Who succeeds Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as governor of Edo State? That is one question residents of the state that prides itself, as the ‘Heartbeat of the Nation’ will attempt to answer today. And that is one question that wouldn’t be easy to answer.
Even though there is a handful of contenders, fantasising about that office as the polls open today, we’d be deceiving ourselves if we pretend today’s election is not a straight fight between APC’s Godwin Obaseki and PDP’s Ize-Iyamu. And that’s not in any way discountenancing the chances of my friend, the ‘Earl’.
I have intentionally steered clear of Edo politics and have deliberately resisted the urge to call my brother and friend, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, even when I’m convinced he is a formidable candidate.
Even Oshiomhole seems to be aware of the monstrosity of the PDP candidate’s following and has, therefore, left no stone unturned during the campaign.
Thankfully, APC’s Obaseki is running on the achievements of the Oshiomhole administration – which is more than impressive. And Oshiomhole and Obaseki are understandably rubbing it in.
Of course, this is why many see today’s election as the ultimate verdict of Edo people on the eight years of Oshiomhole. Do they think that APC has done enough to deserve to continue? Would they throw it out for the PDP? Isn’t there enough reason to believe that Obaseki can be trusted to continue Oshiomhole’s good work? What about that little issue of godfatherism?
Surely, this is one election that is too close to call. For, despite the optimism of politicians, none of the two front-runners, in his silent moment thinks he has it all wrapped up. Not even Oshiomhole (whose works should ordinarily speak for) has been able to sleep easy. Despite that his name is not on the ballot, nobody is in doubt that the outgoing governor is also standing election. That is why he has danced from North to South and Central.
Of course, there’s cause for trepidation. Mutual suspicion has never been more pronounced.
So, as Edo State goes to the polls today, our prayer is that this Heartbeat of the Nation does not give us all a heart attack. We pray that this heart of ours does not stop beating, even as we hang on a prayer and baited breath.
We pray that INEC is able to conclude this one election for a change. We pray that the election umpire, for once, breaks away from this seeming naked oath of inconclusive elections it has sworn to.
We pray that battalions of soldiers, police and security operatives deployed to the state by the Federal Government do only those things they’ll not be ashamed of bringing before the Constitution. We pray that they do not take sides and work for any candidate. We pray that this violence, the drumbeat of which has been intentionally played up by some vested interests, to create the false impression of a possible security breakdown, never materialises.
We must have to shame all those false alarmists whose desperation to subvert due process has landed us in a situation whereby Edo State now has more security presence for its governorship election than any of Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states got for similar elections.
Of course, the language of the campaign dwelled more in the gutter, than the elevated pedestal of civility. However, as Edo goes to polls today, we must remember those eternal words of former president Goodluck Jonathan that nobody’s ambition is worth any Nigerian’s blood.
But, most of all, I can only wish and pray that the best candidate wins.
I won’t be placing any bets!
Please, let’s sell Nigeria
With the likes of Professors Tam David-West (former petroleum minister) and Chukwuma Soludo (former Central Bank governor) opposing the proposed sale of the NLNG and other national assets, there’s practically nothing a layman like me could add.
And whoever thinks we’re saying anything new would do himself a world of good to read the excerpts of the FlipSide column on the back page of the Daily Sun of Monday, titled: “Mafia and sale of national assets”. The same reasons for which we opposed this impending misadventure in 2013 are still staring us in the face. Yet, the gluttons, with little or no institutional memory, have returned to the same path, three and a half years after.
However, as the vampires ravenously aim their fangs at NLNG and the likes, every Nigerian must be very afraid. For we could wake up one day and discover that we’ve been sold – or better still, that the country has been sold and we, the citizens, have been handed out to the buyers as promotional tokens. As Jara! Eeni! Nmezi! In a buy-one, get-two-free deal!
Of course, I agree with them. Let’s sell. In fact, we should not stop at NLGN and the refineries. We should also consider selling off some of these our broke and unviable states. I doubt if the workers and pensioners in Osun, Imo, Benue, Kogi and such other states would not jump at the prospect of Dangote, or some foreign investors coming to buy their state. Yes, there is every reason to sell off all our assets.
But, how come all these people positioning to buy (and encouraging us to sell) the crown jewel of our nation are not interested in our other national assets? Assets like the East-West Road, the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, the Calabar-Itu Road, and all those other federal roads (including the Ihiala-Orlu-Anara detour of the Onitsha-Owerri express road that cuts right through my village)? Or are those not part of our national assets? Can’t they ask to be allowed to build and toll the roads?
Why can’t they bid to buy the Port Harcourt international Motorpark (sorry, Airport), which now looks like something straight out of Aleppo?
Why are they only interested in buying the only one asset that seems to be working? Why can’t they bid for the one we have almost run aground, but which any genuine investor can take over and turn around, and be smiling to the bank in a year or two?
Why are they targeting the same refineries they once told us are obsolete, and that we need to build more modern ones? Why can’t they build their own modern refineries? Whatever happened to all the refinery licences (nearly 20 of them) that we have issued? Could somebody please help me out of this confusion!
Back to Saraki and Ekweremadu
I don’t want to believe that EFCC people are seeking to reopen investigation into the case of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, a case into which trial has already begun. If they are, it can only mean one thing: A confirmation of the allegation that EFCC never had a serious case against the duo ab initio; that the lawmakers were dragged to court purely for partisan reasons. And that despite now having lied under oath – as per their affidavit that they’d concluded investigation, they will now have to bend the rules once again. For they have yet to withdraw the subsisting suit against the lawmakers to be able to reopen investigation. It’s becoming even more dizzying.
And this bid to reopen; who is behind it? Is there any curious bill on which the ‘cooperation’ of the Senate is needed? Is this a new arm-twisting tactic? Is someone deliberately trying to heat up the polity in order to divert our attention from the recession on which we’re all focused right now? Or is someone trying to create a justification to add the National Assembly complex on the list of national assets to sell? I just don’t understand!