While the good people of Edo State were gearing up in readiness for the Governorship polls initially slated for today, the 10th of September; the political forces in high places were concocting a plan so diabolical that it has somewhat tipped the scales of justice
Barely 72hrs to the process, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in collaboration with the Department of State Security (DSS) held a joint press briefing, calling for the postponement of the proceedings, citing security threats as its sole reason. According to the security agencies, Edo state is under an immediate threat of insurgency /extremist attacks. Insurgency in Edo State? *sips tea*
On hearing this, you would think Edo State has Borno as its neighbouring State, and that it had previously been repeatedly vanquished by the Boko Haram insurgents, or as the CNN would say – a terrorist hotbed; but no! Edo is as safe as the heavens be, a State where the biggest Security threat are the thugs in her city-centre (Ring Road). How did the South-South State move from that threat level to postpone-the-elections-now-threat-level?
Who is threatening our security at his convenience?
It would also interest you to know that barely a year ago (October 31st 2015), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) successfully conducted a bye-election for the vacant Borno Central senatorial seat after the death of Senator Ahmed Zannah amidst the Nigerian Army “Operation Lafiya Dole” counter-insurgency operation against the Boko Haram insurgents without any security threats.
So why is Edo State special? What has changed?
INEC in a press conference on Thursday had allayed the fears of Edo People, stating that they would conduct the elections as planned since they hadn’t been officially briefed on the security threat. Edolites were pleased with the statement, they were however taken aback barely 6 hours later after the electoral body reversed its decision and called for postponement of the much-anticipated polls.
The Edo state elections is a point of interest for the ruling party (APC) since it is the only state it controls in the PDP saturated South-South, so it won’t be out of place to say that the statement from the security agencies might have been an “order from above”, the age long tale of the one who pays the piper. However, whether the security threats are real or not, the lives of the people of Edo state aren’t worth risking for any politician, so let’s give the security agencies the benefit of the doubt and accept their intelligence report. Still on the matter, it is highly consequential to take into consideration that the President visited the Edo State just one-day before the advice of the security agencies to postpone the elections, were the security agencies aware of this impending security threats while the President visited the state? Could they not have cancelled the visit as they did in Ogoni?
Expectedly the postponement of the elections has further heated up the polity; the opposition party, PDP, has come out with guns blazing rejecting the postponement of the election calling the action “illegal, unconstitutional and a breach of the people’s trust in the commission and the security agencies”. The PDP spokesperson went ahead to say that the action of the electoral body was a “coup against the people of Edo state in particular and Nigeria in general”.
Coming from a Commission that has made a mess of our elections since 2015, with numerous inconclusive and blood-filled Polls, it is nearly impossible to see this last-minute verdict by Mahmood Yakubu as innocuous, especially at a time like this.
On the other hand, the members of the APC accepted the decision of INEC, insisting that they would still come out victorious whenever the election is held. *sips tea again*
The real question is who stands to gain more from the postponement of the elections? APC, PDP, INEC or the lovers of football across Edo state who would have had a tough decision on whether to fulfil their civic responsibilities or watch a Star-studded Manchester derby. As we look forward to the polls, it is paramount that all candidates, political parties and stakeholders involved conduct themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner to avoid any breach of peace before and after the election. With the coronation of the Oba of Benin two-days before the govenorship elections, let me use this medium to felicitate with the Bini Traditional council and of course all Bini Sons and Daughters both home and Abroad.
“Ediaken Gha to kpere”