While the Heart Beat State, Edo prepares for the July 14 governorship election, there appears to be a high wave of uncertainty and tension in the air. About three weeks ago, three journalists died in the convoy of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
while the state is just piecing itself together, it was hit by the brutal murder of the Personal Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olaitan Ojerinde, who was buried just this Thursday in Osun State. Painful as the deaths are, they have become objects of politics between the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the party in power and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, its strongest opposition. While the ACN holds that there were plots to kill Oshiomhole and cause mayhem in Edo, the PDP argues that it has no business with the deaths. CAJETAN MMUTA writes from Benin that the arguments have only added fuel to a raging fire.
With just less than three months to the scheduled July 14 governorship election in Edo State by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the political firmament, no doubt, is filled with uncertainties.
The people are daily buffeted with promises of what is to come their way before, during and after the end of the contest. Indeed, the forces behind the key actors of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Progressive Peoples Party, PPP, appear unrelenting in their quest.
The target here is to make the best of attraction for their respective candidates to take the vantage position as the campaigns reach the crescendo of all known strategies and messages of the mission and vision of the candidates, both real and imaginary with the aim to convincing the electorate in deciding where their conscience should go this time through their vote cast into the ballot boxes at the epic battle.
Indeed, the messages, direction of thoughts and actions are becoming clearer with each passing day as events continue to unfold. No doubt, too, the foot soldiers, both of moral and crude mien, are not left out in the preparation for the big game. The core focus however is the soul of the Dennis Osadebay Avenue Government House.
Already, the incumbent Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the candidate of the ACN with his men are not allowing anything to chance in an the bid to stretch the PDP candidate Charles Airhiavbere and Chief Solomon Edebiri of the PPP, to take over the mantle of leadership of the Heart Beat state. Oshiomhole, it is evident, hopes to mount the hot seat for a second term of four years to complete all that he feels have not been completed or done while his rivals are bent at rewriting the history to give true direction to what they see as has not been started and done well at all.
It's all about one's dreams and who can alter such an ego when God has not said no? Everyone is a master of his fate whether by divine or ephemeral design and occurrence.
All is right to one's wish if the people can best get that which will give them peace and add smile to faces of their present and future lives from it. Many had tested this quest to giving hope to the people at different levels with ease of success while others fell off with many bruises and some with little complaints. What is most important of all is doing well in whatever that is worth doing. But no one has ever done anything well in the life a people, especially, the society today and that has continued to elicit fierce battle and rivalry that often times, left the unsuspecting electorate with aching regrets and pains.
That paints the scenario Edo people are being pushed with the hurling of political stones from the various camps in the quest to providing them with succor and no one ever likes eating what will send him or her to the great beyond no matter how tasty or sweet as the case may be. The people are witnesses in the past three weeks to the raging verbal political assaults between the ruling ACN and opposition PDP. You have no reason to beg for this writer's points of reference but they abound either for personal or
We have our aults. The political mudslinging, backbiting, propaganda, name calling and character assassination are all instructive. Recently, one was tempted to tearful questions about the callousness of human mind and fate when at the church service organized by the Edo state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on last week in honour of the late Olatunji Jacob, George Okosun, the reporter and cameraman respectively of the Independent Television and Radio (ITV), a private media organization and late Fidelis Onani of the African Independent Television, also a private outfit based in the state.
The three died in a road mishap in the convoy of Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Also remembered during the ceremony was the late Chukwudi Ogu, a staff camera man with the ITV who was gruesomely and mistakenly assassinated three weeks ago by gunmen in the state capital. The challenges and hazards of the journalism profession were brought to the fore as the bold framed pictures of the four journalists lay unshaken with ripping questions of such irreparable losses to their families, management, friends and colleagues, the home states and the nation.
The trio of late Jacob, George and Fidelis had died in a ghastly auto crash involving the press crew bus attached to the convoy of the state governor along Auchi-Warrake single lane route on Saturday while returning back to Benin City after the campaign flag off of the ACN at Afuze in Owan East council area of the state. About eight others, including the driver of the ill-fated bus sustained injuries and have been receiving treatment in various hospitals in the state.
Of course, there has been so much anger and lamentations by the distraught relations of the dead about the wasteful manner their future ones had died. In fact, the question remained "who will save the media practitioners in Nigeria looking at what they pass through on daily basis ? At the moment, the matter has been turned into buck passing between chieftains of the ACN and the PDP and the state has suddenly turned to where ghosts are threatening the life everyone both relevant and imaginary in sight. More worrisome is that those who ordinarily, should be hunted are out to hunt anybody who dares say the truth about what indeed led to the carnage.
Who will say it? Who will tell Mr. Governor that one basic and inevitable necessity in any hospital or for such campaign train as took place in Afuze before the ugly incident is the availability of an ambulance for emergencies? But who, in the face of hundreds of special advisers, senior and special assistants, will dare advise any chief executive or presumed chief that when a convoy makes races, there is need to slow down when passing the haphazardly constructed lane harbouring the houses of those who want to know it is their own that is passing their way? Such reckless and carelessness often leave security operatives and accompanying government officials that matter for uncoordinated journeys with possible danger that can lead to death and at times risk of mounting uncertainties.
Today, there will not be another Olatunji Jacob, George Okosun and Fidelis Ohani. The dead have left their loved ones, particularly aging Earents who they (dead) would ave buried and little children who suddenly have become fatherless as well as their widows at the risk of much risk of heart aches, anguish of hopes dashed and promises unaccomplished.
Sadly too, deaths as these have always been visited with showers of oratory praises of dying in line of duty as great men, patriots, fire brands and such other sugar coated components. The accusations and counter accusations between Oshiomhole and the rival PDP, goes on while hastily organized church services by the government have been held and threats of legal battle by the PDP are also ongoing.
Issues of alcohol or drugs, drivers license, over speeding, assassination plot using the lorry and the ongoing police investigations are parts of the challenges of our seemingly growing democracy. Whether we will get to a point of real truth of the matter and what follows it remains a theory for tomorrow. Nigerians have had similar encounter in the name of politics before now and is still being experienced and experimented till today.
Two wrongs cannot make a right. Whether Oshiomhole, PDP or PPP, Edo State is one and the forthcoming election is very much around for good as well as crucial and the contenders as sportsmen must embrace it as a challenge towards rebuilding the ruins of the state for a better society.
There are multiples of issues of abandoned industries begging for little funds for revival, erosion menace, roads not yet attended to, hospitals not well equipped and several others yawning gaps in some sectors in the state. It beholds the various parties and members to embrace the wisdom box for necessary and expected hitch free, fair and credible governorship election.
The raging onslaught by the members of the Boko Haram sect is enough pain to many. It will elicit worse harm in the psyche of both relations of the dead and management of the organizations they served before their untimely exit, contending political parties and mourning journalists where caution is thrown to the wind by all those concerned with a petty and uncanny resort to shadow chasing and trivializing issues in the name of politics.
In addition, the sad event of Saturday April 28th, 2012 should serve as a hard lesson to both the agents of government, the media practitioners and all stakeholders if ever we learn lessons when it is necessary.