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September 10: Need for peaceful election in Edo State

11 August 2016, 14:14 Isaac Asabor

It is not an exaggeration to say that the perception and interpretation of the game of politics by most politicians and their followers are often distorted so much that some see it as a war between different parties, and even among kindred, especially when the same political affiliation and ideology are not shared. Given the experiences that were gained from previous elections in Edo state, one may not be wrong to guess that mischievous politicians and their supporters in the state are already nurturing evil schemes and plans which they would hatch at the polls come September 10, 2016 in the state’s gubernatorial election. To me, all security agencies in the state should be on red alert and begin to work together in order to preempt the work of the evil politicians and their supporters.

Politics is somewhat seen as a war by some politicians when there are personality clashes between parties and within the same party. To some of them, campaign period is the right time for exhibiting retrogressive McCarthyism and horse trading.

In view of the forthcoming gubernatorial election that is scheduled for September 10, it would be nice if all political aspirants and chieftains of the participating political parties see politics as a sport rather than as a war. In sports, there is always a winner and a loser. The loser in sports always accepts defeat with equanimity. Politicians should begin to see the development of Edo state as the bigger picture and the reason why the election is scheduled to take place on that date.

The question now is, is it possible to achieve electoral peace during the gubernatorial election? Yes! It is very possible but on conditions that are explicated in this piece.

The first condition is that for a politician to go through a period of election without being at the centre of any crisis or controversy, he should be meticulously conscious of his image. In the course of being conscious of his image, he will automatically stay away from trouble. This is because image is of vital importance to a politician. Any politician that is notorious for being at the centre of crises and controversies before, during and after any electoral period may not be able to win the sympathy and votes of the electorate.  If a politician has a rosy image, so to say, in the perception of voters in his constituency, there is no way he would not achieve electoral victory or political success. One of the best ways a politician can keep his image rosy within his constituency is to stay away from crises and controversies.

Any politician that appreciates public relations as a tool of gaining the acceptance of the electorate should know that what a layman may call ordinary handshakes, delivering of speeches, or making statements on topical issues will, no doubt, project his personality. Also, the totality of a politician’s public conduct would aid recall and, perhaps, provide the winning votes. Personally, I am not in support of Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday in Auchi when he was reported to have called Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu a thief. It is high time name calling stopped in Edo state politics. Chief Tom Ikimi on the day Makarfi-led PDP primary was conducted in Benin-city qualified governor Oshiomhole as “Kukuruku man”. Whatever he meant by that!

There are some politicians whose names are spontaneously recalled in our memories whenever crisis or corruption is mentioned. Whatever the activities of any politician, good or bad, would always be recalled in the memories of the people. Whatever a politician does would stick on his personality like a leech. A wise politician would endear himself to his publics (his constituency) by staying away from crises or controversies. Against the foregoing, the governor and chief Ikimi as mentioned in the foregoing need not remind the electorate which politician is good or bad. As the common men on the streets of Edo state would say in pidgin English, “Nor show us, we know dem!”

When a politician takes the issue of his election as a do-or-die affair, such a politician would be seen as one who merely got involved in politics because of monetary gains. Politicians who took to politics because of the pecuniary gain always see an election as a do-or-die affair or rat race. The way a politician projects his personality within his constituency in particular and the larger constituency, which is Edo state, matters a lot, and it goes a long way to determine the success or failure of such politician in politics. Another good reason why politicians in the state should play politics devoid of crises is that political crises would make the state as a whole to be seen as politically volatile. It is no more news that journalists assigned to Edo state from other media organisations apart from the Nigerian Observer,  are wont to see the state as a hot beat for bad news. Negative reporting, no doubt, is really affecting the state so much that investors from other parts of the country are beginning to be discouraged in investing in the state because of negative media reports about its volatile nature.

Still in the same connection, politicians should begin to be patriotic enough to stop dragging our dear state in the national mud. Our politicians should be conscious of the fact that Edo state today is perceived as politically volatile and this has robbed the state of its deserved goodwill and respect. Also, it is high time we stopped opening doors of negative news to journalists due to our unpatriotic conducts.

Even if the local gubernatorial election would be conducted some few weeks away, politicians should call their supporters to order, and educate them on how well they should behave during the election. They should let their supporters know that they are not so desperate for victories. Even if a politician cannot say it the way it is expressed in this piece, he should, with wisdom, express it through body language. Similarly, party chieftains should also call their various candidates to order by educating them to stay away from violence during this election on September 10, 2016.

I know most of the politicians are Christians. They should religiously imbibe the scriptural injunction in Philippians 4 verse 8 throughout the election which says  ”Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Their Muslim counterparts that can mostly be found in Edo North senatorial district should also search the Koran parallel of this scripture and abide by it as well.

I am using this popular and credible medium to appeal to politicians in Edo state to religiously and faithfully hold on to this scripture in the book of Philippians throughout the period of the elections. All items in their campaign programmes that contradict this scriptural injunction should be discarded for the sake of the peace of Edo state and Edolites. Our state is bigger than all the politicians put together.

Finally, politicians should as much as possible during the election behave like sportsmen, in both defeat and victory.

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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