The political funeral of erstwhile chairman of the broom party, Adams Oshiomole was coordinated by his estranged political son , Godwin, ‘the merciless’ Obaseki who engaged the services of the best event managers in Edo state to organise a befitting political defeat to bury alive an overbearing godfather. To do the burial, Godwin had to mobilise 307, 955 permanent voter cards of his umbrella wielding loyalists against 223, 619 gathered by the trounced broom flagbearer, Pastor Ize Iyamu whose intention was to save the drowning godfather. With a difference of 84, 333 powerful voters, the political coffin of Adams was nailed by people-favoured Obaseki.
The Edo gubernatorial election of 19 September 2020 has opened new political power corridor while the boastful two-time governor is allowed to mourn his loss. Paid back in his coin, Oshiomole joins the league of political gladiators in the state who have suffered similar political dethronement. The loss of Iyamu is a big blow to the Lion of Bourdillon who in a broadcast had urged Edo electorates to reject Obaseki on a flimsy accusation that Obaseki did not contribute to the democracy Nigeria is enjoying. And for that reason, it was in the wisdom of the Bourdillon general that someone proclaimed as unfit and corrupt four years ago by overbearing Adams when Iyamu contested on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party should now be imposed on Edo people because he has switched camp to the broom party where all sins are forgiven. OshoBourdillon forgot an African proverb which says if you damage the character of another you damage your own. With a twist of fate, Adams who has eaten the forbidden apple found himself in a tight corner to erase the character assassination of Ize Iyamu he superintended four years ago.
While the outcome of the election deflated the ego of political paper weights like Adams Oshiomole and his ilk, the broadcast of Bourdillon general partly contributed to the outright rejection of Iyamu by Edo voters. Like Femi Fani-kayode stated that he ‘suffered’ in his ‘stupid question’ drama with Akwa Ibom reporter of Daily Trust, the broom party national leader also claimed he suffered to bring about the democracy Nigeria is enjoying. While he participated in the NADECO struggle, his suffering is not enduring as his coast has been enlarged so much by democratic dividends to obliterate any traces of suffering. The Bourdillon general should know that Nigerians are still suffering for the type of leadership imposed on them by those claiming to have enthroned democracy. Two decades after the return of democracy, Nigerians are poor but have rich and selfish politicians; there is no functional hospital that can treat the likes of Bourdillon general here unless he jets out to colonial homeland.
They have tactically killed public education with perennial underfunding; those who suffered for democracy are happy to rule over the global headquarters of the hoipolloi. Where is the road infrastructure emplaced by those who suffered for democracy?. South African Idol, Nelson Mandela suffered in the real sense of the word for 27 years behind bars for the restoration of democracy. When he had the opportunity to rule, he stuck to one term unlike Nigerian politicians who would sing the song of suffering and would want to rule for life. Mandela retired to play national leadership and advisory role. While South Africa has party supremacy Nigeria has personality supremacy!. The essence of being a leader is to have people who are following you but a leader leading without followers as experienced in Edo is only taking a leisurely walk.
Despite being denied ticket under the broom party, Obaseki confronted his fears to test his popularity at the polls under a different but timely umbrella party. Working with enemies of his estranged political godfather and leveraging on the structure of the umbrella party, the coast was clear for an upset. If not for overbearing godfatherism, how can someone cleared to contest previously by the broom party get disqualified by a law student who has no certificate? The cutting-to-size of Oshiomole is a lesson for other godfathers to see that people make political parties what they are. This is what Godwin, ‘the merciless’ Obaseki has shown namely, that irrespective of party, his people will queue behind him.
The timely pronouncement of VISA ban from colonial homelands on some enemies of democracy in Nigeria also played huge role. United States of America portrays our politicians as immature in upholding the tenets of democracy through the machination of violence and arm-twisting of the instrumentality and organs of the state. Their parasitic nature does not only end at fostering bad leadership on the people, they also deny the people democractic dividends. The tragedy of the Nigerian political system is that the interest of the godfather(s), no matter how unpopular is foisted on the majority with grievous consequences on the Nigerian masses, who now live in abject poverty.
As expected, both parties (broom and umbrella) engaged in commodification of votes also known as vote buying to sway voters to their side. These wicked politicians reportedly purchased votes with N1,000, and above as the voting transactional market opened. The limited violence also indicated that the majority were with the incumbent otherwise, Edo election would have been characterised with violence like those experienced in Bayelsa and Kogi states. INEC and security agencies should also be commended for minimal interference.
The victory of Obaseki against team ‘Oshobourdillon’ shows their dispensability. Yoruba social thought unpacks the consequences of overrated relevance. Eni ti kiki re ko yoni, aiki re kopanilebi roughly translated to mean he whose salutations do not satisfy ones hunger, his lack of salutations do not make one hungry. It shows that these overrated godfathers misread local dynamics of Edo politics and may be banking on federal might to work for them. The defeat of Oshiomole and ‘saint’ Iyamu further affirmed the position of Yoruba when they say the tree which we lean and cannot support us, if it falls on us it cannot kill us (igi ti a fehinti tiko gbani duro, bi o wo luniko le pani). The Yoruba people equally nail it further that if the wild boar behaved like the domestic pig, it would ruin the town; if the slave were king no decent person would be left. These social thoughts unveil the characters of our politicians as egoistic in orientation and with little or no altruistic instinct to help the ruled. This is why they mingle and support similar characters like them.
The outcome of this election teaches us to be mindful of what we say against our opponents today because camps may change and it may become difficult to erase such definitive pronouncements. This message rings loud in the toxic statements made by Oshiomole about Ize Iyamu during the 2015 electioneering round (reproduced in the italicized caption preceding this piece for ease of reference). This is what Oshiomole and his battered candidate endured throughout their campaign. There is a sense in Robert Greene’s law 5 in his 48 Laws of power. It says “reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once it slips, however, you are vulnerable and will be attacked on all sides.” Greene further posits that “make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let the public opinion tang them”.
Team Obaseki unleashed this law on team “Oshobourdillon” who struggled in vain to right the wrongs. With this victory, Obaseki seriously needs to get to work for Edo people and learn from the mistakes of erstwhile leaders who have fallen due to overbearing attitude and overrated importance.
Dr Tade, a sociologist wrote via [email protected]