PRIMARIES: OSHIOMHOLE NOT GUILTY
When I penned an article recently and titled it, 'Oshiomhole as an accused', I mirrored a situation of a drowning man or a political party in this case of holding on to anything possible in order to rock the boat.
I had thought and still expect that posterity will avail me another opportunity to craft another with a title, 'Discharged and acquitted' but, as fate would have it, the man at the centre and on whose table the buck stops; Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is at the centre of a controversy which to me is a storm in a tea cup.
Nigerians expected and still expects a lot from Edo State Governor, Oshiomhole both in areas of infrastructural development and in charting a new course in our democratic experience. There is also no doubt or controversy that Oshiomhole is delivering the goods to the people of Edo State and that to me, is the core issue and challenge of good governance.
Do we agree that Oshiomhole has avalanche of testimonies to tell Nigerians in areas of road construction and rehabilitation, renovation and rehabilitation of primary and secondary schools, employment of over 7,500 jobless youths?
However, the name of the proponent of credible elections code-named, 'One man, one vote', Oshiomhole is about to be dragged to the mud. We must watch it. The accusation; the primaries of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Edo chapter was allegedly fraught with irregularities and imposition. Again, the bulk stops on Oshiomhole's table.
Before the primaries, we all can testify the genuineness of Oshiomhole as to delivering the ACN as a party out of the woods and using Edo as a shinning light of an emerging democratic experience. He got a bitter experience when he invited all and sundry to the inauguration of his 'One man, one vote' in Ogbe Stadium in Benin City, and unexpectedly, former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, showed up. We are all witnesses to the aftermath but today, Nigerians, including President Goodluck Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors have all bought into it. For me, Oshiomhole meant well and still means well.
Just after that, PDP chieftains, having seen the popularity of Oshiomhole due to his programmes and policies, decamped em masse to the Action Congress (AC) now Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) month after month including Senator Ehigie Uzamere of Edo South senatorial sistrict, Patrick Obahiagbon and Samson Osagie, among other political heavyweights.
However, there was a foul cry. Fair is foul just as foul is fair. A senatorial aspirant cried aloud and raised the alarm over what he described as foul. He condemned the Governor for allowing PDP irokos to decamp to the ACN and I reasoned within myself (soliloquising) that in a democracy, what power has a governor to determining who should be allowed to join a particular party or not?
A lot was said about the mass movement of Uzamere and his supporters. He was not alone, when the popular Igodomigodo; Patrick Obahiagbon was 're-aligning' at the same Urhokpota ground at the Ring Road, his rival for the Oredo Federal constituency, Mr. Razaq Bello-Osagie cried blue murder. He accused innocent persons of undercover and sponsored protests across the ancient city of Benin to, irrationally rationalise reasons why Obahiagbon's constitutional freedom of association should be denied.
For me, we must pray for Governor Oshiomhole and encourage him. It is not only when we win elections that the process is fair.
This advice goes especially to the opposition parties in the country. When a court upholds an election in Nigeria in favour of a PDP legislator, it is threat to democracy for opposition parties but when a Court annuls a PDP legislator's election for an opposition party, it is victory for democracy. For me, we must be circumspect. Therefore, Oshiomhole is not guilty as charged.
•Enofe writes from Benin City.