It was indeed a free and fair election in the recently concluded Edo Gubernatorial election as the people were allowed to peacefully perform their franchise without duress and sentiments.
The election before and after has erupted series of conversations from different political analysts on several media platforms , one of which was the viral video by the former Governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and also not forgetting the “Edo no be Lagos” theme.
Tunde Rahman, Former Editor, Thisday on Sunday and Media Advisor to Asiwaju Tinubu has technically expounded the nexus between his boss Asiwaju Tinubu and the recently concluded Edo election in his write up titled “Asiwaju Tinubu and Edo election.
According to him: The tension-soaked Edo governorship election may have been concluded with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announcing Governor Godwin Obaseki as the winner of the poll. However, one is not unmindful of the fact that the election may not have been completely over as it were. Obaseki’s main challenger, the All Progressives Congress candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, says he is still studying the result and consulting widely on his next line of action. This is within his sphere to do.
It is interesting that the Peoples Democratic Party, its candidate, Governor Obaseki, and the Chairman of the party’s Campaign Council for Edo, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, all of who had initially alleged the APC had perfected the rigging of the poll, suddenly turned round, after seeing the results being declared going its way, to say the election was now the best thing to have happened since Nigeria’s independence and that INEC had redeemed its seeming sullen image. Yet, this was the same Wike who had alleged that 300 policemen were deployed to restrict him to his hotel in Benin as part of APC’s plot to rig the election! Is there more the nation needs to know about that election?
Beyond that, however, there are a few remarkable things about the election. One, contrary to the expectation that that poll would be characterised by massive violence, we all have providence to thank for the fact that the election was devoid of any major incident, save for some skirmishes in some areas. The poll was largely peaceful. The peaceful election may have been helped by the heavy deployment of policemen. Reports had it that over 30,000 policemen aside from some men of the armed forces and officers of other para-military outfits were engaged for the election.
Also, the culture of debate seems to have been further cemented in our electoral process. Both Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu participated in a number of debates where they spoke about their manifestoes and their plans for the people of the state. It is instructive, however, that whereas both turned up for the Channels Television debate, Obaseki shunned the debate, tagged conversation, put together by ARISE Television to which he had earlier promised attendance.
Of particular note in the days leading to the poll is the broadcast by APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, where he urged Edo voters to shun Obaseki in the election because of his anti-democratic credential. The governor, it would be recalled, issued a proclamation inaugurating the state House of Assembly in an ungodly hour, paving the way for nine members to usurp the powers and responsibilities of a 24-member assembly. 14 majority members were shut out and all entreaties to Obaseki to allow room for them to be inaugurated fell on deaf ears. The opposition PDP and their agents made a heavy weather of Asiwaju’s video on social media.
Now, Asiwaju did not seek to dictate to the people of Edo. He was not out to oust their rights to chose by themselves. He understands so well that widely-held categorization of Edo people, as brilliantly captured by Columnist Segun Ayobolu last week, as “proud, dignified, industrious, culturally and historically self-conscious people not inclined to bowing before mere mortals”. Far from usurping their power to determine who should govern them, the broadcast was an appeal to the people borne of commitment to democratic principles, clear appreciation of the fundamental role of parliament in a democracy, adherence to the principle of separation of powers, and his irritation by the antic of Governor Obaseki against the 14 lawmakers. It was an appeal for the people to think about the democratic credentials of the candidates in casting their votes.
Obaseki’s anti-peace and reconciliation stance also came out in bold picture in the altercation between him and former APC Chairman and his estranged friend and leader, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. All appeals to Obaseki to toe the path of peace and allow room for settlement in the matter were arrogantly rebuffed. Asiwaju was in the forefront of some of these peace efforts. Others also intervened all to no avail. Eventually, one thing led to another and Obaseki, quite unfortunately, failed to scale through the APC screening. He eventually defected to the PDP. There is no evidence that the APC leader was part of that screening process or made input into it.
Indeed, those who quipped that Edo no be Lagos, apparently referring to former governor Akinwumi Ambode’s inability to secure a second term, got the context of the two scenarios wrong. Ambode scaled through his party’s screening exercise and participated fully in the direct primaries at which Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu emerged as the party’s candidate. Indeed, Asiwaju just like Oshiomhole had advocated direct primaries involving all registered members of the party in Edo State to deepen and strengthen the intra-party democratic process. It is on record that Obaseki vehemently canvassed indirect primaries to narrow the extent of membership participation in the primary had he successfully scaled the party’s screening exercise. It is ironical that in a post-election interview, the same Obaseki seeks to impugn Asiwaju and Oshiomhole’s democratic credentials.
With Obaseki firmly in PDP and the battle line drawn for the election, it would be foolhardy to not expect Asiwaju as a leader in the APC to work to advance the cause of his party and the party’s candidate. He is very much unlike some of the other so-called leaders and governors in the same party who paid lip service to party loyalty and ideals and who openly worked against their own party and candidate. In their perverse and illogical world, their party’s victory in Edo would amount to personal defeat for them all because of a blinding 2023 ambition. Those who know him would know that the former Lagos governor has remained consistent and constant in sticking out his neck for his party. For him, the party is supreme. Not one to jump political ship, his political trajectory would reveal he has kept faith with the progressive parties over the years. He invested quality time, energy and resources in the formation of APC and would not want to see it crumble. How ironic it is that some of his traducers have been those known to be hopping on political parties at the snap of a finger, including even the same Governor Obaseki?
Asiwaju’s political background is replete with his fight for the enthronement and entrenchment of democracy in the land even at the risk to his own life. In his first appearance in the Senate in 1992, he played a leading role in the resolution passed by that august body that the military must ensure it handed over to a democratically-elected president after the annulment of June 12 election. Such was his agitation against the military that on one occasion during the darkest days, his house was petrol-bombed by the agents of the military who thought he had been roasted inside. He managed to escape abroad on exile where he continued with the agitation for democracy in Nigeria.
The question can be asked as to who is more of a threat to democracy and democratic practice? The one who stalled all avenues for peace and conflict-resolution and who also later blocked attempts by 14 duly -elected lawmakers from assuming their constitutional seats and performing their responsibilities? Or the other whose only alleged offence is urging the people to enrich democracy by factoring in the anti-democracy backgrounds of the candidates in casting their ballots.
Neither in the days before the election, on Election Day, nor in the days after the Edo poll did Asiwaju step his foot on the soil of that state, contrary to what the evil merchants of fake and hate news would want to have us believe. Yet, the likes of Governors Wike, Aminu Tambuwal, Ifeanyi Okowa and former Anambra State governor Peter Obi were busy traversing the length and breadth of the state on the eve of the election. A few of them, including Governor Wike, were even on ground in Edo on Election Day. For the life of me, are these PDP leaders citizens of and voters in Edo?
Indeed, it must be pointed out clearly that beneath all the shenanigans that trailed Edo poll, underneath all of that rabble-rousing, rumour-mongering, campaign of calumny, character assassination, deceit and double-dealing is the matter of 2023. Rather than first helping their party solidify its stronghold and strengthen it for future elections and re-commit themselves to the party’s ideals and principles, the APC chieftains were tearing at the party’s fabric, destroying its foundation and preparing it for eventual disintegration in the name of playing politics of 2023. But like Asiwaju rightly observed, he is but a mere mortal who does not foresee tomorrow. What tomorrow holds, indeed what 2023 holds, is within the province of God Almighty.
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SANWO-OLU PRESENTS SCORECARD AT RE-ELECTION RALLY
…APC Flags Off Governorship Campaign In Lagos
A mammoth crowd of Lagos State residents, on Saturday, converged on Onikan – a cultured neighbourhood in the heart of Lagos Island – for an All Progressives Congress (APC) rally.
Clad in branded yellow shirts and Ankara brocade, the crowd dominated the city centre with pockets of political carnival. Thousands of ordinary citizens and party stalwarts trooped to Mobolaji Johnson Pavilion, the venue of the inaugural rally flagging off the party’s governorship campaign in Lagos.
The 10,000-capacity stadium brimmed with APC supporters. They carried banners and chanted slogans to receive the party chieftains and members of the Governorship Campaign Council.
APC standard bearer, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, made a grand entry into the venue, animating the crowd, which chorused: “Greater Lagos Rising” – the Governor’s re-election campaign slogan.
Reacting to the massive turnout, Sanwo-Olu said the vast attendance further confirmed the strength of APC as the only party of choice in Lagos.
The Governor mounted the rostrum to seek the mandate of Lagosians for another term in office, saying the “Greater Lagos” he promised at the inception of his government could now be visualised, given the achievements recorded during his first term.
Sanwo-Olu said the last three and half years had been challenging for his administration, pointing out that his Government traversed difficult terrains to deliver on its development objectives.
He said: “It has been an interesting and challenging journey for us in the last three and half years. Our administration has traversed difficult terrains and witnessed major disruption occasioned by global pandemic. Lagos had its fair share in the attendant socio-economic meltdown, but we provided strong leadership that protected the people and made the State come out better and stronger.
“Now, we can say ‘Greater Lagos Rising’ because our State is rising on all of our modest achievements through the THEMES agenda. In Transportation and Traffic Management, Lagosians are now living with the reality of the delivery of two intracity Rail Mass Transit projects that are on the verge of completion. These projects will be handed over in the coming weeks.
“We have also scaled up infrastructure in public transportation services by improving BRT services, injecting new taxi scheme and energizing traffic management agency for efficiency. People have seen the construction and commission of Lekki Deep Seaport, and massive road construction projects in the Eti Osa and Epe corridors. We have delivered and are still constructing more new roads in Ikorodu, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Alimosho, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Somolu and other areas.”
Sanwo-Olu said activities of his administration, since inception, had been about purposeful governance. He added that his Government had delivered new hospitals in Badagry, Epe, and Eti-Osa, pointing out that construction of new hospitals were currently being undertaken in Ikorodu, Ojo and Lagos Island.
In the environment, the Governor said the State was currently constructing 210 new drainage channels to address the issue of flooding in vulnerable communities. He said his Government had also raised the level of infrastructure in emergency response agencies, mentioning the recently completed four fire stations, recruitment of new fire fighters and provision of fire fighting equipment.
The Governor said: “Lagosians can testify to our feats in education. Over 1,000 new classrooms have been added to public schools and we completed over 1,097 projects in schools. We trained our teachers in modern teaching techniques through Eko EXCEL and handed over tablets to them for teaching. Overall performance of Lagos students in WAEC has improved from 42 per cent to over 83 per cent.”
Sanwo-Olu said there had been laudable progress recorded across his Government’s development blueprint, noting that the State had become a model for good governance and development.
The Governor thanked residents for standing by his administration, pledging that he would not take their support for granted.
He urged party members to take back the Government’s achievements back to their communities and engage in door-to-door campaign to ensure APC candidates are elected in the general elections.
Director General of Lagos APC Campaign Council, Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, said the party would have no problem taking its campaign to the electorate, given the “exceptional” performance of the party’s governorship candidate.
Solomon said the second coming of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat would bring the State to new heights of development and prosperity.
Leader of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), Prince Tajudeen Olusi, said: “The combination of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat are the best a democratic society can get in delivering results of good governance. Anyone who wants the development of Lagos to continue, Sanwo-Olu must be allowed to continue the good work he started.”
Sanwo-Olu, assisted by APC chairman, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi, presented flags to party candidates running for legislative seats in the House of Assembly and National Assembly.
Osun Tribunal Admits Adeleke’s Certificates as Exhibits
— As Oyetola, APC Close Case
The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday admitted in evidence the file with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) containing the secondary school certificate and testimonial of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the State.
This is just as the Petitioners, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC), closed the prosecution of the matter, leaving respondents to state their defence.
The admission of the documents followed the appearance of INEC representative, Mrs. Joan Arabs, who brought Adeleke’s original files containing the certificate he submitted to the Commission in 2018.
It will be recalled that during the last sitting of the panel, the Commission had submitted blank document as the secondary school certificate of the governor, a situation that compelled the panel to order that the original file be brought, and to threaten to invoke Coercive Power if it fails to do so.
At the resumed hearing of the petition on Saturday, Counsel for Oyetola, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the hearing for the day was basically meant for the appearance of INEC representative to produce the Adeleke’s file in line with the court order.
Counsel for INEC, in his response, said that INEC representative was already in court with the files containing a clearer and legible certificate and testimonial in question, saying he would be willing to apply for the return of the documents to INEC, when the tribunal is done looking at it.
After the production of the documents, the tribunal, while discharging the INEC official, said, “You can now go if you wish to. No policeman will accost you again.”
Subsequently, Oyetola’s counsel sought to tender the documents which contain form CFO01 and its attachments, including Adeleke’s credentials, saying the original file brought to court is a primary evidence and he was comfortable with it.
Counsel for INEC, Chief Henry Agunedo (SAN), said he would be objecting to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that the basis for the production of the whole file was because only two pages of the earlier-produced Certified True Copies were in contention, saying tendering the whole documents was out of place.
Counsel for Adeleke and PDP, Niyi Owolade and Alex Izinyon (SAN) respectively, said they have objection to the tendering of the said documents, but they would reserve their objections till final address stage.
Izinyon also observed that the only documents in contention were only two pages which are Adeleke’s certificate and testimonial, saying the CTC earlier produced has not been tendered before the court.
Responding, Fagbemi said the practice everywhere is that INEC can only apply and get back the files after the dispensation of the cases, saying, “We asked for CTC and now that they brought this. We are fine, we will take it”.
Ruling on the documents tendered, the tribunal led by Tertsea Kume admitted the credentials and the Adeleke’s nomination form as exhibit ‘FILE D’ and taken as read.
It was after the tribunal admitted the documents that Fagbemi informed the panel that he had decided to close his case, saying, “My Lord, we rest our case”.
When the tribunal asked INEC to open his defence, Chief Agunedo said, it would be difficult for him to open his case on Monday, saying non-availability of his witnesses would make it practically impossible.
The panel then asked the counsel to meet and agree on adjournment date after which Counsel for INEC briefed the panel the outcome of the meeting.
Subsequently, the tribunal adjourned the case till December 20 for the respondents to open their defence, saying the adjournment was based on another engagement by the tribunal somewhere else between 12th and 19th December 2022.
Earlier, Oyetola’s counsel had informed the panel that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had reverted the judgement of a Federal High Court which disqualified Oyetola from contesting the election.
Meanwhile, the outcome of the sitting excited the members of the APC who witnessed the hearing, as jubilations erupted after the sitting of the panel. They chanted songs to eulogise Oyetola and the APC.
TINUBU WON’T SUCCUMB TO ARISE NEWS BLACKMAIL
We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.
We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.
While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.
The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.
We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.
The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.
Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.
Director, Media & Publicity
APC Presidential Campaign Council
December 3, 2022
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