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The Standard Gazette
Online Daily News Portal | Online Newspapers

The Crisis Rocking The Political Space In Edo State

Although there are many different political parties in Edo state, the two major ones making the waves and better contender to the Government House are the candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It will be recalled that this was the same scenario that played out in the elections of 2016 that brought in the incumbent Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki. The rivalry between these two political parties has a long history and has become a cause of concern for every stakeholder in the State.

The crisis, which began with the intractable feud between the erstwhile National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomole and the Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.

This feud which could not be amicably resolved ensured that about 14 elected members of the House of Assembly could not be sworn in during the inauguration of the House because they were suspected to be accolades and allies of the National Chairman. They have since been residing in Abuja until recently.

The crisis created by this has led a situation where the constituents of these elected but unsworn in members have not been represented, a loss to these constituents as it denies them constitutional representation. This has also led to the intention to conduct bye-elections to fill their positions in the House and is already a matter of litigation.

This crisis also eventually consumed Comrade Adams Oshiomole as the National Chairman of the APC as he was removed by a court of competent jurisdiction.

However, his removal didn’t reduce his influence in the Party especially at the State level where he ensured that Governor Godwin Obaseki was not cleared to be returned as the Party’s gubernatorial candidate for the second term. This decision did not go down well with the Governor and his supporters.

Although the Governor has been known to have sympathy for the PDP with many people speculating that he would soon jump ship.

With his desire to recontest killed by his Party, the Governor decamped to the PDP while the APC ensured that Mr Osagie Iyamu came up as their gubernatorial candidate, thus setting the stage for a repeat of the contest only that the candidates are now representing opposite political parties.
The above has led to a series of political movements by individuals and groups and the attendant mudslinging associated with our campaigns. All these have added to heating the polity.

The associated consequences have resulted in the clashes witnessed at the Palace of the highly revered Monarch, Oba Ewuare 11 which left one person dead and several persons injured.

This is in addition to the disgrace meted out on the Governor when the attack happened when he and his entourage were leaving the palace after paying a courtesy call on the Monarch.

The crisis has come in different colourations. Allegations and counter-allegations have been made by both parties which have increased the spate of insecurity in the State.

Campaign banners are being torn apart and removed from conspicuous places by opponents and the intimidation of persons suspected to have sympathy for either of the party, depending on situations and this is true for both parties.

The recent attempt by the elected members who have been resident in Abuja to inaugurate and activate another inauguration of the House of Assembly while there is a subsisting one can only lead to anarchy.

The timely intervention by some democrats and members of the security agencies prevented mayhem at the premises of the Anthony Enahoro House of Assembly Complex. The staff in that Complex are presently unsettled as they don’t know who and what instructions to obey.

There’s a palpable fear that the factional House of Assembly may impeach the governor, before, during or after the election.

All these have all added to increase the tension and insecurity which will affect the turn out of voters for the September 11 election.

This election may become the worst except the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies take proactive measures to convince the electorates of that the exercise would be free, fair and that their votes would count, most potential voters may prefer to stay at home and observe the proceedings from the safety of their homes.

The security agencies must ensure that identified rabble-rousers are prevented from leaving their wards, that security presence is everywhere.

The federal government should not only be neutral but this must be manifestly demonstrated for all to see.

For future elections, the federal government should consider electronic voting to reduce the physical contacts that the present method depends on.

The INEC should also ensure that those arrested for election malpractices are not only investigated but also prosecuted. This will reduce the impunity with which people are motivated to engage in electoral malpractices.

It is also important to consider ideological political engagement to reduce the ease with which people decamp.

And where it is imperative that people will decamp, there should be a reasonable period those involved should be excluded from politicking, especially those vying for political offices. There should be a price to be paid for decamping that fuels political crises.

All these measures, considered individually or collectively will reduce insecurity before, during or after elections.

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