Campaigners should be mindful of the future, writes Josef Omorotionmwan
Authorities in the New Christiandom have been busy getting their members to ascribe less powers to Satan and his works. Naturally, every life has its ups and downs. We all make mistakes sometimes. Those who think that the devil is responsible for everything that happens to them on the down side of life – the devil is a liar, the devil is at work again; the devil is under my foot; and all that, will end up giving the devil all the powers that he does not have. Rather than seek amends for their mistakes, such people would be dwelling on the devil’s majesty.
Inadvertently, these soon become the devils advocates actually promoting his powers on earth. The human instinct works in a way that is difficult to understand. It is enveloped in curiosity. In the telling paragraphs of the Holy Book, we saw how, at creation, there was the Garden of Eden – a big place full of different trees and fruits. It was home to Adam and Eve.
Out of all these trees and fruits, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruits of a particular tree. Human curiosity, being what it has always been, no sooner did God turn his back on them than they pounced on the forbidden fruits, so called. That’s human nature. Chances are that if God had not expressly asked them not to eat the fruits, they would have passed it unnoticed, talk less eating it.
In Nigerian politics and electioneering campaigns, this has always played out in a way that people end up campaigning for their opponents, abeit unintentionally.
Enter the Obedient Movement. As I write this on November 11, 2022, we are watching how Benin City, the Edo State Capital, was let loose because of the campaigns of Peter Obi and his Labour Party.
It started this way: Obi had wanted to use the Ogbemudia Stadium for his campaign. The request was denied. Besides, the authorities in Edo State went ahead to block him from all possible venues.
The Obedients took the fight to integrity. They finally got a suitable venue at the Baptist Convention Grounds at Oliha Quarters. This is one campaign team that has painted Benin City red.
The Obaseki gang must be biting their fingers for the type of popularity they have unintentionally brought on the Obedients! Who is Obi man that has suddenly become the Messiah we have been waiting for? Why is he being treated like this? These are some of the questions that have been agitating the mind of Edolites.
To them, the day became a public holiday. Schools, offices and markets were closed – all for Obi. As early as 8:00am, the Oba Ovoramwen Square was already clogged up with people.
At about 5:00pm, the visitors arrived after visiting Auchi in the Edo North and Uromi in Edo Central; and headed straight to the Palace of the Oba of Benin. As soon as they finished with His Imperial Majesty, the surging crowd moved to the campaign grounds, about one kilometer away.
Today’s crowd was reminiscent of what we saw at the Ikpoba Hill axis of the city on 11th November, 2008 – the day Comrade Adams Aliye Oshiomhole regained his stolen mandate at the Appeal Courts!
Today, admirers lined up the route between Oba’s Palace and the Baptist Convention Grounds. People who could not get close enough to touch Obi were stoning him with Naira notes, no thanks to man’s inhumanity to man! Whatever happened here today cannot be debited to the PDP because this stone is still rolling!
The more things change, the more they remain the same. We have seen this before. In the Pre-Independence era, the politics in Nigeria was local – the NPC was in the North; the NCNC was in the Eastern Region and the AG was in the West. This was the basis on which late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was told that he dared not come to Eastern Nigeria to campaign during the 1979 Pre-Independence Election Campaigns. He broke the jinx. At about 11:00am that fateful day, we were in the class at Onitsha when the skies suddenly became dark. Awo and his AG had arrived in Onitsha in their helicopters and they were dumping campaign materials on every part of the town. Markets, offices and schools burst loose and everybody came out to scramble for everything. It was happening simultaneously in all major cities across the region.
That was how Chief Awolowo took his campaigns beyond the borders of the Western Region into the very hearts of the Eastern and Northern Regions. And that was how this AG began to attract a national coloration to itself.
In all this, jaw-jaw is better than war-war. Politicians are quick to forget that there is life after election. In whatever position you find yourself, use it to make friends, not enemies.
Nigerian politics is like living in a glass house. You should try not to throw stones but if you must throw stones let them not be too hard. All roads lead to Igbanke: Evidently, what goes around, comes around. If you are embarked on a journey from Uromi to Igbanke and act Ebelle, you miss your way: Instead of going straight towards Ekpon, you find yourself going right towards Ogwa, don’t worry. When you get to Ogwa, you are less than one kilometre to Amahor and that road takes you to Igbanke! That’s the nature of Nigerian politics.
The 2016 Gubernatorial Contest in Edo State was between Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu (POI) of the PDP at that time and Godwin Enogheghase Obaseki (GEO) of the APC. The campaigns, particularly from the APC side, were conducted as if there was no tomorrow.
The contest for 2020 was also between the duo but by this time, the candidates had switched parties. The PDP was smart. They wasted no money preparing any campaign jingles. All the invectives the APC poured on POI in 2016 were what they played back in 2020 and they worked! What a way to campaign for your opponent! Essentially, in 2016, APC had inflicted permanent injuries on one of its very best. Not only was this bad politics, it was also a sin against the Holy Ghost! Which could have been avoided by giving your campaign a human face.
The moral message: When you campaign, do so as if there is still tomorrow; and remember that your worst enemy today could be your best friend tomorrow!
It is a small world, after all.