Edo State: The Battle against the Godfathers
Recently, Edo state Governor, Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress , AC, made another historic outing when he organised a rally in Benin , the Edo state capital to champion his famous slogan of 'one-man, one-vote'. But not a few gave him knocks for daring to 'import' the evil genius, former president Ibrahim Babangida to be part of the guest that also included no fewer than five Governors.
The invitation of the former president by Oshiomhole, we gathered authoritatively, was to puncture a move by the erstwhile godfather, Chief Tony Anenih to take the shine of inviting IBB to Benin City for a Peoples Democratic Party , PDP, organised rally, ahead of his declaration as a presidential aspirant under the ruling PDP.
It is no longer news that since his assumption of office as the executive governor of Edo state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has never hidden his disdain for the roles of the politics of the godfathers as symbolized by Chief Tony Anenih whom many would refer to as 'The Leader'.
It is also no longer news how the Comrade Governor has demystified Chief Anenih, so much so that the PDP candidates in the three elections held so far in the state lost woefully. With the reverberating echo of the victory by the ruling Action Congress (AC) in Etsako Central constituency and Ovia South West into the Edo State House of Assembly re-run election held on Saturday January 23, 2010 and July 17, 2010 respectively, the political firmament in the state no doubt started flowing with ominous interpretations.
Oshiomhole's led AC has shown that indeed, the god-fathers in Edo state have gone with the winds forever. The historic contest in Etsako Central constituency, though, was held in a single local government out of the 18 councils of the state. Four political parties took part in the contest. They are the ruling Action Congress (AC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) respectively. The outcome of the exercise no doubt was challenging, instructive and revealing in all ramifications.
According to the results of the election rolled out by the electoral officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Glenn Ugomadu, amid tight security, heightened expectation and anxiety, the AC candidate, Mr. Johnson Oghuma, defeated his opponents to be declared winner in the race. With a pin drop silence except for the repeated and uncontrollable beeps of GSM calls from anxious callers who wanted to know the outcome of the election, the declaration by Mr. Ugomadu showed that AC won in eight wards of the 10 wards in the agrarian council while the opposition PDP came behind in two wards.
The results showed that AC led in wards one, two, three, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten with 624, 915, 498, 1024, 743, 2076, 566 and 497 votes. The PDP had 443, 466, 326, 291, 75, 402, 242 and 268 votes. From the available record, the ruling party's candidate Johnson Oghuma polled a total of 7, 884 votes to outshine his PDP opponent Mr. Chris Umogbai who scored a total of 3, 712 votes. The two wards won by the PDP were the wards four and five with 762 and 336 votes respectively. The candidates of the ANPP and the DPP also polled one and six votes respectively out of the 13, 337 total numbers of votes cast by voters. The commission disclosed that total number of registered voters stood at about 29, 971 in the area. Also out of the entire votes, about 2, 146 votes were voided. The INEC staff, declared therefore that 'in my capacity as the constituency returning officer in Etsako Central local government, I, Glenn Ugomadu hereby certify that I was the returning officer of the re-run election held in Etsako Central constituency'…and that Johnson Oghuma is hereby declared the winner of the election signed this day'. The election earlier conducted in Akoko-Edo local government council of the state was not different.
Oshiomhole had said of Anenih: 'It is on record that Chief Anenih's
party, the PDP, was in power in Edo state for 10 years and the good people of Edo state knew the rot they left behind. They could not even plant the flowers that Anenih is bellyaching over in the whole of these ten years.' He added 'Chief Anenih was the Minister of Works and despite the billions of naira allocated to that Ministry under his watch, he could not fix the Benin - Ore expressway nor extend the dualisation of the Abuja-Okene road to the state.'
Aside, the destruction of human and material resources that usually follow such electoral exercise as it was witnessed in the past elections, according to governor Oshiomhole has gone with the winds for good.
It would be recalled that in the second republic politics in the state, members of the two major political parties-National party of Nigeria , NPN and Unity Party of Nigeria , UPN, inflicted unimaginable damage and destruction on properties of members; evil, which many today believed were championed by the godfathers as votes never counted. 'I am totally in support of Comrade Governor Oshiomhole's campaign for one man, one vote. It will go a long way to reduce to the bearest minimal, the acrimony that usually characterized every elections in the state. I will never forget how our close family friend in person of Chief John West Olafemi from Imoga, Akoko-Edo LGA, had his house burnt down after the controversial 1983 gubernatorial election. Because of that unfortunate incident, I have never set my eyes on the son who fled into exile in 1992 as a result of the incident. Chief John West Olafemi eventually died of heart attack. So if 'one-man, one-vote' will put an end to all that nonsense, I am in support of Oshiomhole',
James Dania, an undergraduate at the Ambrose Alli University , Ekpoma, told us last week.