Edo 2020: How Rainbow Coalition Gave Obaseki Victory

Edo 2020: How Rainbow Coalition Gave Obaseki Victory

The overwhelming victory of Edo State Governor and Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Godwin Obaseki in weekend’s governorship election, in which he clinched 307,955 votes of the 550,242 total votes cast, has no doubt sent shock waves down the spines of supporters of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Candidate, Mr Osagie Ize

The overwhelming victory of Edo State Governor and Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Godwin Obaseki in weekend’s governorship election, in which he clinched 307,955 votes of the 550,242 total votes cast, has no doubt sent shock waves down the spines of supporters of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Candidate, Mr Osagie Ize Iyamu, who was trounced in 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs), including his home LGA of Orhiomwon.

A jubilant Obaseki has lauded his people spurned by the battle cry of “four plus four, ogbane,” for giving him the mandate to rule the state for a second time. In his victory post on his official Twitter page, Obaseki, who said words failed him, thanked the people of Edo for being courageous in their bid to end godfatherism in the state.

“Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalisation. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to all Edo people,” he said.

Obaseki’s victory can be traced to a rainbow coalition of forces that neutralised the support base of Ize Iyamu, led by former APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, buoyed by the party’s kingpin in Lagos, Mr Bola Tinubu, a Benin based billionaire businessman, Mr Idahosa Okunbor and a handful of APC Governors.

Resilience of Edo People

The coalescing of forces which include the strong will of the Edo people riled by Oshiomhole’s highly divisive politics, members of the PDP, the faction loyal to Obaseki within APC, including some Governors of the party and the disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari to uphold the choice of the people

Many have particularly praised the resilience of the Edo people for making this possible in spite of intimidation and the preponderance of vote buying. They rejected the antics of those who wanted a replay of the Ambode imbroglio in Edo by their refrain, “Edo nobi Lagos”.

The people gave vent to their resolve by proper vigilance at all the polling units to ensure that their votes were protected.

“The tough independent spirit of Edo people frowns at tendencies to muzzle, impose or dictate leadership choices to them. Edo has a long rich history of political and cultural successes, making the state mostly hostile to godfatherism,” argues David Jegede in his 10 reasons why APC failed in Edo State published in the Sahel Standard Magazine.

The Tinubu Template

Enamoured by the Tinubu template in Lagos in which every political player seeking relevance in the aquatic state in the last 20 years, has to gravitate to Mr Tinubu, who ruled as Governor between 1999 and 2007, Oshiomhole, who had spearheaded a dogged battle against godfatherism while he ruled as Governor, sought to also wield the big stick in Edo politics.

Spending a better part of his 8 year tenure undermining the Esan, a group massed in the central senatorial zone which has produced prominent sons like prominent nationalist, Anthony Enahoro, former Bendel State Governor, Prof Ambrose Alli, former Edo State Governor Prof Oserhiemen Osunbor and a prominent PDP chieftain, Chief Tony Anenih, Oshiomhole had backed Obaseki, who contested on the platform of APC in 2016, in the vain belief that his word will be law.

Unfortunately, he met a brick wall in Obaseki, who was not ready to cede his powers as Governor to any godfathers. Attempts particularly by President Buhari and APC Governors to broker peace and secure some soft landing for Obaseki were rebuffed both by Oshiomhole and Tinubu.

Although the ensuing acrimony led to the stage managed disqualification of Obaseki from the APC governorship primary, leading to his eventual exit from the party, Oshiomhole was given a dinner of scorpions. He not only got suspended from his position as national chairman of the party on the prompting of his suspension from his ward in Etsako and has now been given the humble pie with the defeat of Ize Iyamu. He may have to contend with political oblivion haven lost Olympian power at the centre and the state.  

Lacklustre APC Campaign

The virtual collapse of the APC structure, which lacklustre campaign was led by Oshiomhole and the assemblage of political figures, who had lost face with the people.

Why the party created a campaign council made up of Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, who’s still reeling from Gandollar bribe scandal, Kogi State Governor, Mr Yahaya Bello, who has been indicted for massive election rigging and fraud and Imo State Governor, Mr Hope Uzodinma, the infamous Supreme Court Governor is still something of an enigma.

It was as if the party was short of men of integrity.  The APC structure at all levels in the state also collapsed by design and largely fused into the PDP with its members working at each other’s throat.

Choice of Ize Iyamu

The choice of Ize-Iyamu, who had been thoroughly demarketed by Oshiomhole as a thief who could not be trusted with any political position, was an albatross: The selection of Iyamu as APC flag bearer was seen by many Edo voters as an insult on their sensibilities. He also didn’t have the support of APC Governors with 12 of them backing out of his mega rally slated for Thursday, September 17th which was eventually cancelled.

On the converse, Jegede posits that “the PDP candidate is a product of two schools namely the Oshiomole rugged class and the Wike street clique. Combined with his inheritance of Edo PDP caucus, his machinery was indeed formidable. Added to this was his governance records considered largely good and his smart campaign strategies, adjudged to be street wise.”

“The battle within APC at the national level played out squarely on ground. The party is already split into two flowing from the last crisis that saw the exit of Oshiomole as the party’s national chairman. Defeating APC is part of defeating Oshiomole’s group ahead of the party’s forthcoming national convention. By extension , Edo is a test case for the 2023 presidential battle. The loss of Edo is a major setback for Bola Tinubu’s presidential aspiration.

“If there is a factor that further enhanced Obaseki’s victory, it was the video broadcast by the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu. The message from Lagos reinforced the narrative on ground of a plot to transform Edo to Lagos model. The ill advised clip provided strong campaign ammunition to the PDP.

“A huge factor not considered is the strong coalition of PDP across South South. Of all the South South States , all were PDP except Edo. The defection of Obaseki to PDP changed the scenario, making South South a wholly PDP zone. The South South governors deeply mobilised for Obaseki,” he said..

Commitment to Transparent Election

Commending the election process in Edo State that led to Obaseki’s victory, President Buhari says it is an indication of his commitment to free and fair election..

“My commitment to free and fair elections is firm, because without free and fair elections, the foundation of our political and moral authority will be weak.

“I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order.

“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with,” he said in a statement by his senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

He also commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly

Former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki says the Obaseki’s victory  represents the determination of the good people of Edo State to decide who governs the state and to ensure their votes count at all times.

The People’s Wish

“The result of the Edo election represents the true wish of the people who stood firmly behind their Governor against power mongers who were determined to foist their choice on the people. It represents the will of the people to vote in free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. The people of Edo State who had sleepless nights in order to protect their votes, those who rejected the cash being thrown around to buy their votes and the intimidation to force them to compromise their belief, deserve our praise. Therefore, my congratulations go to all the people of Edo State.

“Let me give kudos to the leaders and governors in our party, the PDP, for working together to achieve this victory. The PDP leaders and members in Edo State who whole-heartedly accepted Governor Obaseki since he joined the party and co-operated with him to bring about this victory deserve to be appreciated

“The result of the just concluded election also represents the fact that our people actually desire to be governed by a truly democratic government headed by those they genuinely voted for. It represents the fact that our security and electoral officials can conduct free and fair elections if they have the right atmosphere. We are happy that throughout this election we did not see the military brutalizing the people or security officials supervising the snatching of ballot boxes and vandalisation of votes. Thus, the military and other security agencies deserve commendation for this successful polls.

“Also, we saw how the INEC officials maturely handled the complaints of the APC agent who sought to create confusion at the state collation centre when the Orihomwon Local Government result was about to be declared. The INEC and its officials deserve to be commended for their neutrality in this election.

Realistic Figures

“We can see that the result represents realistic figures from one local government area to the other. No case of outlandish figures being reeled out. That is also a sign of some level of credibility in the process. It is for the above reasons that I have to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping the military out of this election and for giving the instructions that led to the apparent neutrality of members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other security officials in the entire process”, Saraki stated.

He further urged Governor Obaseki to see his victory as a charge by the people of Edo State to him to intensify his focus on development of the state and the welfare of its people.

“The Edo election result is a victory for our country, her people and democracy. We have shown that the glory of the country is more valuable to the citizens than the wish of a tiny power clique”, he added.

APC Congratulates Obaseki

The APC, has also congratulated Obaseki, over his victory in the election.

A statement by the chairman of the party’s Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee, Mr Mai Mala Buni, said the outcome of the election represented victory for Nigeria’s democracy.

“Edo State Governorship election is over, the winner has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the person of the Mr. Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP). We hereby congratulate the winner of the election, the people of Edo State and all Nigerians.

” The peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represent victory for Nigeria’s democracy.

“As a party, we join our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to affirm our ‘commitment to free and fair elections’ in order to strengthen ‘the foundation for our political and moral authority’.

” We commend INEC, our security agencies and all political parties that contested the election for the successful conduct of the election.

“As a governing party, we will take every step necessary to support the Federal Government to consolidate all the gains achieved.

Salutes Ize Iyamu

“We, in particular want to salute our candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu for his tenacity and leadership.

“We similarly commend our Edo State leaders, especially our immediate past National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and all our members in Edo State for demonstrating unwavering support for our party and our candidate in the election. In the face of all the challenges, we collectively remained faithful and worked tirelessly during the campaigns.

“We appeal to all our members to be strengthened by the outcome of the election and unite in order to correct all the problems that worked against our party and our candidate in the just concluded election.

“Finally, we specially hereby celebrate our Edo State 2020 Governorship Campaign Council led by His Excellency Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of all members of the Campaign Council. As progressives and democrats, we are confident that all leaders and members of the party will celebrate the outcome of the election as free and fair as acknowledged by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari.

” Let us unite to move our democracy for forward. We must put an end to the era when electoral contest become warfare.

Shifts Attention to Ondo

“We urge our candidate and all our members to join us in congratulating Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the PDP, being the declared winner of the election. Our attention must now shift to Ondo State and ensure that we win the October 10, 2020 election. September 19, 2020 Edo election should present a new watershed. We will work hard to win the Ondo election.

”Having reaffirmed our commitment to free and fair elections, it is our expectation that all opposition parties in the country will also commit themselves to free and fair contests.

“We will therefore accordingly expect congratulatory message from all parties just as we similarly guarantee that once we are defeated in a fair contest, we will congratulate the winner.

“May God continue to bless our democracy, our nation and our people!” he said.

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