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Oshiomhole, Uzodimma, Ganduje: Caution Against Provoking the Edo Esan People; Let Edo State Remain Peaceful, Tinubu Has Enough Challenges

Feature Article Oshiomhole, Uzodimma, Ganduje: Caution Against Provoking the Edo Esan People; Let Edo State Remain Peaceful, Tinubu Has Enough Challenges
FEB 22, 2024 LISTEN

Amidst a whirlwind of events, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) recently declared the Governorship Primary Election in Edo State inconclusive. This pivotal decision, reached after a late-night emergency meeting on Tuesday, signifies a critical juncture in the state's political landscape, set to culminate in the completion of the primary election process on Thursday, February 22, 2024.

Amidst these unfolding events, the spotlight is firmly fixed on notable figures such as Senator Adams Oshiomhole, the former governor of Edo State; Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, appointed as Chairman of the State Electoral Committee; and the National APC Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje. Every move and decision they make is now under intense scrutiny, particularly within the watchful eyes of the Esan people of Edo State. Moreover, the leadership dynamics within the APC come under scrutiny, with Abdullahi Ganduje emerging as a central figure. It appears that the pervasive psychology of powerful or one-man rule mentality, exemplified by Oshiomhole and encouraged by Uzodimma, may have exerted undue sway over Ganduje's actions. The gravitational pull of individual ambition threatens to overshadow the collective will of the party, fracturing its unity and eroding public trust.

At the heart of the matter lies the contentious issue of alleged imposition within the APC ranks, with Oshiomhole purportedly championing the candidacy of Rep Dennis Idahosa, hailing from Edo South, as the party's gubernatorial nominee. Yet, this maneuver is met with vehement resistance from dissenting party members, who vehemently argue that such imposition strikes at the core of democratic principles, portending potential internal strife and electoral setbacks for the party.

The discontent within the APC ranks is palpable, fueled by perceptions of overlooked internal agreements, opaque candidate selection procedures, and apprehensions regarding Oshiomhole's perceived autocratic leadership style. These simmering grievances threaten to fracture party unity and erode its electoral viability, casting a shadow over its prospects in the upcoming gubernatorial race.

In treading through these stormy waters, it's crucial for all players, including Oshiomhole, Uzodimma, and Ganduje, to proceed with caution and, dare I say, a touch of common sense. The tranquility of Edo State hangs by a thread, and any misstep risks turning the situation into a full-blown circus. Furthermore, amidst this chaotic backdrop, it's high time everyone remembered that the well-being of the state and its citizens should outweigh any petty political squabbles or personal ambitions.

Adding to the spectacle is the comical confusion over the primary election winner. Governor Hope Uzodimma, in his role as the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, made a grand proclamation, declaring Dennis Idahosa as the champion. Meanwhile, Stanley Ugboaja, the state's returning officer, had a different script, crowning Monday Okpebholo as the true victor. It's like a scene straight out of a slapstick comedy—whose word should we take more seriously, the ceremonial committee head or the state's returning officer? This mismatch only adds another layer of absurdity to an already farcical situation.

And let's not forget the antics of Oshiomhole, Uzodimma, and Ganduje—especially Oshiomhole, who likely whispered sweet nothings into Uzodimma's ear, leading him to pull a winner out of thin air. As for Ganduje, sending his premature congratulations was the cherry on top of this comedy of errors. It's safe to say they've all made quite a spectacle of themselves.

President Bola Tinubu, too, looms large in this unfolding drama, grappling with his own array of challenges. As such, the imperative for prudence and moderation cannot be overstated. Let Edo State remain a bastion of tranquility, untainted by the flames of political discord. The Edo Esan people have endured enough tumult; now is the time for statesmanship and reconciliation, ensuring that the democratic process unfolds smoothly and in accordance with the will of the people.

Amidst the tumult of the APC governorship primary election in Edo State, a cacophony of conflicting declarations has enveloped the political landscape, further muddling an already convoluted situation. With multiple candidates vying for the party's ticket and demanding a Certificate of Return, the specter of uncertainty looms large, casting a pall over the electoral process.

Indeed, while eschewing definitive predictions about the future victor in September's gubernatorial race, one cannot ignore the palpable impact of Oshiomhole's overbearing influence within the APC. His penchant for unilateral decision-making, epitomized by his dictatorial approach, has inflicted lasting damage and undermined the party's electoral prospects. The irony is stark: Oshiomhole, once a vocal critic of undue political influence, now finds himself ensnared in the very web he once denounced.

The controversy surrounding the announcement of the primary election winner further compounds the crisis, as divergent declarations from the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Governor Uzodimma, and the state's chief electoral returning officer, Stanley Ugboaja, sow seeds of doubt and discord. In the absence of consensus, questions arise regarding the validity and legitimacy of each pronouncement, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the electoral process.

Despite reports of violence and electoral malpractice, Ganduje'shasty issuance of a congratulatory message to Dennis Idahosa, purported winner of the primary election, disregards the concerns raised by the state's electoral returning officer. Senator Monday Okpebholo's assertion of victory, supported by a majority of votes from local government areas, underscores the need for adherence to due process and democratic norms.

In this crucible of political intrigue and machination, the fate of Edo State hangs in the balance. The integrity of its electoral process must be safeguarded at all costs, lest the specter of chaos and disenfranchisement descend upon its people. Now more than ever, the voices of reason and moderation must prevail, steering the ship of state away from the precipice of turmoil. The Edo Esan people demand accountability, transparency, and respect for their democratic rights. Let their voices be heard, and let justice prevail.

The premature congratulatory message and failure to adhere to basic democratic principles have now backfired on the APC leadership. Instead of jumping to issue congratulations, a more prudent approach would have been to address the discrepancies and ensure a fair and transparent primary process. It is evident that the one-man rule mentality has led to hasty decisions and undermined the integrity of the electoral process.

Now, in an impromptu and nervous manner, the party finds itself starting over, facing the consequences of its actions. This serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of allowing one-man rule mentality to dictate party decisions, and the importance of upholding democratic values and principles at all times.

With accusations leveled at Oshiomhole and Uzodimma, many party members and political observers blame Oshiomhole for pushing Idahosa's candidacy and criticize Uzodimma for announcing Idahosa as the candidate amidst the chaos. Ganduje's congratulatory message has now backfired, raising questions about the validity of such declarations when the party's returning officer did not confirm the results.

The prevailing sentiment among the Esan people is one of vigilance and insistence on fair and transparent political processes. In the face of violence and other challenges, it is imperative for party leaders like Ganduje to navigate these tumultuous waters with resilience and integrity. Ganduje'scommendation of Idahosa despite the chaotic circumstances underscores the need for steadfast leadership in upholding democratic values amidst adversity.

In considering the importance of regional representation, it becomes paramount to ensure a balanced candidacy in the forthcoming gubernatorial race of Edo State. Governor Obaseki's affiliation with Edo South and Oshiomhole's ties to Edo North underscore the need for equitable representation. It follows then that endorsing the current front runner, AsueIghodalo, as the PDP gubernatorial candidate would foster a sense of fairness. Similarly, Senator Monday Okpebholo'semergence as the top contender in the APC primaries warrants his candidacy for the APC gubernatorial slot.

However, suspicions loom regarding Governor Obaseki's potential influence over the entire PDP faction in favor of Ighodalo. While some laud his political acumen, others caution against the monopolization of support, emphasizing the importance of open competition. Oshiomhole's purported efforts to impose Idahosa, particularly given his Edo South background, raise further questions. Moreover, the absence of representation from Edo Central, despite Okpebholo's victory in the APC primary, adds fuel to the debate, casting doubts on the democratic integrity of the process.

The recent history of discord between Governor Obaseki and Oshiomhole, coupled with the brewing tensions within the APC and PDP factions, highlights the precariousness of the current situation. Oshiomhole's apparent friction with both parties underscores the need for caution, particularly given the involvement of the Esan people in the unfolding political dynamics.

Furthermore, against the backdrop of Nigeria's profound economic crisis, exacerbated by factors like widespread poverty, inflation, and societal unrest, it behooves President Tinubu, as the APC's overall leader, to caution figures like Oshiomhole, Uzodimma, and Ganduje against exacerbating political tensions. In such tumultuous times, the imperative for responsible leadership cannot be overstated.

Ultimately, it is imperative that the upcoming gubernatorial race in Edo State embodies a commitment to democratic principles and equitable representation across all senatorial districts. By allowing candidates from diverse backgrounds to vie for office based on their merits, rather than political maneuvering or imposition, the electoral process can truly reflect the will of the people and contribute to a more robust democracy in Edo State.

Amidst the recent political turbulence surrounding the Edo APC primaries, it is imperative to construct a narrative deeply entrenched in ethical, moral, and God-fearing principles. The unwavering resolve of the Edo Esan people against political injustice stands as a beacon of hope for upholding democratic values. Let us come together in our pledge to thwart violence and political malfeasance, steadfast in our commitment to the principles of unity, democracy, and justice. Only through collective resilience and unwavering adherence to ethical standards can we pave the path for a brighter, more inclusive future for Edo State and Nigeria as a whole.

The psychology of grasping power through any means necessary, as echoed in the words of President Bola Tinubu, may find little traction in the historical essence of the Edo Esan people. Their determination to defend their land, people, and dignity transcends the manipulations of federal might or political machinations. Despite potential involvement from high-ranking officials, including Governor Uzodinma and former governor Oshiomhole, the Esan people's historical tradition of resistance remains steadfast.

The chaotic disruption of the result collation process during the Edo APC governorship primary by suspected political thugs is deeply alarming. Despite the presence of law enforcement, represented by the state Commissioner of Police, FunshoAdeboye, the thugs' actions underscore a blatant disregard for democratic procedures. Amidst this chaos, the premature congratulatory message issued by figures like Ganduje further exacerbates the erosion of democratic values.

Any endeavor to wield federal influence to sway the final gubernatorial election in Edo State will be met with resolute opposition from the Esan people. Under Governor Godwin Obaseki's stewardship, they have exemplified a dedication to integrity and fairness in their electoral processes, rendering manipulation or imposition a risky proposition. The nation's scrutiny falls squarely on INEC and the judiciary, cautioning against any attempts to undermine democratic rights or manipulate the electoral process for political ends.

It was not too distant a memory, as recent as 2020 and extending into last year, that Governor Obaseki found himself at odds with Adams Oshiomhole, with tensions reaching a point where the governor threatened to apprehend him. Now, it appears that Oshiomhole has antagonized not only the PDP but also members of the APC within the state. This precarious situation arises because both factions in Edo State, PDP and APC alike, are turning their backs on Oshiomhole. He must tread cautiously, particularly given the involvement of the Esans in the current political landscape.

Furthermore, amidst the profound economic crisis facing Nigeria, exacerbated by a multitude of factors including widespread economic downturn, hunger, inflation, and national frustration, it is incumbent upon President Tinubu, as the APC's overarching leader in these challenging times, to caution individuals like Oshiomhole, Uzodimma, and Ganduje.

Senator Adams Oshiomhole, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor Hope Uzodimma, and even President Bola Tinubu himself, must acknowledge the indomitable spirit of the Esan Edo people. Galvanized by their storied frontier traditions, they stand ready to resist any form of imposition. Let genuine candidates, chosen by the electorate, ascend to power—not those forced upon them.

From a democratic standpoint, I advocate for the participation of party members in a transparent and inclusive candidate selection process. This ensures that the selected candidate genuinely reflects the will of the party membership.

Moreover, the prevailing prediction suggests that notwithstanding these perilous maneuvers and attempts to leverage federal power, figures like Adams Oshiomhole, Uzodimma, and Abdullahi Ganduje, particularly, will ultimately falter. Oshiomhole's machinations and the unified strength of the Esan men, Asue Ighodalo of PDP vs Monday Okpebholo of APC, notably from Edo Central, are poised to emerge as the final contenders. May the most deserving prevail through a genuine election process, rather than what some may describe as mere selection.

The unwavering commitment of the people to democratic principles stands firm. Oshiomhole will agree that resorting to violence or manipulation in Edo State is not an option; instead, he must allow the democratic process to unfold naturally. The era of political godfatherism is fading rapidly, and it's crucial for him to acknowledge this reality and respect the will of the people.

President Tinubu, it's noteworthy that Oshiomhole may try to portray you as a champion of free and fair primaries while conveniently ignoring the issue of zoning. While such principles are essential in democratic societies, let's not forget your vocal support for zoning when it suited your own interests. President Tinubu, you surely recall the Yoruba phrase 'Emi Lokan' (meaning 'it's my turn'). Uzodimma's premature declaration of primary winners, seemingly under Oshiomhole's influence, disregarding the rules of tallying all votes by the state's returning officer, reflects a mindset of seizing power by any means necessary.

This resonates with President Bola Tinubu's assertion that political power is not simply handed over but must be actively pursued. Such power games motivated by self-interest are destined to fail in Edo Esan, as both the APC and PDP will fiercely compete to ensure that democratic values triumph over any one-person dominance. With Asue Ighodalo representing the PDP and Monday Okpebholo in the fray, Oshiomhole and his cohorts must confront this reality. Enough is enough; while the Edo Esan people are staunch champions of democracy, their frontier tradition dictates that they will fiercely defend their causes. Caution must be exercised moving forward.

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Prof John Egbeazien Oshodi

Professor John Egbeazien Oshodi, born in Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria, is an American-based police and prison scientist, forensic psychologist, and legal psychologist. He’s a government advisor on forensic-clinical psychological services in the USA and the founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation for Psychological Health. With a significant role in introducing forensic psychology to Nigeria through N.U.C. and Nasarawa State University, he’s also a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. He’s taught at esteemed institutions like Florida Memorial University, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, and more, and is currently an online faculty member at WeldiosUniversity, Nexus International University, and Walden University. [email protected]

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