Even though the Edo Gubernatorial election was postponed from for about two weeks, it appears not much changed within the period in terms of its outcome. Epistemologically speaking, we saw a titanic battle between People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and All progressives Congress (APC)’s Mr Godwin Obaseki. While for the purpose of analysis, we may reduce the contest to both individuals and parties, ontologically speaking, the contest is between two hegemonies- one old, the other new or emerging!
Some weeks to the election, a former governor of the state, Chief Lucky Igbinedion told the world that Adams Oshiomhole’s successor will come from his political family. Igbinedion was not the only one in this. In his camp, there are formidable political leaders like: Chief Tony Anenih and Chief Tom Ikimi who in themselves are political institutions anyone seeking to make headway in Edo politics will ignore at his or her own peril. These men has made or marred political ambitions of persons or groups in the state. It is these same men that the emerging hegemony of Oshiomhole is coming up against!
In response to the threats from the old political order, Oshimhole replied that he was aware that the combined forces of the former governor and old guards had been “in pains” since he became governor in 2008 because his administration had defeated politicians who had claimed to be political godfathers in the state. If there is anything Oshiomhole has done well, it is his breaking of the old hegemony to establish a new one.
After the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared his “anointed” candidate winner of the election, the governor spoke of the implications of the result. He said: “There is something unique in the way things have turn out. In Esan land, the senatorial zone of the PDP godfather, we won two out of the five local governments. We gave him a fight that he manages to escape. He used the factor of his age to play on the emotion of the people. It is a victory for the people of the state. Edo people are now proud they can now determine who rule them and no one godfathers can choose a leader for them. When you look at the propaganda, you will think we have fallen for the lion but they failed.”
From what I have observed from the campaigns, the foot soldiers of both camps are only interested in extending or spreading their master’s ideas, not necessarily those of the candidates they support. While PDP supporters struggled to convince voters of their performance in the earlier eight years spent in Osadebey Avenue with Lucky Igbenedion in power, APC supporters saw it as a battle to strengthen Adams Oshiomhole’s hold onto power. This was why the election looked fierce, especially on social media.
Speaking of social media and its influence on the election, it appears some politicians erroneously overestimated what it can do for them.
On daily basis, a log on to Facebook will expose one to an invasion of messages like “We are winning this election. (Party A) is dead and buried in Edo states.”
As at 12 noon on the election days, someone sat in the comfort of his office in Ado-Ekiti and started posting “results” on Facebook. I still wonder where this man got his results from if not from the fragments of his imaginations!
That will lead me to my next point: Insults don’t win arguments; propaganda can never win a war. Let us be quick to admit the obvious: For the 2016 Edo election, both parties made little effort to talk about policies and programs.
The APC often struggled to convince the electorate of its ability to deliver on key issues such as infrastructural development, free education, security, taxations or good governance. The PDP candidate’s positioning as a more “repentant” person has been watered-down by the perceived failure of its 10-year reign in the state.
The fact that the Governor speaks at campaign rallies more than the APC candidate himself makes it look more like it is contest between the governor and the old political forces in the state hence creating an “Emperor” outlook. The extents of insults and in some cases flimsy excuses are just too puerile for any reasonable mention. This is the price to pay by fighting proxy wars (wars of hegemony)!
Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.