The recent victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the Edo State governorship election is a lesson that many can learn from. I think it sends a very clear message to Nigerians as a whole, but a direct message to APC and a quiet message to the PDP in particular.
Today I will leave the international community out of it. They still have their own fishes to fry. Their progression from what I had previously described as very toothless bulldogs to now issuing travel bans on election riggers, is a good first step. But they know they can do more.
Some will still not learn this lesson, but that will not detract from the lecture being given. Let those who have ears, please hear:
To Nigerians, you can see that there is still hope for our democracy. You have a President who will not go out of his way to save the APC. There are no sacred cows. Tomorrow, as was the case in Edo, your vote can count. Do not give up on Nigeria. I tell friends who are anti Buhari, that they are all still missing my point. No need to waste your energy. Focus on the Messiah you want and organize and vote to replace Buhari with him or with her. You can’t be sitting down here complaining about Pres. Buhari while 2023 is almost upon us. No. You cannot truly be that helpless. Buhari will help popular candidates win, even if they are not of the APC. A proven fact. I cannot in all conscience vouch, that any of your previous Presidents would do that.
To APC, you have a chance to right your wrongs. Disqualifying Obaseki was a disgraceful act, reminiscent of years gone by and not what APC is expected to defend. You should have held a transparent primary if he was not popular. Buhari will not stop here. He will continue to be a neutral observer. This means that your best option is to field popular candidates who have the interests of the people and not the interest of Godfathers at heart. If you do not, a Buhari will not save you. Again you will fail elections and again he will congratulate the winner. The recent removal of Adams Oshiomole was an opportunity to place that chapter behind us. Ondo will be our first true post Oshio test. People are watching.
To the PDP, congratulations. You did what was not common to you. You took in a non PDP individual and gave him full access and proper authority to execute a campaign. You mixed a good candidate with a transparent process and took advantage of a neutral President, to make change possible. In other words, you gave power to the people. I am sure you are not under the illusion that this was a victory for just the PDP. It was not. This win took a heterogeneous effort, that made practical, the key theory that together Nigerians can overcome. Remember this theory when the next election comes. Using ethnic divisions to win, means governing by division. APC is still learning that lesson. For all of us.
So, the APC has no Governor in all of the South South. This is not just a coincidence. It is 100% self inflicted. A lack of clear zonal leadership in the South South, a deliberate effort to keep the zone weak, a refusal to mend fences and too much wealth. People with a lot of money, find it harder to listen to each other. I have found out that nobody is more attentive than a poor man looking for prosperity.
May God give us wisdom.
Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill is an APC stakeholder.