Both President Goodluck Jonathan and Edo state Governor Comrade lay claim to a passion to see everyone mouthing their common slogan “One Man One Vote, One Woman One Vote and One Youth One Vote,” really walk the talk and entrench this fledgling democracy. Jonathan’sAide on Political Matters, Barrister Gulak also called the Press to remind them how serious his principal and party were about no rigging, no thugggery and no ballot-box snatching or any of such electoral malpractices.
Well, all that had become evident to all discerning observers during the fierce campaign and struggle for the soul of the Heartbeat of the Nation as Edo people love their state to be called. The victory went to the people and the PDP rigging machine failed woefully, the people spoke in unequivocal terms of their desire for the youth and future of Edo state to be liberated for good from the clutches of the greedy and corrupt old brigade and their godfathers.
Mrs. Halliday of INEC (Coordinator of Work with Civil Society) and her boss Prof. Attahiru Jega and his team, (CSO must be very proud indeed of the crack team of Civil Society Organizations (CSO)teams led by the Clem Nwankwo – driven Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) today.
So we made to write this, we called up Halliday and asked how she felt. An excited Mrs. Halliday giggled her delight down the line as she expressed her happiness at the new direction of Nigeria voters and the increasing citizens’ participation in governance decision. To her Election Monitoring Department in INEC, and the good works of PLAC and the likes of Ezenwa Nwagwu (Member, Steering Committee of Partners for Credible Elections and Emma Ezeazu of Alliance for Credible Elections who have raised the stakes of the exercise beyond Barrister Okoye TMG horizon, we all owe this new, political vista.
Working with some 22 leading CSOs, among them Tunji Lardner’s WANGONET, Innocent Chukwuma’s CLEEN Nigeria and Ms. Ene Ede’s Equity Advocates/Gender on the Balance,PLAC seeks a “Strengthening (of) Democratic Governance and Citizen’s Participation”and what happened in Edo state, which is about to be replicated in Ondo and Lagos states amongst other progressive states, is a pointer to the Nigeria we desire, where the ethnic, partisan/parochial, religious and cash-peddling cards will no longer be trump-cards in the hands of political players and canvassers of votes.
The lesson from here is that we should work harder, traditional media, new media which have changed every facet of our living and maybe we should move faster towards “collapsing the Situation Room of PLAC and company into the Newsrooms” across the land, to better and more effectively set the Agenda – Media’s key assignment in all this.
Meanwhile, now we know that even intimidating power – show of an invasion by heavily- armed security agencies and the army in full war regalia, as we have seen will no longer deter a people determined to decide who gets their votes, who presides over their affairs.
Rather, the military personnel and security agents themselves being Nigerian citizens first and foremost and stakeholders, behaved excellently under a Commander – in – Chief whose permission was sought by the Chief Security Officer of Edo State himself, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who had earlier received the visiting President warmly even when he knew the President’s visit was to dissuade the electorate from voting their governor for another term!That is the new attitude of civilized politics without bitterness, devoid of the do-or-die mind-set that mustbe reinforced and entrenched.
As CPC learnt in the North after General Buhari lost again in 2011 despite the incredibly large crowds, PDP too has got a dose of its own medicine in Edo, where the crowd, rented or simply curious, streamed in their hundreds of thousands to the campaign grounds, giving the ruling party a false sense of invincibility, when the people and the monarchs had made up their minds that ‘you do not change a winning team’ –apologies to German football coach Clemens Westerhoff. Edo voters waited very many long hours to get accredited, vote and defend their votes.
Nigerians are beginning to ‘walk their talk,’now. Those who have eyes, let them see, those who have ears, let them hear – continue to be politically shamed with the people’s greatest weapon: the ballot paper.That stamen was written large when the PDP guber candidate lost in his own ward (earning only 144,235 of the total of over 600, 000votes, with the third position man Edebiri garnering a paltry over 600 votes cast), as did many other local, PDP bigwigs.
Oshiomhole himself agrees that the win was more forceful than he had expected, even though he knew he was bound to beat them, ab initio. And they aren’t seen nothing yet –excuse my Americanism, please! –as we head off to Ondo and later Lagos state gubernatorial elections.PDP thinks it can win in Lagos next time.Amazing dream!