Edo politics, a model for weaning Nigerian politics, politicians from godfatherism

Edo politics, a model for weaning Nigerian politics, politicians from godfatherism


Ed Chukwuemeka Otuchikere,

The ‘Edo is not Lagos’ narrative helps in portraying a vivid contrast in the temperament of these iconic Nigerian states and her peoples. It captures the seething discontent pushing the political dialectics of this dispensation. The contest for governorship in Edo state has exposed the dualism in the character of a typical Nigerian politician. Men who were taunted to be villains four years ago were suddenly rebranded by the same men who said they were evil and simply canonized to qualify them for elective positions in year 2020.

The campaigns, often times, had more entertainment and comic reliefs than serious politicking. It was shocking in the first instance to know that the two frontline contestants in this past Edo election had actually ‘traded’ places. Gov. Godwin Obaseki, four years ago, was waving the broom of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) while Pastor Ize-Iyamu was delightfully wielding the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In the same breath, Adams Oshiomhole was busy marketing one and de-marketing the other. Mr. Oshiomhole ended up with the more crushing job of trying to sound convincing this time around. He is forced to retrieve everything he said about both men four years ago and still sound like a principled man, one to be taken seriously. It makes him look absolutely ridiculous. He will need some kind of ‘magical’ powers to erase the memories of the average Edo voter who listened to him four years ago and believed him.

This past weekend, the Edo electorate went to the polls and voted Obaseki who won reelection. It is a landmark victory for all Edolites who had a role in determining who governs them for the next four years.

Once in a while, history throws up a hero. Godwin Obaseki has proven to be one of the politicians we can take seriously in this era. He looked at his options and took a calculated risk leveraging on the goodwill of the Edo electorates. Like they say here- ‘one good turn deserves another’. Obaseki has worked to change the political and socio-economic landscape in Edo state. He will go down in history as a courageous ‘political David’ who dared the Goliaths of Edo politics and Adams Oshiomole, the self-acclaimed lion of Edo.

The dynamics of Lagos state politics may have changed if only Akinwunmi Ambode had exercised more courage. He was accused of not being a loyal party man even when he appeared to be excelling in governance. In a bid to remain in the ‘good books’ of political godfathers, he traded his right for self-determination and every moral contract he had with the people of Lagos state to look out for their collective interest.

Given the Edo template, I believe Nigerian politics and politicians may easily be weaned from overdependence on godfathers who, many times, are only looking out for their personal interest.

Otuchikere, an entrepreneur and social commentator, wrote in from Calabar.

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