It is said, whatever has a beginning has an end. This saying is appropriate in the just concluded legislative by-elections for the Ogoja/Yala federal constituency and Akpabuyo State constituency which a few weeks and days prior to the polls seemed like there would be no life left after they held.
Leading to the by-elections, there were fears as politicians, political gladiators and political parties engaged in utterances that heated the polity of Cross River State and Nigeria in general. The fear of possible violence and rigging as analysts and political astrologers predicted, would make the people stay away from the polling units. These prophecies came to pass in the constituencies elections were conducted with the low turnout of voters registered.
It will be recalled that in the days preceding the by-elections, several political activities heated up the polity ranging from invitations of party bigwigs, name calling, mudslinging, character assassination, hate speeches and promotions of do-or-die affairs, among others in a bid to win the people’s trust. This shows that Nigeria has a long way to go in its political arena.
However, the polls held and the results declared said the people elected Jude Ngaji under the umbrella of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Effiom Edet under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as members representing Ogoja/ Yala federal constituency and Akpabuyo State constituency respectively.
That, to some, is enough reason for division amongst supporters. It doesn’t however, suggests that the other candidates who slugged it out and their parties were silent. But, their campaigns were not loud enough like the two major parties with many already predicting it will be a two-horse race.
To some, it is expected that the winners will continue to appreciate the electorates and continue to work to justify the confidence reposed in them while to others, this was a sign of political maturity. There are, also, those who believe this is a major concern. Whichever way, ceteris paribus.
Now that the by-elections have come and gone, the polls won and lost and certificates of return presented to various elected candidates, it is time to move the constituencies and the State forward. While winners at this time must be magnanimous in victory, the loser must be gallant in defeat. If service to the people was an underlying factor in seeking elective position, then politicians must know that if they don’t have the opportunity to serve today, they will have the opportunity to serve tomorrow .
Dear winners and losers, it is time to concentrate on healing the wounds inflicted before and during the crushing campaigns and election and unite to develop the constituencies even as it may ultimately end in tribunals.
The winners must know they are not representatives of the APC and PDP respectively rather, representatives of the people of Ogola/Yala federal constituency and Akpabuyo State constituency.
The winners must therefore work to protect the interests of their constituents. Also, the winners should rally around the constituents for unity to ensure those who are in the opposition party are given a sense of belonging and everyone carried along through participatory governance where ideas on how to better the constituencies are achieved.
They must as well bear in mind that those that were wooed like new brides are waiting for the fulfillment of the electoral promises from the victors. However, those who voted for them must not be given preferential treatment above those who did not. In other words, there must be fairness and equity in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities as dividends of democracy.
Furthermore, as candidates and political parties reject the outcome of the two elections and head to the tribunals to give room for Lawyers to don their wig and gowns, argue, counter their motions, present evidence of their allegations as well as adjournments, winners sworn in must know that the genesis to their campaigns promises has just begun knowing fully well that, 2023 is just by the corner for another praise singing.
Cross River North and South, except things change after the election battle, it is therefore to note, there is no winner, no vanquish.
Patrick Obia is a journalist and writes from Calabar, Cross River State.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Patrick Obia, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.