It’s over, isn’t it? Well, isn’t it said that it’s not over until it’s over? It looks like the Edo State governorship election, which took place on September 19, has been lost and won. But going by statements from the loser’s camp, it’s not over.
The result of the election was clear enough. The incumbent governor and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Godwin Obaseki, was re-elected. Obaseki had 307,955 votes and won the election. All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Osagie Ize-Iyamu had 223,619 votes and lost the election.
The returning officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, announced that Obaseki won in 13 of the 18 local government areas, and Ize-Iyamu won in five.
After the winner was announced, the loser’s camp announced that things were not that straightforward. The Chairman of APC’s Media Campaign Council, Prince John Mayaki, issued a statement, saying the winner didn’t win fairly.
According to him, “Our people were arbitrarily arrested; many of the figures were fabricated. There was illicit tampering with results, to shore up PDP’s numbers and mark down APC’s.
“Areas where we won, they cancelled the results. They decreased the votes in areas we had advantage. They rejected our results and jerked up theirs.”
He added: “Obaseki shouted that he was being rigged out and blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the initial stage, but that was to divert attention from the evil going on in the field.”
Ize-Iyamu, the loser, also said he didn’t lose fairly. He tweeted: “I thank and appreciate my supporters, who had to endure many evils including being prevented from voting, for their support and determination during the election. I assure you all that I am studying the results along with other party members and will announce my next move soon.”
If the winner didn’t win fairly, and the loser didn’t lose fairly, was the election free and fair? Of course, the winner is not complaining. Of course, the loser is complaining. Why do losers always complain after losing? It’s a predictable response in Nigerian politics.
In this country, election losers rarely accept that they were defeated fairly, even when it is fair to say they lost fairly. It is unsurprising that Ize-Iyamu’s camp is unwilling to accept that he lost the election. It would have been strange if the loser had conceded defeat readily, without tall tales. If winning is a possibility, losing is a possibility as well. That’s the lesson losers should learn.