20th July, 2012
Ratings before last Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State was that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, political heavy weights led by former chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih; business mogul and the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen; Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe and Senator Odion Ugbesia would turn the table against the incumbent and winner, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
The party bigwigs had during the campaigns boasted that they would cut Oshiomhole to size. But in a twist of fate, Oshiomhole, like the Biblical David in the David and Goliath battle, not only won the election with a wide margin but trounced his PDP rivals in their respective enclaves and thereby confirmed his pre-election position that the so-called political godfathers have outlived their relevance in Edo State politics.
Oshiomhole of the ACN clinched victory by amassing 477,478 votes representing 76 per cent of the valid votes of 630,099, leaving Major Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd), with 144,235 votes representing 23 per cent. Chief Solomon Edebiri who flew the flag of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) was only able to manage 3,642 votes representing less than one per cent.
The biggest loser of the election is no doubt the former chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, popularly called “Mr. Fix It.” He had boasted before the election that the PDP will emerged tops.
He not only predicted victory for his party but assured supporters that the PDP candidate will have an easy ride because his rival, Oshiomhole “lacks the capacity to remain as governor.”
But the former Minister of Works and leader of the PDP in Edo State was forced to swallow his words as he was roundly beaten by Oshiomhole in his ward.
Anenih only managed to deliver his polling booth to his party by one vote. The PDP won by 40 to 39 votes in Anenih’s booth, but then he still lost his ward to the ACN by as much as 2,000 votes.
The self-acclaimed godfather lost his constituency; Uzenema-Arue, Uromi, in Esan North East Local Government Area, hitherto considered a PDP bastion, to the ACN by 1,004 votes to ACN’s 3,480 votes. Many had advised him ahead of the poll to rather dwell more on national politics and play the role of an elder statesman.
Beside Anenih, Major Gen. Airhiavbere (retd), was another big loser in the poll given the resources he invested in the bid to unseat the incumbent. Airhiavbere, who enjoyed tremendous support from the Presidency in the build up to the poll, had on the eve of the election maintained that he will crush the power of incumbency enjoyed by Oshiomhole, but this was not to be as he lost even in his own ward and polling booth.
He had said before the poll that the incumbency factor is a fallacy that can be easily demystified as an incumbent that is not performing at the expected rate of the public is very vulnerable and the people of Edo State are yearning for a change and that change must come through the ballot box.
The ethnic card played by his backers and supporters during the campaigns also failed to sway the electorate for him as results declared at the Garrick Memorial School, Oredo Ward 1 units 18, 19, 20, 21 where Airhiavbere voted showed that he lost with a wide margin.
In unit 20, the PDP candidate polled 38 votes to ACN’s 360. In unit 19, PDP polled 32 while Oshiomhole’s ACN got 254.
In Unit 18, also in the same centre, Airhiavbere’s PDP got 65 votes while ACN scored 351 votes. And in unit 21, the PDP scored 33 votes while the ACN got 270 votes.
A summation of the results from the centre showed that Airhiavbere scored 168 votes while Oshiomhole got 1,275.