Winner-Takes-all Attitude Fuels Post-election Challenges, Says Okowa

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• Development identified as most critical in post-election management

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that those who were victorious at elections should strive to work towards forming an inclusive government as the attitude of the winner takes all often experienced in the country had the tendency to aggravate post-election challenges.

Okowa stated this in Asaba in an address at the First Maris Annual Lecture with topic, ‘Managing Post-election Challenges: Nigeria as A Case Study’, organised by the Marist Trust Council, and held at the Orchid Hotel, Asaba, the state capital.

Chief Williams Makunde, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), was the guest lecturer while the panel of discussants included Engineer Faith Nwadishi, Founder/Executive Director of KIF who represents Africa CSOs actors on the International Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); Chief Fred Majemite, a legal practitioner and former Delta State lands, survey and urban development commissioner; Senator Stella Unuezi Omu, former Chief Whip of the Senate; Dr. David Oba, a political scientist and UNFA trainer; and moderated by Dr. Kemi Emina, a seasoned academic and journalist.

Governor Okowa, who was the special guest of honour at the event, described the subject of the lecture as apt and timely, noting that while the process culminating in election was important, the management of the aftermath of elections was equally important.

Represented by the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Sir Fidelis Tilijie, the governor said that the winner-takes-it-all mentality should be discouraged because it exacerbates undesirable post-election developments due to the feeling of frustration it could engender among those who failed to secure victory at the polls.

Okowa, who said he was a strong believer in free and fair election, urged the people and all the stakeholders in the democratic system in Nigeria to allow peace to reign so as to ensure stability in the system while those not satisfied with the outcomes of the different elections should follow due process by seeking appropriate legal redress.

The guest lecturer, Dr. Makinde, had practically set the tone for the subsequent robust discussion by the panelists when he asserted that post-election issues were centred around development, which he identified as the purpose of democratic election.

In his remarks, Rev. Fr. John Konyeke, who was ‘Father of the Day’, counseled political office aspirants to eschew the do-or-die approach in seeking any position they might desire, saying that amounted to unhealthy ambition.

While urging politicians and those seeking different political offices to copy the example of David in the Holy Bible who refused to fast-track his ascension to the throne as king over Israel by not getting carried away by the praises of Israeli women or eliminating the then incumbent, King Saul even though he (David) was already anointed for the kingship.

Fr Konyeke said, ‘’Ambition is beautiful, but a do-or-die ambition is evil. It is an ill wind that blows no good’’, stressing that people should be mindful of what they do or say even in their victory celebration.

 ‘’It is equally instructive to note that winners should rein in on their zealous supporters to mind the language of their victory chants so as not to hurt the emotions of the runners-up who are equally stakeholders in the democratic entity called Nigeria. Some sarcastic victory chants have potency of infuriating runners-up in an election (especially the VIP runners-up) to violence in the same manner King Saul of Israel was incensed by the chants of the women (1 Samuel 18:7-9)’’, Fr Konyeke noted.

The well-attended lecture, which was instituted to honour the memory of the Miss Stella-Maris Fumnanya Egugbo, late daughter of Sir Fidelis Egugbo and his wife Lady Rita Egugbo, attracted thousands of people from all works of life including top government functionaries, traditional and religious leaders, CSOs, security agencies, women and youth groups and the media.