Edo election as integrity test for Buhari, INEC, security agencies

In just a few days, citizens of Edo State will go to the polls to elect a governor from among the 14 candidates that are contesting on different political platforms. But Edo voters are worried whether their votes would count on account of the tension and drums of violence being beaten in the lead up to election day.

Concerned citizens and political stakeholders across the country believe that the exercise would test the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and various security agencies with respect to how free, fair and credible the polls would be, which the administration promised when it came to power in 2015.

Observers may have limited the contest to one between the incumbent governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of All Progressives Congress (APC). But flag bearers of other political parties have expressed discomfort about not being accorded enough space in the process, especially the media, which they allege have under-reported their activities during the campaign process.

There is also the possibility that the election might end up as one of the most keenly contested and interesting gubernatorial polls in the Fourth Republic going by the activities of the two parties and contenders. It will further enable both parties to test their popularity ratings ahead of the 2023 general election.

Another interesting aspect that will play out on Saturday and which could be considered unique is that Obaseki, who some months back, had hoped to run on APC platform, is now bearing PDP’s flag in the race. The incumbent defected to his current platform due to crisis between him and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, a former national chairman of APC. The governor would now square up with Ize-Iyamu, who left the PDP, on which platform he contested against Obaseki in 2016, hoping to realise his governorship ambition on the platform of APC.

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