Eddy Odivwri, Email: email@example.com
It is no longer news that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole trounced his opponents at the Edo gubernatorial poll last weekend. The contest, in the main, was between him and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Or put more appropriately, it was a contest between Oshiomhole and Pa Tony Anenih, famous for his capacity to fix whatever.
The PDP candidate, Maj Gen Charles Airhiarvbere (rtd) was just standing in gap for Anenih, who indeed was the proxy candidate. Until the Edo elections matter came alive, Airhiarvbere was just an unknown quantity in the crowd. Not many knew him as a political figure in Edo State. It would have been such a political miracle for him to achieve anything significant. He knows that he was literally barging into the Edo Political space. He probably banked on the fact that he was contesting under the platform of the PDP, which can alot him victory no matter what the Edo people want, as it used to be in the past.
The attendant verbiage has been that Tony Anenih is a chief manipulator of electoral outcomes. All he needs is two hours between when the figures have been collated and when the final result would be announced. That is where his electoral creativity is best displayed. That is when every crooked road is straightened and vice versa. For years, that had been the order. The practice. And he earned the sobriquet of “Mr Fix It”, which is only a coefficient of electoral fraud. And nobody dared challenge it. But a certain Adams Oshiomhole who had fought several battles with the elite corps as a labour leader came on stage. The old order was yet in vogue and valid too.
He underestimated the electoral craft of the godfather. And the outcome of the election threw him (Adams) overboard. It took him almost two years in the court to prove that he was manipulated out of victory. It took the grace of the courts to regain his mandate. And that became the fillip that powered the Oshiomhole administration, if nothing else, to make a remarkable difference in a governance style that is defined by service delivery. He got busy with the business of governance.
I followed the build up to the election. Oshiomhole raised all the alarm he could raise, if nothing else, to blackmail the manipulating crew. He made all the noise there was to make. But it is significant that despite the pre-election indices which clearly favoured him, the Comrade Governor left nothing to chance. He campaigned as if his life depended on it. He worked his talk. He prepared for both the war and the battle. His arguments were sound and convincing. He said the right things at the right time and in the right places. As an orator (never mind his heavy phonetic defect), Osho Baba (as he was hailed by his supporters) was always to the point in his examples, deliveries, arguments and even innuendoes. He thrilled his audience.
But his greatest electoral asset was the connect he had with his people. The Edo electorate knew and believed him. His works were not in the abstract. They were tangible. The people could see most vividly what their governor was doing in almost all aspects of their lives. There was a sync between the governor and the governed. And that is why their level of participation in the election was beyond civic responsibility. It was in the neighbourhood of activism. It was not for nothing.
That Edo was undergoing reconstruction and rebranding was not in doubt. There was hardly a trace of ethnic consideration in the spread of Oshiomhole’s projects and attention. And that explains, for the first time, why a gubernatorial candidate in the state, won landslide in all the 18 local government areas of the state.
In more ways than one, the Edo election of last Saturday has open new pages in election matters. It must be clear henceforth that a second term in office is not a matter of right. It has to be verily earned. Anenih must have realised that the era of “no vacancy in Government House” has been summarily displaced. Those in office but cannot perform must be shown the exit gate henceforth--- and that is right from the federal government to the local government.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), though evidently conducted a free and fair polls, yet witnessed needless hitches in the chemistry of its logistics. For such a huge commission, with all (personnel and material) attention devoted to just one state, the flow of arrangements ought to have been smoother.
All said, Oshiomhole won not only because he played good politics, but more importantly because he proved his electability far beyond doubt. And that is why many said if the result of the election had gone otherwise, there would have been civil uproar.
Yes, the victory, as rightly admitted by Oshiomhole, comes with its own task. The governor has the task of satisfactorily servicing the trust bestowed on him. The trend and body language of the governor reinforces confidence that the right thing will be done. And this should, more importantly, serve as a standard template for other governors, many of whom merely nibble at governance while dutifully raping the treasury of their states. Congratulations to the Comrade governor!
Let’s Welcome Senator Margery Okadigbo
It was a long-drawn battle. Only the energetic could have survived it. But as William Shakespeare would say, “all is well that ends well”. Thus far, it is gratifying that for (now Senator) Margery Okadigbo, the battle to get into the Senate of the Federal Republic, has ended well. So many studs had stood on her way. But with determination and zeal she survived them all. And last Tuesday, she rightfully took her seat in the Senate, after a certain usurper, Alphonsus Igbeke, was summarily sent out from the red chambers by the Supreme Court. Igbeke had been a lawmaker for years, but has always remained in the legislature not by winning elections, but by winning electoral cases in a curious manner. That was how he got into the House of Reps in 2003. And in 2007, after failing to win the PDP senatorial primaries, he decamped to ANPP, and was defeated at the polls by the PDP. But he soon claimed that his name was illegally removed from the PDP list.
The court awarded him victory on account of that claim. Then just last year, he contested under the PDP, lost, but went to court claiming that he was the winner. Again, the court ruled in his favour, even up to the Appeal Court. It is a tribute to the fighting spirit of Mrs Okadigbo that the matter went up to the Supreme Court, which two weeks ago, finally ruled in Okadigbo’s favour.
Today, she is Senator Margery Okadigbo, the wife of the one and only colourful and charismatic Senate President, late DR Chuba Okadigbo. Her resumption in the senate last Tuesday is triumph of justice. The long-drawn battle of her victory should serve as a challenge for her to effectively represent the people of Anambra north in the senate, who had been without representation for over one year. I salute her courage, her resilience, her focus and the belief in her conviction. Distinguished Senator, Congratulations!!!
Patience Jonathan: Expedience Versus Legality
Iam surprised that this government is full of deafs. They just do what they want, not caring whose ox is gored. And that is why the connect between them and us is widening by the day.
What are you talking about? Please be specific. Which people are you calling deafs?
Who else but the Governor of Bayelsa State, who despite the avalanche of criticisms that trailed his appointment of the First lady as Permanent Secretary, still went ahead to swear her in yesterday. Is that the example of a listening government?
Look, the government is meant to provide direction to the governed , and not the other way round. Which government in the world changes its policy as soon as a section of the public complains?
You ask an embarrassing question that presents you like a dictator. If it is true that the government derives its powers from the people, then it beholds on any such government to listen to the voice of the people. After all, the voice of the people is voice of God.
Not in all cases. And you have to know the political undertone powering such voices. And in this case you mentioned, it is sheer ignorance, mischief and inexplicable hatred for the First family. Otherwise all critics should have zipped their lips when Governor Dickson Seriake explained the rationale and justification for the appointment.
You mean you were taken-in by what Dickson said? Then of all men you are most gullible. You mean you do not know Dickson will seek an official explanation to justify his acts? Who does not know that he is doing it as a way of showing appreciation to the President who practically installed him as the governor of Bayelsa State, the same way traditional rulers are installed? You don’t understand this?
Please don’t be uncharitable. Governor Dickson was duly elected by the people of Bayelsa State last February. And he has explained that Dame Patience very well qualifies for the post given the length of time she has been in the civil service and that her contemporaries were already in that Perm sec category in the service.
I am surprised you are parroting such gibberish talk. Pray, is promotion to the position of Perm Sec not supposed to be a reward for hardwork, value added to service and overall productivity? If an officer has been on leave of absence for over 13 years, how was such a staff assessed by APER to qualify for such top-placed career height? Can’t you see it is sheer official gratis?
Look, don’t be more Catholic than the Pope. Did you not hear Professor Wole Soyinka declaring that the woman was not constitutionally disqualified for the office?
So what does that mean? Please don’t mind the Prof. He was carried away by the glitz in Uyo. By the way, has the First lady been receiving salary for the 13 years she has been in various levels of public governance, as well as controlling billions of naira albeit unconstitutionally?
Please go and ask Gov Dickson. Am in Bayelsa civil service?
Look, what many people are saying is that even if all the legal arguments favour a First Lady stooping low to become a Perm Sec in a state civil service, the question is: is it expedient? Does a First Lady really need to be Perm Sec to enjoy life after public office? In any case, will she ever return to the service after stepping down as First lady? Or is the attraction merely the retirement benefits accruing from the appointment? And now that she is Perm Sec, which ministry will she oversee and how will she perform the task, given her tough and busy schedules as First Lady? Can’t you see it is more like a honorary gratis?
You miss the point. First of all admit that she is due for the position. That she breaches no constitutional provision by the appointment. It will be grossly unfair to deny her the elevation because she is serving the nation in another capacity. Why should being the President’s wife truncate her career growth? Is that fair? And then as to how she will function, I trust that it can be worked out.
Well, this is Nigeria. A country of anything goes….
I beg your pardon