Peter Obi’s Visit To Edo And Gov. Obaseki’s Politics of Acrimony

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PETER OBI VISIT TO EDO STATE: It is disgraceful for the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who rode on the goodwill of the Edo people into the Office, to display politics of acrimony following his refusal to allow the state’s Labour Party and its visiting Presidential candidate, HE Peter Obi, the use of the State-owned Samuel Ogbemudia stadium for their political rally.

Like the biblical Wicked Servant, who, after enjoying the magnanimity of his master’s forgiveness of his debt, laid hold on a fellow servant who owed him far less than he was forgiven for, Obaseki chose to hit democracy way below the belt line yesterday when Peter Obi and his Labour Party sought a safe place for their political campaign.

Rally during Peter Obi visit to Edo State
Rally during Peter Obi visit to Edo State

Although we have been told that all is fair in love and war; still, politics is not warfare. For those who may have experienced either, especially the latter, I am certain that they would vehemently disagree with that claim. Even wars between rival countries or peoples are fought with certain conventions and “rules of engagement” that the warring parties are expected to respect and thus prevent a situation in which human lives are taken indiscriminately.

Obaseki was cast out like an orphan by his former political party, the All Progressives Congress, during his daring second-term election. Obaseki chose to rewrite the narrative of his return to Office as one achieved on the strength of his “present” party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, rather than as one that was actualized through the goodwill of the people who had unanimously decided that for Obaseki’s reelection as governor of Edo State; the party would be inconsequential if democracy was to prevail.

Peter Obi
Governor Obi

This is why it must astound every well-meaning Nigerian, and particularly, Edo people, who Obaseki’s reelection a matter of personality and performance rather than party politics and worked bipartisanly to send him back to Government House for a second tenure, that the governor would choose to play party politics even when it meant he stood against the interest of the people he professes to serve.

The LP and HE Peter Obi were denied the use of the stadium, leaving not just the presidential candidate exposed to all sorts of unimaginable possibilities on the streets of Benin City; but also the Edo people who Gov. Obaseki swore on oath to serve and protect.

In a society where politics have been played with acrimonious recriminations, including physical attacks on candidates and supporters, the callousness – nay, wickedness of Obaseki’s decision to shut out the LP and HE Peter Obi out of the state’s stadium accentuates the fact that he is not a true democrat.

Politics is a matter of persuasion. If Obaseki and his party, the PDP, are truly convinced that it is the right party for the people of Nigeria, then it need not be afraid of a party, which in the words of another presidential candidate, is “a mushroom party with no structure.”

Gov. Obaseki’s decision to deny the Labour Party, its presidential candidate, HE Peter Obi and their supporters in Edo State the use of Samuel Ogbemudia stadium became the right move for the LP. Yes, his decision afforded the Edo people and Nigerians the opportunity to see that the #Obidient movement of the Obi-Datti candidacy in the 2023 general elections is the choice of the “people.”

Using the stadium yesterday, Friday 11th of November, 2022, would have made the OBIdient campaign a closed-door affair for the few who would have taken the pains to go to the location of Samuel Ogbemudia stadium. Instead, it afforded the movement the use of the streets, letting the hitherto unconvinced and perhaps uninitiated see that Nigerians have found their answer to the conundrum that is Nigeria’s political leadership in the Labour Party’s candidate: HE Peter Obi.

The other PDP and APC governors should continue the same trend of shutting out Peter Obi and the OBIdients in their states and watch the streets speak their choice.

As for Gov. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, his malicious and acrimonious stab into the heart of democracy must now feel like that of Brutus into the heart of Caesar.

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