By Jethro Ibileke
The much hyped Edo state governorship election has finally come and gone. Following the release of the election timetable a few months ago, political parties and other stakeholders in the election went straight to work. The various parties that chose to participate in the election set in motion processes to elect candidates to fly their flags in the election.
Primary elections held peacefully in some of the parties, while those of other parties, however, resulted in wrangling and discontent that almost tore them to shreds. The process even resulted in costly mistake for the All Progressives Congress (APC), following the disqualification of Governor Godwin Obaseki, who was then in the party, that led to his defecting to the PDP where he eventually contested and won the election.
The election might have come and gone, but there are salient lessons that the actors and other stakeholders could, especially future aspirants could learn from.
Performance is rewarding
It is true that when an elected politician performs credibly well, he could be rewarded with a re-election. Although Obaseki was castigated for alleged abysmal performance in some quarters, many others however argue that he performed credibly well, hence, he was rewarded with a re-election.
Watch your words
Biblical wise King Solomon in one of his many proverbs, warned that we must let our words be few. The outcome of the election shows the salient lesson of this proverb; politicians must learn to let their words be few, because, whenever they speak from both sides of their mouths and without control, they could easily derail.
Another reason why we must let our words be few is the reason that our words could be used against us later in life. In other words, we must mind what we say about others today, because it could be used against us tomorrow.
A vivid example in this regard was Adams Oshiomhole’s defamatory statements against Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who was candidate of PDP in 2016 governorship election, while campaigning for Godwin Obaseki who was then candidate of the APC. He thoroughly condemned Ize-Iyamu with many unprintable words. But then, the tide turned in 2020, Ize-lyamu became candidate of his own party and was to contest with Obaseki. Oshiomhole now has the herculean task of washing his candidate clean from his previous allegations.
Many are of the opinion that Oshiomhole inadvertently campaigned for Obaseki in 2020, and at the same time condemned his own candidate, which they said was responsible for the victory of Obaseki and the defeat of Ize-lyamu. If only his words had proved to be few!
Unity is strength
There is no gainsaying that there is strength in unity, it results in success. While the state chapter of the APC wallowed in crisis and division, the PDP reaped the gains of their crisis by putting its house in order, bonded together and campaigned for its last-minute candidate, Obaseki.
That was what Obaseki meant when he said in his acceptance speech that: “our success has reinforced my belief that there is nothing we cannot achieve as a people if we put forces together and collectively call on God for support.”
What goes around comes around
The idiom, ‘what goes around comes around’ is an informal expression used to say that if someone treats other people badly, he or she will eventually be treated badly by someone else. In other words, we should not mistreat others.
Agharese Usifo who resides in Benin, who believed that the then national working committee of the APC mistreated Governor Obaseki when he needed them most, said the party was eventually punished by the electorate with their votes for the mistreatment meted on Obaseki.
It is not over until it is over
Following the disqualification of governor Obaseki from participating in the primary election of the APC, many thought that was the end of his political career. Reliable sources had it that Obaseki himself almost quit at some point, but, for the insistence of his close associates, including his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, he persevered.
His perseverance, however, paid off, he defected to the opposition PDP where he secured the ticket to run for the election and eventually won.