There is no denying the fact that politicians in Edo state are wont to literarily dance across the length and breadth of the political landscape of the state in rhythmical steps ahead of any coming election. Against this backdrop, it is not hyperbolical to say that political campaigns in the state, ahead of the much-awaited September 10, 2016 gubernatorial election, are being carried out by politicians and their supporters in the spirit of the political tradition that is peculiar to the state that is also known as the “Heartbeat of Nigeria”.
Not only are campaigns being carried out in the spirit of the political tradition that the state is notoriously known for, what can in this context be called the Rat factor that usually play out in the past political dispensations in the state right from when it was part of the then Midwestern state and Bendel state has been manifesting in the last few months in anticipation of victories at the polls on September 10, 2016.
For the purpose of clarity, the expediency of the coinage, “Rat factor”, that is used as part of the language of expression in this context is on the strength of the degree of commonalities that exist between the behavior of politicians in the state and Rats of diverse species. The shared behavior between the rodent and the politicians cannot be said to be damnable as the cliché, “Rat race” “Smell a rat”, “Church rat” are usually used by political pundits to explain a political situation. In the same vein, politicians can in a pejorative manner describe their supporters as Rats. It would be recalled at this juncture that the political relevance of Rat within the context of global politics was reinforced by the late Muammar Ghaddafi, who at the brink of the collapse of his empire described Libyans as Rats.
Also, legendary Robert Neston Marley, popularly known as Bob Marley used one of his hit tracks, Rat Race, to lampoon the politicians that are usually engaged in Rat Race rather than performing the duties they are elected to perform. To political commentators and writers, the phrase, Rat Race, has become an evocative phrase that is usually used in a graphical form to illustrate the level of avarice and McCarthyism that characterizes any political competition.
Against the foregoing background, it cannot be wrong to say that the factor of Rat that usually characterize the political equation in Edo state has started to recur as the gubernatorial election that is scheduled for September 10, 2016 is fast approaching.
For instance, the resilient spirit which a typical Rat is known for was in the primaries that were separately conducted by the All Progressives Congress, APC and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state capital, Benin City, replicated as the primaries were characterized by ceaseless and undignified competition for victories for the gubernatorial tickets of the two major parties in the state.
Politicians that lost their tickets in both primaries have refused to concede the gubernatorial tickets to Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who won the APC’s Congress ticket for the incoming election and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who equally picked the ticket of his party, PDP.
The collective dust raised from the conducts of both elections in the state is yet to settle as the losers, such as Dr. Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri and Mr. Matthew Iduiyikemwen of the PDP were not convinced that the primaries were conducted under a free and fair atmosphere. Those that lost at the primaries conducted by the APC, have also faulted the emergence of Obaseki as the APC ticket bearer for the election that is slated to be conducted in September. Those who participated in the APC primary included the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu; a former governor, Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor, and a former Minister of State for Works, Chris Ogiemwonyi.Others are Maj. Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd.), Kenneth Imasuagbon, Peter Esele, Tina Agbarha, Blessing Agbomere, Emmanuel Arigbe-Osula, Prof. Ebegue Amadasun and Austin Emuan.
Sequel to the agitations that have trailed the primaries conducted by both political parties ahead of the September 10 election, the Edo state chapter of the APC as at June 27, 2016 has begun moves to reconcile all aggrieved aspirants and political groups in governorship primary. Also, the presidency was reported to have waded into the crisis as it is disturbed by the possibility of losing its only state in the South-South geopolitical zone. The PDP on its own is also making similar moves.
There is no denying the fact that the Rat factor that is inherent in Edo’s political equation is finding expression in the do-or-die dispositions of politicians in the state. One of the salient behavior of Rats which aspiring politicians to Osadebey House (Edo State seat of government) is the one that is expressed in the cliché called Rat Race.
Without resorting to the dictionary to understand the meaning of the phrase “Race Race”, it would be better understood when the mind is cast back to some days when Rats are seen struggling over a piece of bread or food. Their struggle are always reminiscent of how politicians in Edo state struggle for power.
Another condemnable behavior of Rats is that the ones that belong to any particular specie are wont to ward off rats from other species whenever they make an attempt to join them in eating any discovered food. In the same way, politicians in the state that are affiliated to just 3 ethnic groups, that is Edo, Esan and Afemai have been rotating the governorship position in the state among themselves despite the fact that the state is also made up of people that are equally affiliated to some minority ethnic groups in the state. To this end, it cannot be said to be plausible to reason that people from Igbira speaking communities that exists in Akoko Edo as well as the Urhobos, Izons, Itsekiris communities that exist in Ovia North East and South West Local Government Areas especially in the borderlands are not politically qualify to govern Edo state. Also, the Ika speaking communities that exist in Igbanke in Orhionmwon Local Government Area have been consistently denied of political appointments from one political dispensation to the other.
All those that aspire to occupy any political position in Edo state should adjust their mindsets to be thinking of how they can eliminate some ratty factors in Edo’s political equation.
Be that as it may, I am using this piece to urge politicians in Edo state to desist from all activities that would make any political observer begin to think that they are set to plunder the resources in the state in the same manner Rats are wont to do. Rats are notorious for plundering any farm they invade by eating up all sighted crops.
On a similar note, aspiring politicians should desist from the erroneous retrogressive thinking that serving in any political position in the state is the surest way of becoming wealthy. They should also understand that wealth can also be attained through other legitimate means. Any leader that aspires to lead in Edo state should always bear one of the quotes of Dr. Nelson Mandela in mind. The quote says “The time is always right to do right.” Most politicians believe that their time as politicians or political leaders is the time to do wrong. The belief is erroneous! There is no time that is auspicious for doing wrong. Good should be done at all times.
As I bring this view to an end, I wish all contestants in the race to Osadebey House a victorious participation in the election come September 10, 2016 and also expostulate that they do as much they could in ensuring that they conduct themselves throughout the election with an attitude of savoir faire.
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