Let the will of the people prevail, writes Asishana Bello

He is the chief security officer of the state yet set the stage for violence in the coming election. He roared early in August that, “… Nobody has (a) monopoly of violence. If they want violence, we will show them violence. So, if I see anybody, if you see anybody, smashing any car because my sticker or poster is on the car, let us know. We will show that person that we are in government…

“And I am sending a clear warning – very, very clear – if I find anybody misbehaving, no matter who you have been, I will arrest you and I will deal with you,” the governor said, in obvious reference to the gale of attacks lately in the state”.

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki does not give a damn if the state burns over his desperation to cling to power at all costs. He echoed the constitutional immunity he and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu enjoy as a license to act with impunity.

An instrument of law to protect the executive from frivolous distraction has become a tool of intimidation in the hands of a tyrant. No wonder a renowned transnational leadership expert, Myles Munroe of blessed memory says “When a purpose of a thing is unknown, abuse is inevitable”. But in the case of Obaseki, he knew but wanted to misuse his power since he wouldn’t pay for his action immediately.

True to his threats, Obaseki’s men went to work and turned the state on its head. They unleashed fury on the House of Assembly Complex and created anarchy. Obaseki was fulfilling his threat that he will show whoever cares that he controls the reins of power in Edo. He ordered for the roof of the Assembly complex to be removed in a desperate move to prevent the House from sitting.

He feared that his sin might find him out. He had earlier shut out 17 pro-APC lawmakers from the House. When the progressive lawmakers resolved to take back their constitutional rights, the governor got scared and he orchestrated chaos. He pulled down the roof and claimed he wanted to ‘remodel’ a non-defective roof.

The evil men were sent to prevent the 17 pro- APC lawmakers from conducting the legitimate legislative business of the day. The provocative invasion was part of the grand plan to turn the state into turmoil if APC had responded with violence but pro-APC members-elect thwarted the sinister plot and relocated to an undisclosed location in Benin City where they elected Mr Victor Edoror as Speaker, after impeaching, Mr. Frank Okiye who was unjustly forced on the majority.

The long arm of the law caught up with suspects. They were reportedly arrested with five double-barrel long guns, two single barrel long guns, and 10 live cartridges within the premises of the Assembly complex.

The Vice-Chairman, Media, and Publicity Committee of the All Progressives Congress National Campaign Council, Mr Patrick Obahiagbon, speaking on the despicable and reprehensive invasion said, “On this occasion, the governor supervised both the vandalism of the state House of Assembly by ordering the removal of its rooftops, carting away public properties from the House of Assembly and tipping trucks of granite sand at the front of the gate of the House of Assembly’s premises.

“Why would the governor lead his party members and thugs to stop the majority members of the Edo State House of Assembly from having and enjoying a peaceful sitting following their constitutional obligations?

“We call on the police to conduct a transparent investigation on who were their sponsors and prosecute all those arrested and make sure the full weight of the law is brought to bear on those arrested and their sponsors”.

The police have already charged the suspects before court. The presiding judge, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, ordered that the suspects be remanded in police custody till Sept. 3 when their plea would be taken.

It is very obvious that Obaseki is ready to go for broke in a desperate bid to hold on to power. The governor cares less if anarchy ensues in Edo and the state goes up in flames. That is not his base, he was brought to power by benevolence of his predecessor. He has no strong affinity with the people.

Intimidation of opponents and blackmail won’t save Obaseki next month. He is busy blackmailing the opposition leaders yet stoking fire of violence underneath.

The needless over-heating of the polity by Obaseki and his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) attracted the attention of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Amnesty International. INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye said, “The Commission is documenting incendiary statements aimed at inflaming passion. The commission is also documenting violent acts and threats to the smooth conduct of elections.

“We will continue to emphasise and reiterate that the commission is a regulatory agency and not a political party and has no partisan political leaning. Political parties must realise and come to terms with the slippery constitutional timelines embedded in section 178(2) of the constitution.

“The commission will not condone the present slide towards violence and the present escalation of abusive, intemperate, slanderous and base language designed to provoke violent reactions”.

Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, who is the chairman of the PDP’s campaign council in the Edo State gubernatorial poll is also not helping matters. Obaseki’s new godfather whose antecedent is well known had vowed to return Obaseki as governor.

Their desperation is always playing out in the suit to disqualify Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the candidate of the APC. The party saw the hand of Wike and raised the alarm calling for the withdrawal of the trial judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo on the basis of his closeness to Rivers State governor. Governor Obaseki should be advised that power is transient and the will of the people of Edo shall eventually prevail.