After Governor Rauf Aregbesola was declared winner of the August 9 Governorship election in Osun State, I have been expecting the spokesman of the APC or some its foot soldiers to come up in their usual manner to raise one complain or the other about the election or even threatening of going to court over “militarisation” of the election or accusing the President and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of one thing or the other, but all my expectations went the other way. In place of grumbling, what I saw and heard was commendation and congratulations going out to the Governor-elect and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Unlike what happened after the conduct of the Ekiti State Governorship Election on June 21 where the opposition leaders in their characteristic zeal came out complaining and disturbing every one over what they called “Militarisation of the election” “Stomach infrastructure”, “Financial inducement” among others, such a thing was conspicuously missing this time around. The question now is how can the party acquit itself of an allegation levelled against it by Nigerians that “If APC wins an election it becomes free and fair, but if it loses an election, the entire process becomes fraudulent?” Or has the political realities as was witnessed in Ekiti State changed on getting to Osun State? For example, Governor Babatunde Fashola in a press statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Hakeem Bellow said: “The power rests on the people in a democracy. The ordinary people of the state of Osun have spoken the truth about their Governor
and the people-oriented policies of the All Progressives Congress… Osun State like every other state under the leadership of the All Progressives Congress remains a proof of our resolve to lead the people of Nigeria to a better rewarding future”, while Governor Rotimi Amaechi in his own felicitation said “The victory was well deserved and it goes to show that the Osun people decided to vote wisely.”
In similar vein, former Vice President Atiku Abukakar in a statement signed by his media office said “The over whelming victory recorded by APC in the election was a clear indication that Aregbesola is very popular among the people of the state and thus, the support given to him and the political party that presented him.”
But, it is this same APC that complained in June when it lost the Ekiti State Governorship Election to Governor Ayodele Fayose of the People Democratic Party (PDP). The party said that the election was skewed in favour of the People Democratic Party. In particular, the National Working Committee of the party after a meeting it held in Abuja issued a communiqué that reads “From the militarilisation of the election to the police attacks on our supporters, arrest and detention of our leaders across the state and the use of huge funds to induce voters, the federal authorities skewed everything in favour of the PDP.”
With thousands of armoured troops, police, state security and civil defence personnel deployed to Ekiti, the state was simply under a total lockdown. While we belief that the police and the civil defence indeed have a role to play in providing the necessary security for the election, we do not see why soldiers who were armed to the teeth need to be deployed to a non belligerent situation like an election, especially at a time that their services are more needed elsewhere.”
Also, another APC member and a senatorial aspirant on its platform, Mallam Shehu Sani said “Those who accepted, endorsed and embraced Ekiti elections as free and fair are by extension giving their imprint to the adoption of it in 2015 general election… The PDP did not win in Ekiti State; they captured it through the strategy of force and inducement. Governor Kayode Fayemi’s acceptance of defeat is more for peace than for justice. Those in Abuja revelling in the victory over APC are simply toasting to the cruel triumph of might over morality. The will of the people cannot be said to be freely expressed with a record military while planes were hovering over the skies of Ekiti and soldiers on the ground.”
But now that the APC has won in Osun State, they are not complaining. They are not grumbling. They are not threatening of going to court. They are not accusing the President and the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of one offence or the other. They are not ascribing the victory to “Huge financial inducement” or heavy military presence even when the same thing that happened in Ekiti was repeated in Osun. Instead, they are saying it is a proof of their resolve to lead the people of Nigeria to a better rewarding future. Is this how to play politics?
Also, now that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the Adamawa State governorship election to hold on October 11, if the ruling PDP should win because of its great preparations, may be it will be because the former APC governor was impeached or who knows what they will come up with?
We should therefore stop making the people believe that Nigeria practice democracy only when the opposition wins election and vice versa. Our fledgling democracy can only grow when we learn to celebrate victories without hurting the other person as well as how to accept defeat in good faith without discrediting the whole process. This is the only way we can grow our democracy to maturity and global recognition! Anything less than that amounts to hypocrisy and the travesty of democracy.
Comrade Edwin Ekene Uhara, is an Activist and a Public Affairs Commentator. He is also a member of PDP Project Reloaded Media Team.
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