Fathers and Mothers of our faith; Ministers of God; Participants in our Conferences; Our Resource Partners on CAPE project; Project Victory Call Initiative, PVC-NAIJA; Chairman, council members and all Ambassadors of Edo CAPE Council. Fellow Nigerians Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, let me congratulate you on the successful conduct of the Edo Election.
First, permit me to take us back to our collective struggle that birthed the 4th Republic. In oneness was our decision to end military rule and collective was our efforts in that regard even though that struggle ended by throwing up two different classes of politicians in our country:
The first class were the military apologists, who between 1999 and 2015 (16 years) governed our country and administered our democracy. The appreciation for the military and her values tilted our democracy towards impunity and our hope for true democracy became a mirage.
The second class were those who came in democratic sheep clothing but were ravaging wolves; power mongers who have turned our common political capital into their individual assets, since 1999 till date. These cliques of merchants of nation who today are putting our nation on sale to the Chinese through unending loan burden, came in their subtlety, capitalising on our yearning for democracy promised us heaven on earth; but have made the lives of the ordinary Nigerian a living hell.
Ours of course is a divided nation. This division we have struggled over the years to close, even though we daily deceive ourselves that “though tribes and tongues may differ, yet, in brotherhood we stand”
In spite of that, today our nation stands at a precipice waiting for that tilting; to safety or to destruction. To continue under these lies and propaganda is to witness the collapse of our dreams to remain one big promising Nation under God.
We all must therefore rise to contend earnestly for the safety of our nation. In practical terms, this can only be achieved through RESTRUCTURING of our Federation and the REVIEWS of our article of union.
*2020 Edo Governorship Election*
The drum beat of war was loud; its rhythm sonorous and tempting; it’s dancing steps was rehashed across our nation. We saw the need to safe the day and we sued for Peace.
In less than one year of her official inauguration, the Apostolic Round Table has achieved so much. And this is because we understand the need for synergy. We reached out to Project Victory Call Initiative, PVC-NAIJA, though non religious like we are but far more experienced in political engagement; which stem from our core value of political education and advocacy. Our collaboration birthed CAPE.
To establish the direction of engagement, we arrived Benin City the Capital of Edo State on the 6th of June 2020, held our 1st program with leaders of Churches and Heads of Ministries on the 16th of June 2020; with a word from God on the night of the 15th day of June 2020; that our success is hinged upon the removal of a stubborn Tenant. That became the direction of our prayers and while we were yet at the place of prayer the news broke out that a certain National leader of a political party has been shown the way out by a court of competent jurisdiction. For two months we were tied down with the church, reached out to Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and interfaced with the Christian Association of Nigeria. Their persuasion was clear but boldness was required to drive it. This became our duty: to drive the direction of the church with required boldness.
Let me salute my brother in and friend, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a man I met at a meeting where I was opportune to speak to an audience that had the then President, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo in attendance. That day, I spoke of the need to see the oil in the Niger Delta as belonging to our unborn generations and not the living which I maintained should demand of us reasons to manage it, deliberately making investment along this line of thought. If relationship was anything to go by, my criss crossing Edo State in close to 4 months should have been for you. But our nation, her church and people must come ahead of everything we do if Nigeria must be built. Good enough that you considered a Muslim as your Deputy Governor, this the church respects and see nothing wrong with it, but your turbaning ceremony was wrongly timed, in a nation rife with suspicion and a political party whose government has consistently chosen to look the other way while Christians are being killed was a fatal political decision. Islam of course is peace and a lot of peace loving Muslims have continued to frown at the loss for sanctity of lives by this administration.
Your turbaning was a political miscalculation given the exigencies of the season; but now that the election is over let us all see it as a strategic positioning of your persons for trust and confidence building across the two major religions in the country; this dynamics is a necessity for our post 2023 existence as one indivisible united Nigeria. Your loss at the Governorship election is therefore a gain for greater heights if ploughed through wisdom.
Let me Congratulate his Excellency the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki. Sir, your victory at the election was a confirmation of the season of a new political order, an end to money politics and the final burial rites of political godfatherism, these doesn’t demean your hard work, your triumph at the poll is also a reward for that.
This Victory is beyond you and your political party. There is an ideology for which we yearned and laboured. *For this, we owe you and your party not a kobo*. *This victory is therefore an indebtedness on your part to do much more for the people than you did in the last 4 years*.
Our expectations is that if the need arise to fight the established political monsters again in our quest for that nation of our dreams, the Captain in you found, will not be lost.
I need not wait for the question; “who is bankrolling you” to be asked before responding to it. Apology to our “troubleshooter” Journalist Eyo.
In a nation where it is almost impossible to see a good samaritan who will render care and concern for love, where even priest and Imams are concerned about gain they can make from the pain of the people, we have been privileged to have rare women and men with us to whom money is nothing, but a tool to fix life and make it better for humanity. It is to this dignified personalities we owe our funding. Others who will like to be financial partners can log on to our site to have this done.
*Day Of Election*
Edo election was not without some hiccup, but arguably our best since 1999.
Besides the almost impossible social distancing as a result of the need to protect their votes by the electorates, other COVID-19 protocols like using of facemasks, hand sanitizers and temperature reading were duly observed. Though, the management needs to be improved as we look forward to Ondo election. E-voting is obviously the final solution.
The conducts and atmosphere was generally calm and peaceful. Though, pockets of violence were recorded. We commend INEC efforts in this regard.
One can not but profoundly thanked the combination of Police, Army, Civil Defence and paramilitary that were deployed in their tens of thousands for the election. I personally want to appreciate them for being very professional and humane in the discharge of their duties. Permit me to encourage them that Nigerians will want this excellent disposition to be the order of change.
Much as President Mohammadu Buhari led administration deserves a mention in the successful conduct of Edo election, the killing field that Kogi became as a result of her last election which was riddled with untold manipulation and mayhem that forcefully saw Yahaya Bello back in office has tainted the intention of this administration to willingly conduct a peaceful and transparent election. It is left to His Excellency President Mohammadu Buhari to prove the sceptics wrong by ensuring that INEC improves in their performance in the Ondo governorship and Lagos East Senatorial bye elections. We further hope that the President will do the needful by assenting to the electoral reform bill this year so that this reform law may superintend Anambra Governorship election come 2021. Independent Candidacy should be considered and accommodated in our electoral law to tame overbearing lordship of party Chieftains and minimise desperation for party ticket leading to ship jumping such as we witnessed before the Edo Governorship election.
The concern of international community for transparency and credibility of our electoral process to service the largest democracy in Africa is a welcome development. We encourage older democracies and the world at large to keep watching and demanding for the right things to be done till we get there.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the fourth realm, it is to you Nigeria owe the reawakening of our consciousness for a new Nigeria and to you also we owe the visibility of our very little efforts in our pubic space. Thank you very much. See you in Ondo and Lagos.
Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi.
Convener, Apostolic Round Table.