Edith Ihueghian Isokpan is of the Accord Party. She wants to represent Uhunmwode Constituency in the Edo State House of Assembly. She speaks on her chances.
Looking at the recent presidential and National Assembly elections, what is your assessment of the voting pattern of Nigerians?
I have observed that Nigerian voters do not vote along party lines. Again, there isn’t an established pattern among Nigerians that can be recognised as being the same at national, state and local government levels. From experience, the electorate are more interested in candidates not minding the political parties, especially if such candidates are able to drive their agenda and gain their confidence, they will get support. In grassroots politics, there is no pattern of voting, to a reasonable extent, in electing candidates.
The election results are showing that APC and PDP are the main contenders. Does Accord Party stand any chance in the governorship and legislative elections?
This does not always happen in every election year. It differs at every level of the tiers of government in Nigeria. What is important is that the people must have the confidence of those offering themselves to serve. For me as an Accord Party candidate contesting for the state House of Assembly, I am the choice of the Uhumwode people. They want me to represent them.
Are you not bothered that the main contending parties may bully you out of the race?
I am not bothered at all. This is because the electorate will ultimately decide what happens. The majority of the voters now vote individuals they feel have integrity, not minding the political party. This is becoming very effective at the grassroots politics.
I have the mandate from God to go get the treasure of my people from the python’s mouth and use it to better my community. I have made it known to them as I have received it from God and He has made them believe me. I have received overwhelming support from both the leaders and the people in the community in Uhumwode. They have great confidence in me and I will not betray their trust. I am a choice gift from God to them at this time. Again, it is important for women to be at the very centre of the nation’s economy and decision making. My mission is to light a candle for my people.
Are you confident that your reputation can win you the election?
The people of Uhumwode are ready to vote on March 9, 2019 for Accord Party. I have met them one-on-one as I campaign. This has strengthened my resolve to work with them in building the community and improving living conditions in Uhunmwode. More so, my faith in God has made my challenges in life rosy. Today, I am a much focused, mature and God fearing woman who loves helping people I meet.
What is the future of Accord Party considering its abysmal performance at the February 23 elections?
Politics of identity is more pronounced today in Nigeria. Accord Party is currently growing and gradually gaining ground. The political space in Nigeria is at a point where there is a struggle among the people to find genuine, capable and qualified leaders who have their well-being at heart. Note that, at the moment, many of the people vying for electoral positions are still using party popularity to cash in on votes. But the commentaries coming from different quarters, even among the international community is that less popular parties are already gaining more presence and popularity among the electorate as a result of their activities. Accord Party has won elections in other places. The party will win in Edo State.
How would you assess the country’s democratic journey so far?
The Nigerian democracy is only beginning to grow out of its infancy. This is because of the challenges of the civil war and military juntas that interrupted civil administrations since the time of independence. These 20 years of uninterrupted civilian governance has not met up with the expectations of many people. A proper comparison of the current state of facilities, amenities and the well-being of a great majority among the people show a much better standing now than when we didn’t have a stretch in period of uninterrupted democracy. Continual observance of democracy in Nigeria will create improvements in various aspects of life among the people. This will happen as they come to terms with being able to have a say in the way the country’s affairs are steered collectively by a majority and not by a few greedy individuals. It is true that the Nigerian politics have not served the people well. There is need to conduct our politics in a manner that will give the equal opportunities that they so deserved. Judging from the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly elections, I agree with Professor PLO Lumumba that ‘we must have a change of heart, a DNA transplant, a character transplant so that our dominant instinct, will be that which is to do good instead of bad.’ This must be done, because if it is not done we are done for.