run. Examples abound on how contestants in Horse Racing took part in competitive game, and end up not seeing their efforts working out, and weeks later, they will move back to six furlongs and win the game. So will the victory of Odubu come in the forthcoming general election that he will participate in the much expected general election in November 2020. His strength of racing long distance can be found in his bid for the gubernatorial position in 2016 where he came out in second position.

As in many sports, it is the consistent performer that usually becomes one of the most successful participants. Being able to retain form for a long time is an important asset whether it concerns human or a horse. When backing a racehorse, there is need to have faith in the fact that it will put in a good performance and hopefully be a winner. Analyzed from the foregoing perspective, other politicians in his ilk would have out of grievances in the 2016 election which he participated in due to the unfairness and injustice that characterized the election cross carpet to another party, and may be come back again as the “bread is now buttered.” Odubu is not that kind of politician. He is consistent. For instance he has remained consistent in his affiliation to his party starting from ACD to AC to ACN, and now APC. He is never a political prostitute. Likewise, consistency matters a lot in Horse Racing as the horse that runs a good race in a particular week and and as an average or poor one the following week is not going to be trustworthy. Reasoned from the foregoing, it is expedient to clarify at this juncture that Odubu is not a “learner” in the game of politics. He has been a serial winner. His past elections that made him became legislator unarguably buttressed this view.

Still in the same nexus, the build of a horse is a good sign of how well it will race. Its bone structure must fit in with its size. Thin leg bones on a horse of good size are not going to produce a winner. Have a look in the paddock to see what the horses look like. A good strong horse is a likely winner but there are other areas to consider that are not immediately visible. Against the foregoing perspective, Odubu’s political background is strongly built to the admiration of his supporters and non- supporters who cannot swallow their collective pride to express their admiration. His CV is no doubt well-built and can comparatively be compared to a well-built horse.

Appraised from another perspective, it suffices to say that it can often be a real battle to win a race in a Horse Race, especially in a highly competitive one. Being able to win a tight finish is a good sign that a horse can be a regular winner. If a horse is overtaken in the final furlong but can fight back and get its nose in front at the winning line, then that’s one worth backing. Without any iota of exaggeration, Odubu has the fighting spirit to win the coming elections in the State as the odds are in his favour. To many political observers and political pundits, betting on Odubu on his race to Osadebey Avenue can never lead to loss.

On discipline, it is expedient to opine in this context that a horse that won’t obey orders is not going to be a winning one. There are a lot of lessons for a horse to learn during the period it would be used for Horse Racing. It goes to say that the horse that adapt to situations will be the winner in any contest. Odubu, no doubt is a disciplinarian when it comes to politics, and he wants his followers to always exhibit the same disciplinary disposition as he has for the umpteenth time urged them not to ridicule or castigate his political opponents. By beginning to understand horse’s behaviour, you’ll know they need to keep calm before a race, and if running on the flat, they need to get used to being in the stalls. Unruly behaviour has often cost horses their races just the same way it costs unruly politicians.

As you can see, there are plenty of factors that can make a good political analyst to conclude that Odubu is no doubt metaphorically riding on a prancing winning racehorse. There is no denying the fact that a thorough bred horse shares the attributes that need to be taken into consideration when looking at what makes a successful politician. Few possess all these qualities, but the more they have, the better the chance for them to have a successful outings in any given competition.