March 9th, 2019 will be epochal in the chronicles of Governor Obaseki’s trajectory to locate Edo State as the flagship of the All Progressives Congress in Nigeria’s South-South political map. The March 9th House of Assembly Election witnessed the unprecedented enhancement and advancement of the APC brand in the peculiarly treacherous Southern terrain of our national politics.
Despite Obaseki’s famed preference for high achievements but the noiseless approach to governance, the Edo electorate literally turned out for the March election to deliver a rousing ovation of confidence and pride in the Governor. Inspired by the brilliant scorecard of the administration, all the supposed ‘’islands’’ under the control of opposition parties and other self –ascribed political giants collapsed under the momentum of Obaseki’s people’s movement. The defeat of the PDP was resoundingly overwhelming as the articulation of the electorate was sharp and unequivocal. Very remarkably, both external opposition and acts of internal saboteurs were exposed to instructive new lessons in ‘ Obasekism’ as a mass political organizing principle.
As the results rolled in from the election, from the polling units to the wards and to the local governments, it was evident that Governor Obaseki was set to galvanize an unprecedented historical result of delivering all the twenty-four seats for the State House of Assembly to the APC. Since the State’s governorship election is not due till 2020, the House of Assembly race was practically Obaseki’s election as the premier leader of APC in the State. While the names, Godwin Obaseki, was not directly on the ballot, but the impact and assessment of the Governor’s record of service were undoubtedly in the minds of the voters since Obaseki is the premiere chieftain of the party and undoubtedly the most consequential phenomenon in Edo APC hierarchy. Now admirably referred to as 24/24 in the adulation of his unique victory of the surgical evisceration of the opposition from the legislature, others justifiably project the figures to simultaneously suggest that Obaseki is solidly and providentially positioned for unbeatable re-election and governance till 2024.
What was clearly at play in the indisputable home front election was the scriptural guidance that people will ‘reap what they sow’, the contest also validates that the noble perspective that History would inevitably and continuously have consequence. Unfortunately, what the PDP in its irredeemable nature tried to do in the election was to place a veneer on the memory of the electorate; the party tried to disguise itself as an honorable group worthy of reconsideration and acceptance by the voters. However, the perpetually deceitful party, the PDP, failed disastrously in its attempt to engage in historical revisionism. The vigilant and conscious Edo electorate refused to ignore the lessons of history and would not forget or easily forgive the party that committed catalogue of varied economic crimes against the people of Edo State in the woeful years of 1999 to 2007. One could indeed say that Edo citizenry is sacrosanct in their belief that they have left the political pestilence of the PDP- Egyptian years and would not return to the reign of infrastructural neglect, economic penury, and moral decadence.
The reasoning logic of the voters of Edo State is infallible. The electorate on March 9th resolved to stand with a genuinely popular Governor. Edo voters refused to jettison the current flourish of road construction and rehabilitation which is engendering increased socio-economic activities all over the state; Edo people see infrastructure development in all the senatorial districts and local government areas transforming their neighborhoods hence they offered Governor Obaseki their votes of confidence and signaled their resolve for progressive continuity towards 2024. The enlightened voters have embraced the vision of a Governor who is actively laying the foundation of a vigorously competitive industrial sector in the South-South region just as the youths are being exposed to modern entrepreneurial skills of 21st Century technology. Edo state voters, maybe not the self-indulged elites of the PDP, are envisioning a wider non-partisan alliance with the Governor who is comfortably near the fulfillment of his 250,000 job agenda. The public service workers clearly remember the tragic years when they were not sure of the payment of their salaries in comparison to Obaseki’s contemporary times when wages are guaranteed to be duly remitted. The Governor’s sense of responsibility in meeting the obligation to its workforce also amiably extends to Obaseki’s dutiful approach to clearing the mountain of unpaid pension and gratuity that was so crudely accumulated under the PDP regime.
The achievements of Obaseki form the quintessential features of the model of governance being established for the APC anchor state in the South-South political region, and they are the issues that guaranteed the qualitative and earnest victory for President Buhari in the 2019 General Election in Edo State. Although if one were to follow the flippant and censorious social media commentaries of the PDP, it would look as if the party made a big win in the presidential election. Nothing could be further from the unvarnished truth. The PDP narrative is polluting concoction because the unchangeable fact is that the performance of the PDP in the election is pitifully insignificant when placed on the larger scale of electoral history. In fact, the flimsy 5000 vote gap that the PDP illegitimately claims today will be wiped out under critical examination. There are credible reports indicating that the percentage of inexplicably voided ballots in high voting APC areas are enough to wash out the so-called PDP lead in the presidential election.
Despite the rains of bellicose falsehoods and ceaseless malicious campaign often laced with religious emotions, Governor Obaseki gallantly and significantly improved the percentage of victory for the President in a region that some analysts would have considered as a hostile and undulating terrain for the APC presidential campaign. Reflectively, the percentage victory scored by Governor Obaseki in the presidential election here in the South-South would have translated to near 70-80 percentile in other geopolitical regions. What matters most is that Edo State remains a towering APC beacon in the geopolitical region that the PDP perpetually dreams and seeks to completely dominate.
For the PDP in Edo State, the party has rapidly vegetated into insignificance. Whatever remnants that is left of the party is now drifting in the shifting sands of lies. The palatial castle of ego and hallucination in which the self-acclaimed leaders of the PDP are dwelling will unfailingly sink into the abyss of delusion under the weight of peoples’ history. Edo voters will never forget the noxious history of kleptomania perpetrated by the PDP against the people. The House of Assembly election should be instructive to the PDP as an indication where the overwhelming of the Edo people stand politically. Now it is clear why the PDP leadership refused to contest the last local government elections where the APC also won in the 18 local government areas in 2018 Governors Wike and Okowa may continue to inhale the smoke of a mind-altering grand political fiction that PDP exists in Edo State and that the party has the capacity to win elections. The concrete proof is indisputable that the funds being allegedly expended by the Wike/Okowa duo for Edo State elections have not and will not yield any harvests. The election of March 9th stands as the incontrovertible testimony for future electoral scenarios; the consolidation and advancement of Edo State as a South-South APC stronghold is potentially bound to expand and the trajectory is irreversible. The governing model of Obaseki is increasingly attracting national attention especially for its endearing people-oriented agenda and fiscal transparency. The collective resolution of Edo electorate so enthusiastically expressed in several election circles cannot be altered by a cabal of self-promoting PDP leaders who have consistently failed to win even their polling units in every electoral contest.
Ultimately, Obasekism, as embraced by the electorate, will triumph as the ideology of new ethos of service for the emergence of a new society where consideration for the welfare of the people will be of supreme consideration for political leaders.
OTEGHE ADAMS, BENIN CITY, EDO STATE, NIGERIA