“That Godwin N. Obaseki of the All Progressive Congress (APC) having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes…”
Words that indicated finality in the electoral process that was the Edo Elections. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) made that definite announcement as both joy and anguish riddled the atmosphere. Edo People had never been this politically split!
With over 25,000 policemen deployed to the State, excluding the plethora of soldiers and paramilitary battalions, decorum was advised. I mean, if you live in the Benin metropolis you would agree with me that on the eve of the election, Benin bore a semblance with the North-East. Army tankers, vans and helicopters… the air reeked of latent hostility. Edo people became curious as to whether the ark of the covenant was passing through the heart beat state. The precautionary security setup was unprecedented. This begs the question, who were/are those persons that would have possibly incited violence and disrupt the peace of the state?
The elections have come and gone, and even with the Vatican-type security, there were still endless reports of irregularities and foul play from just every corner. Another plastic attempt to authenticate this pseudo-democracy, failed. For 56-years of nationhood, we have settled for this! Bread crumbs called “dividends of democracy”.
For how much longer?
If you are not a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. No in between; this lot of politicians are part of the problem. I get perplexed when I see youths arguing along the lines of partisan politics. I mean do we not realise that this country’s despotic leadership style is a vicious cycle that would continue for generations if we do not intervene?
On the week of the polls, I witnessed a fight in a commuter vehicle involving two young men. One waved the flag of Obaseki, the other carried the crest of Ize-Iyamu; the brawl would have turned bloody, but for the beseeching appeal of market women. These thugs were ready to die for men who consider them not. Zombies!
The PDP have besieged the streets of Benin for consecutive days now protesting what they have termed a “stolen mandate”, the APC have answered them with these infamous Nigerian words: “if you are angry, go to court!”. African politics at its finest—from extravagant campaigns to flawed elections to unending court cases. In all this we are the grass that suffers. We are the nagging wife. Again I ask, for how much longer?
Today, I call on young people to wake up! For evil to endure all we have to do is nothing. Ergo we have to do something; this cycle has to end. We would not be their ready zombies again, ready to fight their every war, ready to bleed for their need, ready to compromise at every juncture… We would not be their willing pawns. Wake up!
We would start a movement, not on the streets, but in our homes. We would individually educate our minds on the ideals of politics and governance; and after all this, maybe, just maybe… ‘Change’ will come.