In the last round of one-on-one exchanges between the two leading candidates in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election, Governor Godwin Obaseki faced APC’s Osagie Ize-Iyamu in a televised debate.
The debate organised by ChannelsTV saw the rivals slug over the funding history of past elections in the state, accusing each other of using state resources to corner political gains.
They also touched on why they became the candidates of the parties each opposed in the election four years ago, with Mr Obaseki saying he left the APC due to the godfatherism tendencies in the party and Mr Ize-Iyamu saying he is a foundation member of the APC so he only came back home.
Mr Ize-Iyamu would challenge his opponent to show evidence that he was qualified to be admitted to the University of Ibadan in 1976, having been disqualified on the same ground from contesting the APC primaries in June.
Mr Obaseki stood his ground on the issue, and both would later sign a peace pact and pledge to play by the books.
As the election set off on Saturday, residents had expressed mixed feelings ranging from hope to fear to apathy. In the mix of that, the PDP raised concerns saying some of its state governors in Edo to monitor the election were being hounded by security officials, a phalanx of whom were deployed to the state.
Eventually on Sunday, Mr Obaseki won reelection and has been congratulated by President Buhari, residents, as well as other stakeholders. While the outcome has been rejected by APC campaign council, some residents believe it is a defeat of the godfatherism tendency in the state.
Meanwhile, in the latest of his series of outburst on the state of the nation, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo said Nigeria was fast becoming a failed state, something he attributed to the inept leadership of the current administration.
The presidency fired back. Presidential publicist, Garba Shehu, said Mr Obasanjo acted unstatesmanlike, calling the latter the “Divider-in-Chief.”
Information minister Lai Muhammed also came out to defend the administration, saying, contrary to the allegation of nepotism in the Buhari administration, the president has done much to unite Nigerians.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) too jumped into the pool on the side of the government, saying Mr Obasanjo has no moral qualification to decry the country’s growing political and social decadence, because his administration “midwifed and institutionalised the national rot, corruption, impunity and eroding of our value systems.”
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo could start with telling us where the electricity is despite the $16billion he spent on the power sector,” the party said.
It called on the former president and his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, to account for Nigeria’s asset allegedly sold to friends of the PDP-led administration under its privatisation programme.
But the ethnic and regional groups during which meeting with Mr Obasanjo the former president made his controversial remarks, including Afenifere of the southwest and Ohaneze of the southeast, expectedly faulted the defence by the president. What was unexpected, however, was that Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, also backed Mr Obasanjo’s claim.
Earlier, President Buhari’s promised a fair election and the U.S. Department of State imposed visa ban on individuals who “undermine(d) the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence” in the last Kogi governorship election.
While the U.S. action was lauded by some, including Teejay Yusuf, a PDP Kogi lawmaker, who urged other foreign governments to follow suit, the Kogi State Government accused the U.S. of witch-hunting and partisanship.
The United Kingdom government later said electoral offenders in the Edo and Ondo elections risk visa ban into their country as well as asset forfeiture.
Moments later, the pro-chancellor of the school, Wale Babalakin, resigned, faulting President Buhari’s action on the crisis and accusing the panel of being compromised.
Also, the Nigerian government’s plans to establish the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency, despite having two anti-graft agencies, was criticised by Nigerians.
Likewise, through a memo dated September 16 and addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly, President Buhari announced his assent to the Nigeria Police Bill, 2020.
The Act repeals the Police Act of 2004 and provides for a more effective and well organised police force, driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations and management of its resources.