By Olaleye Olawale
I woke up to the news of your resolve to challenge the outcome of the Edo State governorship election held over the weekend and couldn’t but ponder the basis for your decision. However, I had to put this intervention on hold for a few hours to celebrate my beautiful daughter, Monisola, who is 2 years old today. I’m back here now.
Dear ruling political party, it’s not enough to boast democratic credentials; more important is living the ethos of that choice. Except there are other things we do not know, that election stands currently as the most credible exercise conducted by INEC in recent time and there’s no debating it.
The election was transparent, credible, free, fair and without violence. The pockets of skirmishes recorded in one or two places are not potent enough to discredit its staggering success. Some of the most developed countries of the world do have them, too.
Let’s get it straight. We can’t demand respect from the rest of the world and continue to disrespect ourselves. These things have overall and sweeping effect on everyone. How do we continue to discredit and talk down on our own efforts and expect that outsiders would view us differently? It’s impossible!
Both the PDP and the APC fought a good fight on Saturday, September 19, and from all indications, “the better side”, given a gamut of factors, emerged victorious. The result of that election, without any scintilla of doubts, reflected the mood of the people and the state and should be left at that. After all, it wasn’t meant to be a do-or-die exercise.
I hold the view that this development provides a window of opportunity for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as the “leader of all democrats” to prevail on his party and people to move on and by extension, pull off some damage control for his misadvised video on the eve of the election.
I also think that the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, being a major character in the election, should travel the requisite democratic path and not allow himself to be goaded on a self-serving, destructive route. He is a Christian, pastor and democrat. These choices thrust on his shoulders, huge responsibilities and he should live up to them.
Former APC national chair, Adams Oshiomhole, should see the outcome of the election as an honest verdict of the people. No empire endures forever and there’s nothing as dignifying as quitting when the ovation is loudest. He too should validate the credibility of the election and speak up in its defence. It does us more collective good than the selfish path the APC plans to tread.
Captain Idahosa Okunbo’s support for the APC and its candidate was based on conviction and putting his money where his mouth was, is normal. However, he is not one to brood over spilled milk. But if anyone is asking him to chase after this election matter, please, say yes for as long as he is funding it or doing so pro-bono if a lawyer. Many of them make money from mischief making.
Honestly, we should commend the INEC, security agencies and above all, President Muhammadu Buhari for making the Edo election a huge success, even when the outcome didn’t go the way of some of us. But we are honest and realistic enough to see that the willpower of the people prevailed.
Thus, before the APC further demystifies itself and puts us all in the box of “black people with black mentality”, someone should pull the break on this ugly choice now and let us move on. Life isn’t static. It goes on!
Former president Goodluck Jonathan was not happy he lost in 2015 but he reckoned the bigger picture and moved on. Today, he prides himself in a better democratic robe than many of his traducers, who taunted him in self-glorification.
US democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Senator Hillary Clinton won the popular votes with over three million votes difference, therefore, it’s understandable the pain she endured to let go. Yet, the nation and its institutions were bigger than her ambition and that’s it.
It’s time we moved on in our democratic journey by embracing cosmopolitan electoral cultures, while we strive to domesticate our approach. Even if the APC banks on the messy certificate matter of Governor Obaseki, it still would not change the fact that he had a clean win from a straight electoral contest.
Besides, the Supreme Court verdict on Buhari’s case makes that choice a highway to nowhere. So, why waste time and resources on what you already know its outcome? Edo has spoken; let’s respect its voice and choice. Any attempt to discredit that election is a disservice to us all as a people and the country.
Olawale Olaleye is a Deputy Editor at ThisDay
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