By Chima Amadi
What happened in Edo State yesterday has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE IMPEACHMENT OF OBASEKI. I am amused that people, including supposed experts,are getting the intendment and analysis of that impunity so wrong.
Put another way: NO ONE WANTS TO IMPEACH OBASEKI. What happened is more sinister. I will also tell you why the governor must do everything to make sure that they don’t succeed. What the Adams Oshiomhole zealots tried to do today is an inkling into what the Ize Iyamu, Adams and most of the APC establishment( there are those who really want this election to be free and fair) want to unleash on the hapless Edo people come September 19.The play for the leadership of the Edo House of Assembly is actually directly linked to.
The September 19 elections. Adams knows too well that a free and fair election will signal the death of his political life as the people are fully mobilized to teach him a lesson. But a clause in the Constitution of the Federal Republic presents Adams an opportunity tosurvive this assured political demise.
The Constitution demands that gubernatorial elections be held “not earlier than one hundred and fifty days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of that office.”
Understanding this Clause is the key to unraveling what happened yesterday in Edo state and the battle for the leadership of the State Assembly. Adams and his inner coterie know too well that by fixing the election on September 19, INEC is walking a very tight rope. If the election does not end on first ballot and if no clear winner emerges, there is no way INEC can effectively re-mobilize to conduct a run-off elections within two weeks until October 12th when the “not later 30 days” time frame in the Constitution elapses.
If this happens, then the Governor will have to hand over on November 12th to the Speaker of the House of Assembly who will then be the one in charge when the elections are conducted. This therefore means that whoever is the Acting Governor at that time will determine how incumbency is deployed to suit whichever candidate he/she supports.
By making a move to take over the leadership of the House, Adams has shown his hand and the strategy of the APC in Edo: ensure that the election does not end on September 19 or on first ballot by any means necessary. If this is the case, I predict here that the election Will be the bloodiest in living memory and the history of elections except something is done to stop it.
To achieve an inconclusive election,the APC only needs to ensure that there are lots of violence induced votes cancellations leading to the margin of lead being lesser than Cancelled votes to prevent INEC from making a valid return. Let me also predict that these cancellations will be in areas perceived to be controlled by the APC( Edo North) so that any re-runs will largely favor it. I will also make another prediction that a compromised security force will be used to prevent large voter turnout in areas controlled by the PDP while also trying to manipulate results that create an impression of a sustained competition in those areas.Given the role the police played in Imo,I will not be surprised if they contrive their own “results sheets” which gives the APC the edge.
However, I am aware that INEC is countering this move by setting up a process of direct uploading of polling unit results sheets in real time on a website that is accessible to the entire world. I am also aware that the results Sheets now have sophisticated security checks that make them very difficult to counterfeit like the police allegedly did in Imo to foist Hope Uzodinma as Governor.
Given this reality, the Obaseki team must now do whatever it takes to ensure that the leadership of the House does not change while working extra hard to make sure that the election ends on first ballot. This they can do by mobilizing the Edo people to turnout en masse and to not only show vigilance but be prepared to defend their votes to the very end.
As for the security agencies, especially the police, they must be told in very clear terms that the people will resist any attempt to give them a fait accompli. Happily, the show of solidarity with the governor in yesterday’s events must have sent a signal to the police on the Edo people’s readiness to take no prisoners in defending their mandate. I am also happy that the President seems to want to ensure that only the will of the people as expressed through the ballot will be the acceptable minimum.
My sources tell me that the president has read a riot act to the security operatives to call it straight through the middle with a stern warning that anything to the contrary would be decisively dealt with. However, will President Buhari follow through with this tough talk? He proved in Anambra’s election in 2017 that he can walk the talk when he wants to, but will he this time? Or will he allow the hawks in his government to sustain the assault on our democratic pillars? We shall know in the coming days.
By Chima Amadi, a current affairs analysts, published through his Twitter handle @Mazigburugburu1