Edo Decides: Early signs of a transition from party-based elections?

Sherriff Tahiru
5 min readSep 21, 2020
Villagers using drums and local musical instruments to mobilize people. Photo Credit: Blaize Itodo

In January 2019 the biggest catchphrase was ‘Nigeria Decides’. This catchphrase was used extensively across social media handles during the period. It indicated that Nigerians were going to the polls to decide on their own leadership with their votes. Today, as in the last general elections, the question still comes to mind if it really is Nigerian’s doing the deciding when it comes to the country’s political leadership.

Over one year later, observing the Edo elections remotely, the new catch-phrase is ‘Edo Decides’. The Edo state elections also came out as a great win for the PDP and an exemplary story for incumbent governor’s. Obaseki had to decamp after being ousted in the election primaries by his former political party the APC. He single-handedly fought against his former political party, stood against the desires of his former political godfather, campaigned against the incumbent political party, and some say, against the Oba of Benin — and he won.

Photo Credit: Google Images

A popular quote has emerged following the elections ‘Edo No Be Lagos’ as a reference to the state being less influenced by state machinery and the incumbent political party, and more reflecting the will of the people. Street-to-street level jubilation has been ongoing in Edo state because of how people have ‘felt’ about the clashes between the previous governor and the incumbent one, as well as the two leading political parties.

After a long and intense campaign which included: APC leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s online video calling for the voting out of incumbent governor Obaseki, a trending video of Obaseki rallying people to fight against godfatherism with the ‘FEM’ theme song by Davido, and an unbelievable amount of police officers dispatched to Edo state for the election, the whole drama ended in a win for Obaseki.

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The PDP victory in Edo state is a reflection of what often happens when party interests conflict with the interests of the people. It is also an example of the relational power of super-powers: the…

Sherriff Tahiru

Researcher | Columnist | Analyst