By Patrick Ochoga,
Most often we hear of people with large hearts or those we often referred to as sportsmen – they are men who are always graceful in defeat.
They waste no time giving out concession speeches and go beyond sending congratulating messages to their opponents on their victory.
Gestures like these which are rare in our climes do not only sow the seeds of unity, they also send important messages to the people that it is time to put the election, defeat and euphoria of victory behind and move forward. It is disposition like this that heralds the democratic development in every democracy.
The charged atmosphere prior to the Saturday, 19th September election in Edo State would lead anyone who had followed the developments during the electioneering period into believing that the election and post-election period would be marred with widespread violence and the emergence of a winner would even have ignited another circle of violence in the state between followers from both divides.
However, this was not so as the exercise turned out to be one of the most successful and peaceful elections ever conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the history of state elections in Nigeria.
The election has come and gone, as expected, winners and losers have emerged with major players in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other private citizens playing by the rules of the game; they have proven to be archetypes of good losers no matter how difficult it is to accept.
Just when it was least expected, the ruling party at the national level released a statement congratulating Governor Godwin Obaseki and describing his reelection as victory for democracy. This was also backed by a statement issued by Benin-born billionaire and philanthropist, Captain Wells Hosa Okunbo, one of APC’s key players and supporters of the party’s candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who had also congratulated the people of Edo for re-electing Governor Godwin Obaseki of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Hosa had before the election and on several occasions expressed his love for Obaseki, describing him and his rival as his brothers. Although, he later on gave reasons why Ize-Iyamu should be supported based on his manifesto and programmes. His position was not only that of a citizen expressing his opinion but also that of a honest man who would not hide behind any guise masquerading to be someone else or playing the devil’s advocate behind the scene.
Hosa who was one of Obaseki’s biggest benefactors during his 2016 campaign till recently, had through the statement prayed that “may the next four years of Edo under Governor Godwin Obaseki take the state to the promised land.”
“First of all, I congratulate the
people of Edo State who took their civic responsibility with a sense of urgency and trooped out to express themselves. I also wish to congratulate His Excellency, the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki for winning the mandate to continue for another four years. Congratulations.
“As a loyal citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and an indigene of Edo State, I urge all of the people at home and abroad to join hands with the governor to build a vibrant democracy, and also to build a vibrant economy where the youth can find gainful employment in an atmosphere of peace and security”, Captain Hosa said in the statement.
This is the best prayer the governor needs from his people who he must unite, while he hits the ground running to consolidate on his past achievements.
Captain Hosa has displayed the spirit of statesmanship by offering the olive branch to move the state forward as it has been his desire to see more Edo citizen engaged in productive ventures. This has been his prayers and it will gladden his heart to work side- by-side with the government to accelerate human, capital and infrastructure development in the state.
Hosa’s move further shows he is indeed a father to all whose concern and interest is to see Edo State prosper and develop beyond political consideration.
The governor and his administration also have to take on as their primary goal points for all in the state. Leaders in the APC and their supporters have displayed the spirit of true sportsmanship, thus, such gesture should be reciprocated from the side of the ruling party under the leadership of Governor Obaseki in the state.
As a Christian, the governor understands the concept of reconciliation. It is as old as the Scriptures. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, it says: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
As the old saying goes: “To the victor goes the spoils.” But this time, as the peaceful election is over, the victor will also get something much more profound: The responsibility to unite what has been divided and mend what is broken.
Already the re-elected governor has in return extended a hand of fellowship to the leaders of the APC in the state, saying the fight is over between him and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, who is also the former chairman of the APC.
The governor also called on his rival, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and other members to join him in the administration of the state.
“I am using this opportunity to extend a hand of fellowship to my brother Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and other colleagues in the APC to join us and work with us so that we can move Edo forward.
“On a specific note, I want to use this opportunity to call on the former chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that the fight is over and he should come and join in building the house where he was part of laying the foundation. We have no malice. The only thing we disagree on is the approach in moving Edo State forward,” Obaseki said while receiving his certificate of return in Benin on Tuesday, adding that people from the other side should see themselves as one family with him.
“To our friends and brothers on the other side of the divide, we are one family in the pursuit to provide services and public goods for our citizens.
“Our citizens have decided that for now, they trust us more to provide the leadership. It does not mean that they do not have a role to play. It does not mean that they are not part of the family,” Obaseki said.
The governor too has taken the first step of reciprocating and it is hoped that he keeps to his words of opening his doors to all.
It is now left for the governor to look deep on how he would like to be remembered like other heroes who fought for freedom of their people and conscience. This is in the character of growth that we should learn from both in pleasant and unpleasant experiences.
–Ochoga sent this piece from Benin City, Edo State.