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Oshiomhole’s victory, Osunbor’s propaganda

Posted by By Kassim Afegbua on 2008/05/11 | Views: 775 |

Oshiomhole’s victory, Osunbor’s propaganda

It is quite nauseating to watch on television the level that the Osunbor-led government could descend in order to impress his select audience that the verdict of the tribunal in Edo State was wrongfully done.

It is quite nauseating to watch on television the level that the Osunbor-led government could descend in order to impress his select audience that the verdict of the tribunal in Edo State was wrongfully done.

It is further disheartening that in this millennium age, students’ activism could still parade or showcase the inherent maladies in our body politics, little wonder that some of the students that were shown on African Independent Television barely a week ago on a solidarity visit to the Governor in protest against the verdict hid their heads in shame.

There is nothing wrong in defending a mandate if your convictions are driven by passion, common sense and justice but to resort to cheap propaganda as a selling streak to browbeat people into believing that the verdict was a miscarriage of justice is to sympathize with the entire democratic process. I would be the last to believe that a Law Professor of Senator Osunbor’s standing could be the brain behind the village square dance to underscore the common canard that the Governor is performing.

The very act of propaganda is not a harvest of lies and the advertisement of untruths. Propaganda is telling the truth but saying it in a language that the ordinary people will understand. To that extent, the National Association of Edo Students’ missed the point when in a placard carrying drama, they tried to sell a product that has long been pronounced expired by the tribunal. Were Osunbor to be an edible product whose life expectancy is being shortened by NAFDAC, consumers would have expressed their cognitive dissonance and deal with the Osunbor-product with a long pole.
But in Nigeria where anything goes, the Students could be excused on the basis of hunger and deprivations. Interesting, some of the students who expressed such solidarity have not been able to pay their school fees neither have their standard of living improved as a result of the “good governance” of their governor-hero.

Any sane analysts of the political happenings in the country would concede to the bare-faced fact that the Edo State Tribunal verdict on the Governorship election has been the most thorough, down-to-earth and objective when compared to the series of other judgments that have been handed down in the last nine months. Only Osanobua would have been able to imagine the untold consequences that would have befell Benin and the entire state should the victory go the other way. Thus the verdict from the learned Judges fulfilled all righteousness from the realm of public policy, knack for details, technicalities, fair hearing and merit.

The judgment examined the actors and factors in the election, and having heard from both sides used the overwhelming evidence on ground as a basis to arrive at such conclusion. For the first time in several months, opinions were almost unanimous on the soundness of the judgment except that expectedly those of the PDP flak would cry blue murder over nothing. They blamed their woes on the raging feud between Chief Anenih and Governor Osunbor. Typical of PDP way of thinking, they conclude easily that it was Chief Anenih who twisted the arms of the Judges to deliver a judgment against Osunbor who has been trying to be his own man. All manners of theories and permutations.

As a member of opposition in this entire political calculation, I am fulfilled by the thought that our tribunals have the capacity to give hope to the ordinary folks out there. I am further fulfilled by the realization that irrespective of the propaganda and machinery of Government, the opposition still nurtures hope and high expectations. The victory of Comrade Oshiomole should be seen as a victory for all concerned Edo indigenes that have been yearning to break away from the bogey of godfather politics that undermined good governance in the last nine years.

In Lucky Igbinedion’s eight years, it was a battle of wits between him and his estranged godfather, Chief Anenih. Governor Osunbor also inherited similar excess luggage as he has been struggling to control the soul of the PDP and the politics of the State. In all of these, good governance suffers and the ordinary folks out there who are not actors in the power game are worse off. In the case of Comrade Oshiomole, he appears to be his own godfather. Apart from deriving his inspiration from the ordinary people that dot the entire gamut of Edo State, he has been an activist whose only language of engagement is defining a roadmap for the down trodden.

The kind of energy he has brought to bear on the politics of vote defending, has been tremendous. As a man of the people, loved by majority of Edo people home and abroad, an Oshiomhole governorship would help to reposition and deconstruct the unproductive thinking of appropriating the state to one man or a group of self-serving individuals. Since his concern would be on how to render service as a test case for all his labour battles, I doubt if he would allow sycophants to undo him in the process.

I am not an advocate of power rotation. I believe in the tradition of seeking the best hands to manage the affairs of the state. So, those who are seeing Oshiomhole’s victory from the pin-hole view as compensation for the Edo North people should rather have a rethink and assess the man on the basis of his competence, republican nature, doggedness and friend of all stature. In terms of governance, Oshiomole would be more willing to deliver on his promise as he would not want to contradict himself and his beliefs than an Osunbor would. As a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Osunbor’s tenure was uneventful and colourless. Every power rendition that is not wrapped in charisma, aura, integrity and dignity has something amiss.

The initial victory handed down to Senator Osunbor was not based on merit but the mere fact that PDP had a conquest machine piloted by Chief Obasanjo, made his selection an election. It was not surprising therefore that the tribunal knocked him off having been confirmed that the PDP rigged the election. The Court of Appeal would simply help to complement the untiring effort of the tribunal judges in giving vent to the new resolve at repositioning the Judiciary. If the verdict of the tribunal was not fair enough, how come there has been tranquility and peace in Edo State. Would the situation have been same, if the victory went Osunbor way? Certainly no.

Popularity of candidates is not purchased across the counter or through solidarity visit or per diem. A candidate that is popular would naturally see people around him without prompting. He will also not run away from the people who usually give their support. In the case of Oshiomhole, his popularity in Edo State was not bought with naira and kobo neither was his victory. From the Okada Riders Union to the Mechanics Union through to the Fashion Designers, Oshiomhole has seen genuine support from those who are at the receiving end of bad or good governance. As they flood the street and his residence every now and then in show of solidarity, they further fire his passion to serve.

If the object of democracy is to truly serve the people, then Oshiomhole has the people on his side to render service and provide infrastructure. A government that is people driven will not sponsor organised solidarity visits. The support base would naturally flow from within. When a government’s adrenaline is weakened by lack of support, it resorts to borrowing robes to sustain the float. And now that the months are ticking away, nostalgia is never a friend to any one in power.

As we move to the next stage of hearing in the Appeal Court, it is important for all lovers of democracy to give maximum support to the effort of the Judiciary at helping to redefine our election and the political process. More than anything, the verdicts from the various tribunals have rekindled hope in the polity and the electoral process. Nigerians are getting buoyed by the attractions of sound judgment oozing out from the oven of the tribunals. If the tribunals assumes the platform through which elections could be defended, so be it. And in the final analysis, Nigerian democracy would be firmly rooted in due process, rule of law and accountability. That is the high point of a representative government. Osunbor should stop wasting public funds on “arrangee” solidarity visits and protests. In this new age, the texture of governance has assumed a different challenge and only those familiar with the nuances could confront it.

Prince Kassim Afegbua.
Acting National Chairman, NDP.
And Media Spokesman to IBB.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.