BY CHRIS CHIME
The recently concluded gubernatorial elections In Edo State threw up a whole lot of lessons especially for us here in Enugu Sate and may have opened up new possibilities in the way elections are conducted in Nigeria.
I will start with the lessons; especially for those posturing as godfathers, with the conviction that their Godless ambitions must be realized, no matter whose ox is gored.
Over the past twenty two years in the Coal City State, we have held sacrosanct the gentlemanly and brotherly understanding that for peace to prevail, the three senatorial zones making up the State will, in rotations of eight years each, produce the man or woman who will occupy the hallowed seat located in the Lion Building, as Governor.
Starting with Enugu East, Governor Chimaroke Nnamani emerged and without sweat completed his allocated eight years. Enugu West followed seamlessly and produced Governor Sullivan Chime, while Enugu North, the last zone in the rotational arrangement, is currently enjoying its own privilege, ably represented by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
With the rotation gone full circle, it is then preposterous that, instead of receiving heartwarming news about advanced arrangements towards anointing a credible candidate from Enugu East Zone, rumors are emanating from some quarters that a self-styled godfather from Enugu West is positioning to contest the gubernatorial seat come 2023.
By such brazen contemplation, if there is any truth to it, the suspect will be attempting to truncate an arrangement that had engendered peace and tranquility in our political space these past years.
We will recall that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the erstwhile Chairman of APC and the acclaimed godfather of Edo politics, drunk with inordinate and blind ambition, attempted to make a jest of the people’s will, just the same manner our own self-appointed godfather in Enugu State is presently doing. At a kangaroo session involving some selected members of the APC Working Committee, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in a bid to flex godfather muscles, deposed the sitting APC governor, Godwin Obaseki as the party’s flag bearer, hoping to deny him the chance of a second tenure in office.
While watching that session on Channels Television, it was obvious that his actions were brazen and had no root in tactical reasoning. He simply wanted to prove to the world that as godfather, he had the right to remove a sitting Governor, whether he was loved by the people or not. For that irrational action, he paid dearly. His appointed candidate not only lost, but his political wings were permanently clipped.
With a similar scene playing out in Enugu State, where the assumed godfather is unabashedly posturing to subvert the people’s will and overturn a standing arrangement, just to gain political power, the Edo State outcome is most likely going to be replicated. If he eventually decides to put his ill-advised plot to test, his fall from grace will surely turn out to be more historic and more thunderous than anything experienced by Oshiomhole.
On yet another level, the conduct of the Edo elections marked a watershed in the efforts by INEC to reform the electoral process with a view to ensuring free and credible elections. For the first time, we witnessed a process where officially, results were captured and uploaded directly to the portals at the local government collation centers and then subsequently to the State Collation Center where they were promptly announced. With that simple resort to technology, it was made impossible for any thief to snatch ballot boxes while they were being transported to either the local government or state centers. In effect, the hitherto easy and very wide route to subverting the people’s mandate was dramatically narrowed, to the chagrin of our corrupt politicians.
If INEC is able to muster the political will to institute this system and subsequently deploy it in future elections, then the Enugu godfather, who must have been emboldened by the reasoning that he could always rely on the old system to win elections even as a very unpopular candidate, will have no option but to think twice.
However, most likely, he could decide to ignore the writing on the wall and go ahead to choose the path of infamy, by bulldozing his way through the ranks. If that be the case, then destiny awaits him at the end of the tunnel and will most surely deal him a blow he might not be in a hurry to forget.