Edo and Ondo both end with the letter "O" and the letter "D" precedes the last letter of both. Both states do have off season elections which came as a result of some judicial upsets in the past. Both states are oil producing states with extremely woke citizens. Above all, they share a common boundary. Edo and Ondo are bounded by a common history as cemented by the Midwest arrangement of old.
The people of Ondo will be electing a new Governor today. Eventually, the incumbent Rotimi Akeredolu may either be returned or shellacked. The major gladiators , (three of them) are formidable. Many pundits believe that our Democracy would be further advanced if the contest is allowed to be an "election" and not "selection" as it was in Kogi and other states. will that be the case today? So we pray. While we say Amen, it is important that every Nigeria appreciates that electoral Hocus pocus is crime against humanity!
Politicians are notorious for coinages and catching phrases. These coinages, if not progenited to incite to violence are wonderful "acceptables" Recently, the phrase "Edo is Not Lagos" echoed across Edo state and beyond. It was a punchy response to a certain chieftain of the ruling party whom many believe was a meddlesome interloper. They believe he got the whole of his state in his hands. He is his state! His state is he! "He is power drunk" they said ....and that he is desperately looking for expansion of territories. So, the people of Edo and their friends across the world, helped echoed the "Edo is Not Lagos" hoopla to floor the so called grabber. Indeed, his appeal to the people of Heart Beat to change the incumbent wasn't adhered to. It may have done the opposite of what he intended. The incumbent Gov. Godwin Obaseki was returned as the winner.
"Yeah....Edo is not Lagos where even the food a Governor eats, the car he rides and the clothes he wear are stamped or determined by some godfather! We won't allow him to enthrone his scepter in Edo!" they said.
To many an observer, the Edo Governorship election was a break from our notorious tapestry. All the doomsday prophecies hit the bar. No one was killed in the process, the over 30,000 security operatives simply had no need to pull the trigger, or cuff any fists. This is very commendable. The peaceful conducts of Edolites did not come by accident. The watchers of the polity were alarmed over the free rain of vituperations and use of incendiary statements during the campaigns. While the campaign lasted, videos and photos of guns wieding thugs, shootings and destruction of opponents flotsam and jetsams of campaigns assailed our eyes and eyes. The entire political space was tensed and strenched to Breaking point. It was obvious that the D-Day could sink the state. The fear in the air propelled the Oba of Benin to call the major gladiators to his palace and made them to appreciate the "pricelessness" of peace senselessness of crisis . He vehemently told them that the contest was among two brothers who would remain as brothers no matter where the pendulum swung to. He made the high voltage youths to appreciate why they should not allow the politicians use their blood to write the rules. He admonished them (politicians and followers) and that God and the gods wouldn't goldmedal any merchant of crisis and violence.
The highly respected mornach did not play the aloof or ostrich game. He did the needful and the gladiators indeed had no choice than to kowtow to the throne.
The intervention of the palace was followed by another peace meeting as coverged by the Rtd. Gen. Abdulsalami's Natl. Peace Committee. To Benin they went and the gladiators were made to see the need to play cool. They signed for peace and indeed ,there was peace.
Ondo is here! Alas! There is no Oba of Benin in Ondo. Though, the Natl peace Committee has again done the needful, Pundits wonder if the players would play out the spirit and letters of the efforts of Abdulsalami and his Co Ambassadors of peace.
The preelection fever has been hot. The supporters of the major players have been violent. One only wish they would see the needlessness of electoral jiggery-pokery and war.
While, the people Democratic party's supporters were busy saying that the upset that happened in Edo would be replicated in Ondo, the incumbent Gov/Candidate Rotimi Akeredolu laughed them off. "Ondo is not Edo" he said. "The PDP should know that Ondo won't go the Edo Way. My Admistration has raised the bar. Ondolites know how to reward excellence. That is why I am sure of winning....."(paraphrased)
I really do not want Ondo to be like Edo! In Edo, there was votes trading. Both the APC and the PDP buried shame and engaged in open trading of votes. Voters were wooed by both parties and money exchanged hands. There was no Caeser's wife. Both parties just outspent themselves. Many of my people collected from both parties and voted their consciences. But, of a fact, should a person with a conscience place a price tag on such conscience? A person with a conscience should not sell his or her vote. Such a fellow should decline and simply vote for the candidate of his or her choice. A man or woman that is buyable is conscienceless. How would such a person demand performance? He or she would have no moral right to so demand because his conscience was bought and paid for abinitio. It was strictly business and the business man did not invest to lose. He would recoup his investment and reap in some huge returns.
Ondolites should not behave like most Edolites who sold their future for money. One would then ask why the election was declared free and fair by majority of the observers. The "free and fair" declaration or verdict is very contestable. I think we ( they) used it losely, appreciating that blood did not flow as many watchers had predict. As Ondo people go to the polls today, I want them to know that God is watching! The international Community too is watching and would not hesitate to ban any violent elite from entering their countries. This is the latest horsewhip. Where will they take their loots? Where will they rush to to chill or send their children? The fear of Europe and America is now the beginning of wisdom. I want Ondo people to set a new record of "incorruptibity" No one should give money or anything to sway voters! Voters should reject whoever tries to sway their minds with money or whatever. The security agents on ground should promptly arrest all law breakers and polluters and prosecute them immediately. Nigeria should be saved from desperate politicians. Ondo should not be like Edo. In Edo, shame was "abeyanced" In Ondo, I want shame to be embarrassed. I want integrity to be sancrosact. I wish them well.
Okhifo Oscar, a fashion Designer and Good Governance Advocate writes from Abuja .
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