BY Fejiro Oliver

Since the majority is always wrong, might we try where all the losers take office?

Robert Brault

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The Delta State governorship election have been lost and won with losers still biting their fingers wishing they had done some things differently to enable them come out victorious, while others still nurse and lick their wounds in pains that may take years to heal.

Of the three gladiators who contested the election only two will be counting their fortune, notably the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa (SIAO) who is waiting to be sworn in come May 29th as the 4th civilian governor of Delta State, while Olorogun Otega Emerhor is going to the Federal level , as his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) successfully dislodged the incumbent to take power at the central. This leaves us with Great Ovedje Ogboru of the Labor Party (LP), whom I have always maintained is a political bastard. At last I have been proved right as he will be left alone with no one to turn to for succor.

It is however worrying that despite the victory of the APC in majority of states; my beloved Delta is still in their eyes with plans to take over using the judiciary. The statement by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Channels TV that his party will soon govern Akwa Ibom, Delta and Rivers States should not be swept away; as he has merely spoken the mind of his party, who will be controlling the judiciary by the time the legal tussle to reclaim the three states begin. They claim to have evidences of rigging in Delta State through the manipulation of the machines. As one who followed all the candidates’ campaign, can I confidently say Okowa ‘rigged’ the election? The answer is a big YES, he ‘rigged’ it. But the question should be how he did.

The man Okowa is as gentle as a dove, with eyes that appeals to even the hardest of heart. His mien is that of a man who can do no wrong and this is what most voters checked out for. His words though not poetic in the course of the campaign sounded so real and sincere that each of the electorates could put themselves in his shoes of what he would do for them. Even in the hometown of Ogboru where went for campaign, his voice that day, though disturbed by tribal sentiments pierced the marrows of those who came out and wished among themselves that their own son was not contesting for them to vote massively for Okowa. This is the beginning of how he rigged the election.

While the other aspirants were busying campaigning using tribe and ethnicity as a tool to curry the voters, he never did so. As a pan Deltan, his campaign was based on the unity of one Delta where truly no man is oppressed or suppressed as a result of where they hail from, but all given equal opportunity. While his opponents preached the Urhobo pride in them, Okowa forgot that he is an Ika man, but wore the apparel of a core Delta, a message he carried round the entire state. Of course, Deltans saw it in him that they will not be entering Asaba because the governor is from my region, but entering because he is just one of their own. This was how he ‘rigged’ the election.

Do we talk about the fact that he assembled the best media team (with the social media department leading) ever in the political mathematics of Delta? Just as his party at the national level were still busy searching for Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate while his media team were busy selling him to Nigerians; same scenario played out in Delta State. While Ogboru social media team were busy on Facebook groups like Liberate Delta and Urhobo Peoples Forum to malign Fejiro Oliver and Alex Okunbor as arm twisting Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan to drop Tony Obuh and subsequently brought down David Edevbie, we were busy telling Deltans why our principal was the best. While they were send messages to his phone and doing graphics of how Fejiro said the goat in his village will make a better President than Goodluck Jonathan, we were busy appealing to Deltans the gains of an Okowa led government if voted in. They chased the diehard media leaders instead of focusing on Okowa, the candidate and the result is what we have all seen. That was how he ‘rigged’ the election.

When the election was postponed for two weeks and he ran short of funds after the first campaign, he never relented but engaged in various community hall meetings and meeting student bodies organized by Comrade Ezekiel Okoh. This time, his opponents were busy telling the world how they have secured CCTV to prevent rigging, instead of focusing on going to ward to ward campaigns. Deltans needed a man who they can relate with and he availed himself through these meetings. While he engaged in all this, the duo of Emerhor and Ogboru were sleeping and chasing shadows, fighting media war on the rightful owner of the defunct ill-fated Uvwiamuge Declaration. Yes, through community and student meetings, he rigged the elections in their heart, as they all came out enmasse to vote for him. While prominent groups like Canaan Movement, our mata na him mata, Okowa Integrity group, Delta Core group, Delta Political Vanguard etc went round the whole LGA campaigning vigorously for the man they believe in, his opponents were busy doing their own group campaign in their bedrooms. The result is what we have all seen. Yes, that was how he rigged the elections.

We cannot let go the Diaspora theory where Ogboru core supporters stayed back in the UK to be pulling support for him and never came back home to influence voters. In contrast, Okowa core supporter in Diaspora led by Dantes Odogwu paid his way to Nigeria to mobilize massive support for our principal and even threw a reward party for his boys who were always online to counter the lies told by opponents against the distinguished Senator. It was beyond campaign but working the talk. If only the Londoners of Ogboru have at least come here, probably, the defeat won’t have been much as they unarguably have the potential to turn their write ups to votes, which Dantes did. Again, this was how he ‘rigged’ the election.

They cry that we rigged them out and I cannot but agree that we truly did. They jostled to be endorsed by the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), so much that they had and still have a faction, with both of them endorsing the duo of Emerhor and Ogboru as the consensus Urhobo candidate. Contrast this to Okowa who was not only endorsed by the whole Anioma leadership but was supported by Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, who lost the Senatorial seat to Okowa’s candidate in the person of Peter Nwaoboshi. They pocketed their individual ambition to see the Anioma governor come to fruition. Did the greedy Urhobo UPU do this? No! That was how the election was ‘rigged’.

If the election is conducted a million time, the election will still be ‘rigged’ by Deltans who have carved Okowa’s name in their hearts like marbles and ensure he wins. The guber poll was not rigged by any machine but by the few analysis above, not forgetting that PDP stalwarts in the states mobilized their massive followers to election venue to vote for their party. It is pure madness to think that just as Lagos cannot be won by PDP, so will APC or any other party win Delta State.

Hate to love the slogan of ‘Delta being a PDP home’ and you will only develop heart attack and all I can say is goodluck to you as you have it. Whatever the tribunal to the Supreme Court decides on tomorrow, one thing is certain; Okowa will still win the election without further campaigns and stay in office till 2023. If this hurts to hear, the opposition can take the next train to the nearest industrial transformer located in Ilupeju and hug it. Did we rig the election again? The answer is now in your hands.

These little things matter…

Fejiro Oliver, an Investigative Journalist, Media Consultant and Human Rights Activist is also the Co-Convener of Coalition of Human Rights Defender (CHORD) and can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY) or secretsreporters@gmail.com. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86