The disqualification of Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo State, from participating in the governorship primary poll of the All Progressives Congress fixed for June 22 did not come as a shock to me and I’m sure to many others.
Obaseki saw this coming when he said he would not be treated fairly by the screening panel which was set up by the National Working Committee led by Adams Oshiomhole, APC National Chairman.
It’s no news that for months now, Obaseki and Oshiomhole have not been able to see “eye to eye” on any issue owing to an insinuation that the APC chairman wants to control the state through his predecessor.
This same Oshiomhole boasted of defeating “godfathers” to emerge governor of Edo. So, what has changed? Why tow a line you once considered a wrong order? Who helped him govern the state during his time as governor? But this is not where I have a problem.
My problem is that Oshiomhole’s “hatchet job” was announced on June 12, a day we now celebrate as Democracy Day. Wonderful!
While presenting their report to Oshiomhole, Jonathan Ayuba, Chairman of the screening committee, said he and members of the panel “staked” their integrity in carrying out the screening assignment.
Hear Ayuba: “We are staking our integrity, the integrity of the process in this country in order to arrive with what we have done.”
It was even more horrifying for me when he went to say: “We were ready with the report yesterday, I’m not a religious person but I think there is a divine timing for us to present this report today, because today is an important day in the history of democracy in Nigeria. Some people laid down their lives to be able to do what we have done for the past two days.
“We want to be judged by what we have done and what we are presenting.”
I will not judge Prof Ayuba because I am not God but there is certainly something wrong with the process he oversaw.
The question still remains, was this panel mindful of the fact that Obaseki scaled the APC screening process in 2016 and went on to win the election?
In disqualifying him, the Ayuba panel cited a “defective higher school certificate” and explained that the defect could have been from the institution but that Obaseki did not make any move to correct him which is a ground the governor was disqualified. I’m stupefied.
Before this episode, Oshiomhole singlehandedly sent a letter to the electoral commission informing it that the party had chosen the direct mode for the APC primary even before the NWC met to take a decision.
In turn, some foundation members of the APC accused the chairman of “murdering” democracy in the party and called on Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the party to weigh in, arguing that it is only the national executive committee (NEC) that can even determine the mode of the primary poll.
They also wondered how Oshiomhole could issue a “waiver” to Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a pastor, to enable him be in the race for the ticket.
Oshiomhole’s decisions have been more like a despotic ruler and not one overseeing a political party which claims to rest on democratic principles.
We can’t have had 21 years of uninterrupted democracy and still be “playing” the kind of politics we see in our political parties today. “Anarchy” is what comes to the back of anyone’s mind who has been following these events in the APC concerning the gubernatorial polls in Edo.
While speaking on a radio show hosted by Kimberly Nwachukwu on Wednesday via telephone, I had cause to say all stakeholders – INEC, political parties and politicians – need to ensure that our electoral processes goes on smoothly.
Acrimony should not guide our politics at this stage of our “democracy” as it is normal to have disagreements.
The question I want to ask Oshiomhole and his panel is this; was this the democracy our heroes laid their lives for?
Shibayan tweets @justdyepis