• Tony Igele

Obligations Beyond Edo election Tribunal

THERE should be an elevation of the collective societal aspiration above and beyond narrow contemplations when issues of grave consequence to the lives and survival of a considerable population arise in a polity. Such is the case in examining the verdict of the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal as the citizenry would now envisage a final settlement to the issue of the 2016 governorship election.

It should therefore be morally and journalistically liberating to pierce through the political iron curtain and the diversionary theatrics in every action and analysis that is related to the Edo election-it should be imperative to deliver incontestable evidence and unvarnished truths for the actualisation of the genuine political yearnings and economic well-being of the people. Every credible survey and study legitimizes the overwhelming inclination and anxiety of the citizenry for acceleration of Edo State on the road for 21st Century accomplishments; there’s hardly any support in the geo-political entity for perpetual stagnation in the quagmire of electoral disputes, especially where such litigious adventure has been adjudged to be irredeemably vacuous even in rudimentary merits.

In the matter of Edo State governorship election, it is now the case that the meditative thumbprints of the electorate on September 28th was contemplatively and providentially inspired, the proposition of the people was in synchronism with the disposition of God-nothing, not even another round of circus in the guise of appeal with more gyration and dramatic pretence before the Supreme Court will alter the destiny that was manifested on the September 28th.

It takes courage of character and corolla of altruism for politicians to tell their supporters the painful truth when they face humiliating defeat in elections and to accept the fact of their unpopularity with the voters. It is also morally and psychologically deleterious to continuously offer the dope of hope to one’s supporters, to drag them along on a journey stepped in catastrophic inevitability with the sermon of a prospect of ultimate victory. The irreversible truth is that there is no road to redemption for Ize-Iyamu’s PDP against Governor Obaseki of APC in the instant case. The dignified lordships of Edo State Election Petition Tribunal soundly and articulately delivered that message on April 14th, a date that was coincidentally and piously symbolic being ‘Good Friday’.

Of course, any worthy leader should and must seek to defend the sacredness of the votes of his or her supporters through legal process if the political arena fails. But the underscored word here is ‘votes’, actual votes, not fictionalised outcomes or fabricated results. Unfortunately, real votes and concrete evidence are exactly the gravamen that the PDP petition mournfully lacked in the tribunal proceedings.

It should be stated for historical clarity that the PDP had from the onset, ever before it rushed to the tribunal, seemed to have maintained the mind set of ‘bullying ‘ and manipulating its way to victory. The chronicle of the historic September 28th 2016 election should remain indelible even in the face of surreptitious attempts to twist and taint the authentic narrative of the event. It must also be recalled that the PDP engaged in a most repugnant conduct of political desperation on the day of election.

Realising that the party was sinking rapidly at the polls, Ize-Iyamu’s campaign office swung into dissemination of totally fabricated results long before counting and collation began in some units and wards-the material broadcast on the internet were a series of concocted figures described as results gathered from various local government areas. While a political campaign office could engage in such odious recklessness, the sacred arena of an election tribunal unfortunately demands different and higher standards –the temple of justice was going to require concrete evidence to rule in favour of the petitioner.

Could it be that the PDP approached the tribunal with the same delusive frame and unfounded results and evidence that it disseminated on September 28th? Would it be any wonder that the three member tribunal unanimously and unequivocally dismissed Ize-Iyamu’s petition for patently lacking merit? The tone of their lordships in throwing out the petition was in the equivalence of calling the PDP application vexatious. The tribunal is not a magic castle or a circus theatre, so why would the PDP have expected any favourable outcome when its own (PDP) pleadings and entire case was so deficient in facts and law.

For instance, despite the boisterous promise that the party had about 100 witnesses to testify on matters of non-compliance in the 2,627 polling units in the state, only 27 of the witnesses from the vaunted roll eventually qualified. About 70 other so-called witnesses were not even polling agents and, consequently, cannot offer direct testimony in the matter.

From Akoko Edo to Etsako and from Igueben to Ikpoba Okha and Orhiomwon local government areas and several electorally fertile locations in between, the PDP spectacularly failed to present any witnesses to substantiate the allegation of irregularities. Can it, therefore, be true that Ize-Iyamu intends to proceed to the appeal court with a case dangling so lifelessly from evidential anemia and hemorrhaged of legal nutrients?

Governor Obaseki spoke the minds of overwhelming population of Edo people by describing the verdict of the tribunal as ‘’ a resounding victory for the electorate and the whole of the Edo citizenry irrespective of their political affliations’’. While Ize-Iyamu and the PDP are apparently busy preparing new scripts for another round of diversionary drama and obstacles to derail the train of progress, the governor is reportedly reviewing the strategic blueprint for agriculture and agribusiness revolution for imminent launch. There’s a difference with distinction between both political parties, one is the party of obstruction, the other a party of progress, another round of electioneering will come, and History will have consequence.

In tandem with acceleration in the area of agriculture, the unprecedented rehabilitation of inner city roads that have been untouched for upwards of 10 years, Governor Obaseki is synchronizing strategies to fulfill the agenda of 200,000 jobs and general improvement in the life of the people. Edo people massively and justifiably celebrated the verdict on April14th the same way they did on 28th and 29th September 2016 following the governorship election-they are envisaging the prospects of the dividends of democratic governance with a vision for Obaseki’s potential contribution to Edo’s economic history in the first half of the 21st Century.

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