Home Essays Democracy Wins As Edo People Speak With One Vote by Oyinola Abosede.

Democracy Wins As Edo People Speak With One Vote by Oyinola Abosede.



Since the news broke that the incumbent governor of Edo State won the gubernatorial election that was held in the State on September 19, 2020. I must confess that it has been celebration galore on the streets of Benin City and other placesEven though many Nigerians were anxious to get a glimpse on how the election would look like. Some pundits who had predicted the outcome of the Gubernatorial election in Edo State got it all wrong. While many others predicted that the election would end up as war, or a do -or die affair. But quite amazing that this didn’t happen. 

Let us be clearNigerians desire genuine democracy. That was the major point to take away from Saturday’s Edo State gubernatorial poll. I strongly believe it’s not just about the outcome, but more about the fidelity of the process. After all is said and done, the much-hyped election particularly the media celebration of the fear of possible blood-letting, the exercise presented an anti-climax. You will agree with me that Heaven did not fall that day, Instead Edo State voters lined up peacefully and comported themselves, as they patiently waited to exercise their franchise. 1   

Just like most people will say, Edo has really shown that it is not Lagos. The people of Edo State were vigilant, resilient and stood boldly against oppression, injustice and any influence of Godfather. Then I remembered a lecturer once told me that “Sometimes we learn the lessons of life through pain, melancholy and the vicissitudes of life and sometimes we also learn the lessons of life through joy and comfort. Whatever the case may be, the most important thing is the great lesson we learn out of what life teaches us. If we fail to learn the lessons greatly, life will teach us a great lesson.” Today, these words have sharpened my views and perspectives about life.  

Lessons from Edo State Gubernatorial Election 

I am a firm believer that the Edo election may prove well to be a turning point in the management of elections in Nigeria. Against the foregoing backdrop, I stand and dare to say that it is not an exaggeration that several lessons have been learnt (indelible and worthy lessons) from the gubernatorial election.2 It was in every sense, a rude awakening for both the actors in the drama and the community of observers who witnessed and monitored the election. 

These lessons are made mentioned below: 

Democracy is Moving to its Permanent Site 

Democracy has been understood to be a form of government where the people choose their leaders and are allowed to voice their opinions on issues. I’m sure you will agree with me that it’s quite a beautiful concept. I have no dispute that the recently conducted Edo State Election has given us indicia into the times that democracy is getting better in the Nigerian polity. The number of people who really participated in the Edo State election is no doubt big indicia that the people are now getting conscious of their rights and civic duties under a democratic system as Nigeria practices.  

No doubt, with the way things have turned out in this Edo Election, I am very sure that other states will have the same motive and desire to churn out massive people to participate in their respective electoral processesHowever, for this stride to keep being as it is and getting better, the security of voters must be guaranteed by the government. Else, nobody will be willing to go vote when he is not sure of returning home. 

No Political Landlords or Godfathers 

The truth is that government belongs to the people and not some persons. I strongly believe any ideology about the political philosophy of any Godfather is a disgraceful concept and very unprogressive. This is because it promotes the will of the few rather than the will of the peopleAlso, it places the people second, instead of first. I believe it must be condemned out-rightly because it cannot make democracy flourish. Other states where the belief of Godfather is thriving, must learn from the great people of Edo who have set the pace and led the nation in this stride. In any democratic society, I believe there should be no political landlords, only the political will of the electorates. In addition to this, the governor or leader should be accountable to the people only, not to a Godfather that is an antithesis of this.  

We Vote Individuals Not Political Parties 

No doubt, political party may have a strong influence in leadership and governance in an electionespecially in our country. But the reality is that a leader with his strong will and tenacity determines the progress of the people. However, from the Edo State gubernatorial election held, it was glaring that it is the individual and not the political party that matters.3 Consequently, political parties must henceforth learn to present credible candidates in order to win the people’s votes.  

It is Possible to Conduct Free and Fair Election 

In spite of what I call the “stomach infrastructure” phenomenon, what the Edo State election taught us is that we can conduct free and fair elections in Nigeria if only we play by the rules. It is no longer news that violence related events such as ballot box snatching and the use of fire arms are usually sponsored by politicians who want to win at all cost. There are some politicians who do not have a first job to which they can return, this explains the desperation to win elections. Even if it means eliminating their opponents and positioning themselves strongly to have access to power and influence. 

I admonish every eligible voter to take responsibility and refuse to be recruited by politicians to cause mayhem during elections. I believe vigilance should be the watchword to tackle diversion of voting materials, ballot box snatching or any attempt to bribe electoral officials. Vote buying and selling is anti-democracy as it gives false results of the electoral processesYou and I can only wish for a better Nigeria where vote buying and selling is completely eradicated.  

The will of the Edo State people prevailed at the gubernatorial election last Saturday. However, this is an important characteristic for future elections in Nigeria as we look forward to conducting more in our nation. 

The Big Picture 

I celebrate the resilience and courage exhibited by the people of Edo state in resisting the antics of the enemies of democracy, who as beguilers and patrons of lions and tigers attempted to take over the political space of Edo state. This victory as won by the people is historic and serves as a strong, viable and unambiguous lesson to leaders. Also, I salute the Edo people for helping to reset the political culture of our nation by casting their votes, protecting their votes, ensuring that their votes counted and following their votes “bumper-to-bumper” even to the final point of declaration. 

What is Next? 

I believe the time has come for His Excellency to display love, affection and to unite all Edo people at home and abroad. Also, this is an auspicious moment for him to rise above the fray, eschew politics of bitterness and act as a statesman. Now is the time to consolidate his achievements because the reward for hard work is more work. He should also see his victory as a testament of his goodwill. 

The Big Take-Away 

In conclusion, what is required of us now as we move into a greater future that awaits us as a nation is a new era of responsibility and a recognition on the part of every citizen that we have duties to ourselves and our nation. Duties that we do not accept grudgingly but rather seize happily that there is nothing more satisfying to our spirit than giving our all to a difficult task in attaining great lofty heights. Moreover, great lofty heights can only be attained by a One Nigeria, One Nation, One Voice. “…great loftheights attain, to build a nation where peace and justice reigns…” 

You and I need to join hands to build this country together. Yes, we can. Together we can.  

May Edo State be great!
May Nigeria be great! 

Oyinlola Abosede, a graduate of Chemical Engineering from Obafemi
Awolowo University is an intellectual fighter for emancipation.
and an advocate on social issues. He wrote in via oyinlolaabosede9@gmail.com

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