The world is moving from politics of race, division, ethnicity, hatred to a civilised order where character, integrity and personality are key to clinching leadership positions. These are standards we should emulate and not go back to the medieval moment in time that can never serve us well in a modern world.
In Edo State, the stage is already set for the big battle ahead. The intra- and inter-party rivalry and accompanying violence are obviously dress rehearsals for the impending ‘war’ over the governorship election scheduled for September this year. The stakes are high and the principal antagonists are not leaving anything to chance. Besides the known intrigues, muckraking and violent machinations associated with politics, the APC-controlled state has added a diabolical dimension to the struggle for the top job, accusing and scaring one another with voodoo and juju; instead of seeking new ways and ideas to move Edo forward.
Last week, the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) in the state raised an alarm, and accused the APC government of throwing caution to the wind by reducing governance to spirituality, voodoo, fetishes and vendetta.
The LP’s concern is not unconnected with the ongoing supremacy battle between the governor, Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu, over who becomes the next governor of the state. The deputy governor does not enjoy the support of his boss in his bid to be the next governor of the state. The accusation and counter-accusation of assassination attempts, according to LP, is the latest ‘embarrassment brought upon Edo people’ by the APC government in the state.
Where reason is allowed to prevail and sanity exists, a deputy can aspire to his boss’ position. However that has been a herculean task because of the spare tire role forced upon deputy governors. They have been suppressed and relegated to the background without a voice since the return of civil rule in 1999, to the extent that a deputy governor wishing to take over from his or her principal is likely to be stepping on landmines. Unfortunately for Governor Oshiomhole, his deputy is not about to drop his ambition and go into political oblivion. This is why in Edo, every combatant is ready to stake all — violence, sorcery, and witchcraft, thereby turning the state into a hotbed of everything negative, just as the smear campaign tempo will continue to rise in the days and weeks ahead of the election.
While expressing its displeasure, the LP said: “what is happening is a clear and unambiguous indication that governance in Edo State has been handed over to juju”. Indeed the crisis between the incumbent duo has also left some casualties in its trail, especially the impeachment of the speaker of the state house of assembly and his deputy.
The juju dimension to politics seems to be the order of the day in some APC controlled states. In nearby Kogi State, almost all actions taken by the Yahaya Bello administration are said to have spiritual connotations. Less than two months in office, the governor did the unthinkable: he ordered the demolition of all roundabouts in Lokoja and environs. The criticism is not so much about the action than the manner and timing of it. The action got tongues wagging, and many have attributed it to the cleansing/removal of juju items buried by the previous governments and ‘owners of shrines’ in the state.
There was also the case of Governor Aregbesola calling on his troupe to be armed with their amulets to confront the PDP rigging machine in the aftermath of the Ekiti election and ahead of the Osun governorship election in 2014.
The question being asked is why do these APC states resort to diabolical help in governance and politicking when confronted with challenges. Where is it in the world that roundabouts are nocturnally demolished? Pray, what has changed in Kogi State since those roundabouts vanished. What is the urgency about demolishing them when reconstruction cannot take place almost immediately? If the building of roundabouts is such a priority, won’t there have been an outcry? And at a time the state is owing workers in arrears of five months and basic infrastructure are lacking, demolishing roundabouts should be the least of worries for a state governor.
It is disturbing that in a country where the majority of the populace profess to be adherents of Islam or Christianity and even fight one another in the name of God, the people also rely on means other than prayers to fulfill their ambitions. Such is the complexity of the most religious country in the world with about 50 percent Muslims and 50 percent Christians, some of who believe in the efficacy of other forces outside the two religions. The Kogi/Edo scenario and indeed many parts of the country reminds one of Haitians who are both Catholics and Protestants, yet they worship an amalgam of African spirit religion called voodoo.
That perhaps explains why Haiti has remained a backward country despite its proximity to the US, the most developed country in the world. In that same vein, I do not see how Edo and Kogi and any state for that matter can make meaningful impact if their leaders still live in the backward past. Election is a deliberate and conscious attempt at changing behaviour through strategic planning and convincing the electorate to buy into your programmes, even though in Nigeria, it is also about your status/station in life, the right heritage, the right contacts and of course incumbency.
Take the example of the son of a Pakistani immigrant driver, Sadiq Kahn who just won the mayoral seat of London. He defeated a wealthy homeboy to clinch that position. The world is moving from politics of race, division, ethnicity, hatred to a civilised order where character, integrity and personality are key to clinching leadership positions. These are standards we should emulate and not go back to the medieval moment in time that can never serve us well in a modern world.
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