by Osato Edokpayi
[Gov. Oshiomhole] must put a lid on this discord in the party, lest party faithful be tempted to think the new mantra is: “One man, several selections.”
In July 2012, the people of Edo State displayed immense courage and overwhelming support for Governor Adams Oshiomhole who they returned to office in spectacular fashion. It was one of the biggest margins in the history of gubernatorial elections in the state.
The bane of Nigeria’s politics remains the ever-widening chasm between those who wield political power and the masses who crave only for an improvement on the status quo. Nothing better exemplifies this than the quagmire in which the state’s chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is currently mired in.
That the ACN rode to power on a revolutionary infrastructural development mandate is not news. Many observers are also quick to posit that the party garnered so many votes not only because of the governor’s charisma, but also his promise to eradicate ‘godfatherism’ in the state – a situation where one man appointed his cronies to political offices without recourse to the will of the people, ignoring the tenets of true democracy.
In the weeks following the July 2012 gubernatorial election, political observers and the electorate alike began to draw the governor’s attention to a deplorable state of affairs where local government area elections were long overdue. Governor Adams Oshiomhole subsequently made a commitment to conduct the elections in April this year.
However, with just a few weeks to the elections, in a party that prides itself on practising true internal democracy, factions have emerged, each singing discordant tunes. A mob action by irate youth supporters of the party who recently unleashed mayhem at the state’s party secretariat is just one of many manifestations of disharmony in the party.
From Akoko-Edo to Oredo, accusations of imposition of candidates by senior party officials across the various local councils in the state are rife. The alleged case of an illegal congress held at the residence of an aide to the governor to select candidates in Uhunmwonde local government area immediately comes to mind. Such actions are distasteful and smack of a betrayal of the “one man, one vote” mantra upon which the party won popular acclaim in the state.
A simple process of selection where the party faithful choose those to fly the party’s flag and represent their interests in the April elections has been hijacked by the party’s leadership – which has clearly strained so far away from the party’s base, that it faces an uphill battle to regain the confidence of the party faithful and the Edo people in order ensure victory at the polls come April.
As Edo people, myself included, continue to applaud the giant strides of Governor Oshiomhole’s administration, he must put a lid on this discord in the party, lest party faithful be tempted to think the new mantra is: “One man, several selections.” I sincerely hope not.
Osato Edokpayi is an ardent believer in the Nigerian state that serves only the interest of its citizens. He is a keen observer of Edo State politics with particular interest in the political activities of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Edo State.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.