Obaseki, Edo Election 5 things we learned from Governorship contest

We can actually conclude elections in Nigeria. Here are a few things we learned from Edo governorship election

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Godwin Obaseki of the APC polled 319,483 votes to defeat Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the PDP, who annexed 253,173 votes; to emerge Governor-elect of Edo State.

We were all fixated on the Edo governorship contest while the drama lasted.

Here are a few lessons we drew from events in the South South State.

1. Propaganda is still a thing in Nigerian politics

When Ize-Iyamu of the PDP went to town with news that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and his Kaduna counterpart Nasir El-Rufai had relocated to Edo State in order to rig the election in the APC's favour, he was only toeing a propaganda line well trod by politicians in Nigeria lately.

As it turned out, Ambode and El-Rufai were nowhere near Edo on the day. The former was even out of the country.

But Ize-Iyamu had sighted their doppelgangers (or body doubles) and sent a press statement that immediately became a trending subject on social media.

Of course he was lying and he knew it.

play Pastor Ize Iyamu (NigeriaNewspaper)

 

Lying has become code for propaganda in the Nigerian political terrain. Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed is a veteran in the terrain and boasts of several titles here under his belt. 

As spokesperson of the the opposition APC at the time, Mohammed's propaganda laced press statements often landed in my in-box and those of other online journalists, after church service every Sunday.

Most of what he commissioned to be dispersed across the world, were of course fabrications.

Mohammed also famously detailed how he was being persecuted by the PDP during the Osun governorship election. Mohammed appears to have taken his love for fibbing into the federal government. Never has a first name struck a chord so beautifully with a man's character flaw.

Launch of national re-orientation campaign, Change Begins With Me in Abuja., play Muhammadu Buhari and Lai Mohammed

 

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was a bag of propaganda as soon as he swapped the PDP for the APC.

Some will say the APC rode on the wind of propaganda to Aso Villa.

Ize-Iyamu is therefore in fine company.

2. All elections aren't inconclusive

We half feared that the Edo governorship election was going to be declared "inconclusive" just like several before it.

There's been this joke about the Buhari administration being "inconclusive" as well.

But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) bucked its own trend. The electoral umpire delivered this time by concluding an election in recent memory.

play INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu

 

Elections can actually be "conclusive" and we are just so glad to learn about this.

3. Voting and accreditation can be done simultaneously

There was a time it seemed like rocket science to get accredited and vote as early as possible; and then retire home to monitor the rest of the election from a TV screen.

In the past, voters will get accredited and then return home to play football and maybe sleep off. They were often told to return home after five hours. A chunk of those never did.

INEC Official play An INEC staff sandwiched in ballot boxes (NAN)

 

Well, INEC made getting accredited early and voting early seem like rocket science.

In Edo, accreditation and voting seemed inseparable. As they should be.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole casting his vote play Edo Governor Oshiomhole casts his ballot (Channels TV)

 

We could actually get several things done in this country if we are open to the possibility of getting them done. This life is not that hard.

Simplicita.

4. Stomach infrastructure is still a fad

Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, may have made the concept of "Stomach Infrastructure" mainstream, but let's be clear: handing voters Rice, Salt, Beans, Ijebu Gari, Naira notes, Pounded Yam and Amala flour just before they cast their ballots, has been with us since independence.

Governor Ayo Fayose has appointed a special assistant for 'Stomach Infrastructure' play Ekiti Governor Ayo Fayose (Sahara Reporters)

 

During the SDP/NRC era of the 1990s, the practice of offering Rice, Salt and Maggi cubes to voters in exchange for votes, was just as commonplace as it is today.

Waiting for their own stomach infrastructure play Voters await their share of stomach infrastructure (Twitter)

 

As long as we remain a poor country with millions living on less than $2 a day, Stomach Infrastructure won't go away.

For most folks, election season presents them with the only opportunity to 'obtain' from a corrupt political class.

5. We are a bunch of sore losers

The real worry would have been if PDP's Ize-Iyamu didn't reject the final outcome of the governorship contest and if his supporters didn't threaten to bring the place down as defeat stared them in the face.

APC Edo governorship candidate, Godwin Obaseki and PDP candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu play Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu (The Nation)

 

We've been trained not to accept election results that aren't in our favour; and head to all the courts in the land when we lose; making former Ekiti Governor Kayode Fayemi and former President Goodluck Jonathan look like candidates for Sainthood.

Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari play Jonathan and Buhari (Facebook)

 

Of course we have to deepen our democracy and strengthen electoral laws and all, but before we get there, we first have to believe and have some faith in the process.

Right now, we don't.

So when we lose, we reject the results and moan about being completely rigged out.

Do you think the Edo governorship election was free and fair?»

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