OPINION: Blatant Lies In The Name Of Politics
Call it wicked lies or absolute falsehood and you will not be far from right. The build-up to the August 9th gubernatorial election in the State of Osun was fraught with a lot of propaganda and evil machinations. The federal might was brought to bear on the hapless citizens of the state. Hooded security officials were brought to the state to do the bidding of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by installing an unpopular candidate.
Not only were soldiers, who ought to be drafted to Sambisa forest, deployed to the State of Osun, policemen, members of the Department of the State Security, Nigeria Security and Defence Corps personnel and anti-bomb squad were mobilized to Osun because an election was to take place.
To their utmost surprise, however, the people were determined and resolute that they would stand by the truth and ensured that justice prevailed. They voted and ensured that their votes counted. Among the lies told against Governor Rauf Aregbesola before the election was that he planned to turn Osun into an Islamic State. He was also accused of planning secession. How ridiculous and ludicrous this assertion can be knowing full well that the state is in the heart of the country and such cannot be done alone.
Some people have turned blatant lies into an art and feel that politics cannot be practiced without lying to the people. Some politicians just sit down and cook up stories and begin to spread it around.
In the case of Osun, some politicians and their followers were so gullible to believe that Governor Rauf Aregbesola was of unsound mind and could not undertake the task of governance in the State of the Virtuous. It was because of these negative tendencies that in the 60s, some people were of the view that politics was not meant for good people or men of God. However, if we continue to hold that position, it means we would have relegated our basic duties to riff-raffs and nonentities, who would lead us astray.
The last election in the State of Osun brought out the desperadoes in some of the opposition political parties.
The candidate of the major opposition party was cocksure sure that he had the governorship title to pick on the election day. Cabinet in-waiting had been formed, people to be dismissed from civil service have been pencilled down, men and women to replace current office holders in agencies and organizations have been drawn up.
A seeming aura of a governor had enveloped the major opposition candidate before the election. He had during his electioneering campaigns alluded to the fact that some traditional rulers would be destooled. Things were done with impunity. He chose not to campaign on any solid issue except the fact that he will undo all that the sitting governor had done.
He also told the people at his campaigns that the supporters of the government party do not know the value of the ballot papers, so it should be retrieved from them.
The supposing overwhelming support of the federal might was the basis for that audacious posturing realizing that, resources in terms of money and security personnel would be at his beck and call.
Strong supporters of the All Progressives People’s Congress (APC) were either arrested by phantom security personnel wearing masks on the eve of election day or were chased out of town.
In all their calculations, they forgot to factor-in providence or the will and determination of the people to take their fate in their hands.
Propaganda, which is false information emphasizing just one part of a situation, is allowed in politics and even in international politics, albeit not outright falsehood.
What transpired in Osun before and during election was outright ignominy. There were subtle attempts by the opposition party in the state to change election results. Some even attributed the delay in the pronouncement of the winner of the election to a shenanigan sort of.
Some analysts have concluded that the resort to the Election Petition Tribunal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was a ploy to keep their supporters together, else, they would abandon ship.
First, it was the misinformation or misinterpretation of the Appeal Court verdict in Akure that refused the prayer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as it affected the 2011 general elections, that sent is some ignoramus into wild jubilation.
The opposition party went to town that the court had nullified all the election conducted by INEC in the state in 2011, when the substantive Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ambassador Rufus Akeju, held sway, which is absolute falsehood.
The latest of the malicious lies is that the Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) ordered inspection team of ballot papers has recounted the votes in the disputed 17 local government council areas and that the report shows that Iyiola Omisore has more valid votes than Aregbesola. In reality, only ballot papers in five local government council areas have been inspected as at Thursday, October 30th. Unfortunately the African Independent Television (AIT) fell for it and fed its teeming viewers with the false information. This, the television station has retracted the news item and apologized for being misled.
Desperado and malicious lies cannot win election. It requires solid preparation with good manifesto.