Edo poll: The reconciliation that made a difference

The political differences that had existed between Edo State governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, and his deputy, Mr. Pius Odubu were such that created fears over its likely effect on the forthcoming governorship elections.

People were so concerned that they feared it may sway voters considering that such crisis easily has devastating impacts. One of such effects is that it had presented an easy avenue for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and other centrifugal forces to exploit. And the prospects of such is something Edo people couldn’t have imagined given PDP’s notorious antecedents in the state.

It was this notion that nudged well-meaning individuals to beckon on the principal actors to realise that the gains of the last eight years must not be traded for political differences.

This was in respective of the merits or demerits of the issue which was even a ‘’family affair’’ because the future of the state towers above any other interest.

For me, it was one of the periods I nearly got frustrated about my state like because so many vaulting interests were waiting in the wings. The thinking that the promising prospects that Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s candidacy holds for the state may be jeopardised added to my misery. Certainly, I was not alone in this, as most people hoped that things would never fall apart in the state to allow our continuity dream come true.

That the dramatis personae in that scenario, hearkened to the voice of wisdom, showed that truly, Edo is currently in a right hand and would hopefully transit to another capable hand.

For us, the news about the imminent fence mending reawakened our dampened spirit because it was not just about Oshiomhole and Odubu, but Obaseki-a man whose vision would consolidate and uplift the state.

It was this significance  inherent in the reconciliation, that got every Edo indigene interested even across party lines. Even most of my kinsmen in local government, who are known PDP foot soldiers attested to the goodness of the move which had further endeared the governor, his deputy and Obaseki to prospective voters.

Interestingly, the crisis brought out the discipline in those concerned and their supporters, as one hardly noticed any aspect of brinkmanship beyond familiar tirades.

That was quite unlike Nigeria’s political scene where leaders and followers throw caution to the wind during periods like that.

For those, who don’t know, the contestation was simply a political disagreement among like minds which interestingly brought to fore the actors’ commitment to internal democracy. Indeed, that is an important take away for politicians and their followers in the country.

In fact, the lessons imbued in it was better explained by Oshiomhole thus: ‘’ Some times when we joke, we don’t relate as boss- subordinate but as brothers. But we went through an electoral primary to celebrate internal democracy that distinguishes the APC from the rest. ‘’Pius and I fought many battles,  political battles as well as battles to reposition this government and together we can effortlessly point out what our stewardship accomplished for the benefit of the people of Edo. Which I believe necessarily formed the foundation for the electioneering campaign that is about to begin. Having worked so hard and related so closely, there is no question Pius and I in and outside government will remain friends and comrades.

‘’As part of my own atonement and to demonstrate my commitment to our friendship, some of the people who were affected in the cause of this contestation I have decided to reinstate them to their former positions. I believe that when a leader shows compassion and demonstrate spirit of forgiveness and calls his younger ones, pat them on the back and say ‘return home’, it is not a mark of weakness, it simply shows that we are ever conscious that as humans there are times to make mistakes and times to correct them. So I have taken those steps in the interest of our great party and my honesty of purpose. The primary has come and gone, we all knew that even if all twelve were angels, only one angel was required and, in choosing that one angel, no body requires to give reasons he preferred one angel to the other and that is simply what has played out in our party”.

Odubu’s position also provided more enlightenment in a society with a political culture that is far from being a model.  He said ‘’I am now back home. Yesterday belongs to the past and we have decided to put the past behind us. I want to reaffirm my commitment to APC and to each victory at all elections.”

The summary of the reconciliation narrative is that it further brightened the prospects of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the polls.

*Imokhuede, a teacher, writes from Ikpoba Okha, Edo State.