Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Two-time Vice-President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Issa Aremu has advised the former National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, over the use of foul language while campaigning for the Edo State APC candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for the forthcoming governorship election in the State.
Aremu, who was the governorship candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the last election in Kwara State, also appealed to Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki to maintain the responsibility of being fair to AL as the ‘contestant-incumbent’.
Addressing journalists at the weekend to convey Sallah greetings to Nigerian Muslims, Aremu came down heavily on Oshiomhole, calling on the former party chairman to refrain from branding opponents with such epithets as ‘lion’ or ‘snake’ or any other derogatory term.
Aremu said Oshiomhole should remember that he is not one of the contestants but a stakeholder.
‘Adams Oshiomhole was my mentor in the NLC, and he was the 4th President of NLC. I didn’t know him for names calling. I knew him for “one man, one vote” mantra. I expect him to maintain that decorum no matter the political heat. The responsibility is on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, two-term Governor, former Chairman of the ruling APC and a member of National Institute whose motto is towards a better society. The soundbites from Edo are not encouraging. In fact, the languages of the campaign are too dangerously personalised and unhelpful, too. Political opponents are what they are: not “snakes” to be hounded. Candidates are not commodities but candidates, whether they win or lose, are still friends and brothers. Not all is fair in politics,’ Aremu stated.
‘Certainly hate speech, hate innuendoes and remarks that promote violence and belated apologies are unacceptable. Comrade Adams is permanently hunted by unsavoury remarks about Pastor Ize Iyamu which as political irony had it turned to be the flag bearer of the APC today.
‘Democracy is about being measured, being serious so that we can be serious again. No politician is absolutely bad or absolutely good but good governance is Indivisible and desirable. And that is what we must work for. As somebody who has been involved in Edo project since 2006/2008, I bear witness that Oshiomhole who campaigned on the mantra of “one man, one vote” should not in unnecessary desperation slide into “one man should go”, “no peace” mantra.
‘Conversely, Godwin Obaseki has the singular responsibility to be fair to all as the contestant-incumbent! He should avoid the pitfalls of “conflicts of interest and interest in conflicts”. It’s bad enough that this election takes place under a pandemic that has no cure. But this is why all actors in Edo and Ondo elections must be measured and sober in the knowledge that only those alive will vote and be voted for.
‘All the political actors in the two states must maintain the best of democratic practices so as to compliment the efforts of INEC in conducting free and fair. The campaign should be issue-based and depersonalized. The elections are between brothers and sisters of the same states not with unknown aliens.
‘Whoever wins, whatever party wins will not have indivisible water supply or road networks. All of us are winners once there is good governance. In the case of Edo State, the burden for peaceful and free elections lies on the statesmanship of both the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
‘Again they should learn from President Buhari who with dignity and decorum is carrying notwithstanding provocations from within his party and outside. In particular, the way President Buhari manages his relationship with former President Jonathan transforming from adversary to partner in nation-building is a lesson for all members of the political class.
‘Sacrifices and forbearance should be part of the new normal if Nigeria should overcome the current challenges of good governance, insecurity and crisis of livelihoods. Just like how both the father (Ibrahim) and son, Ismael submitted themselves to the will of Allah, both the governed and the government officials must renew our faith in the task of nation-building against the background of a Virus without a cure.
‘Like any developing nation, Nigeria grapples with a crisis of governance manifesting in corruption, inequality, insecurity and poverty. However, we should not lose sight of some progress being made in areas of massive infrastructure development such as AKK 615 long $ 2.8 billion dollars gas project and Railway revival among others. Nigeria and Nigerians must deepen democracy to realize its abundant inexhaustible potentials. Let’s turn the crisis into opportunities for better Society.
‘Therefore Nigerians should not give in to despair. Democracy might not be perfect but other forms of government are certainly worse. Experience shows that it the long period of military rule that underdeveloped Nigeria for decades.
‘Just like Prophet Ibrahim and Ismael sustained faith in Allah’s commandment which later turned to blessings for mankind, we must renew commitment to democracy which is just 21 years this year. We must, therefore, condemn any call for extra-constitutional order. Let’s do quality control of the democratic process by electing credible people and putting sustainable institutions in place.’