Democratic Politics in Edo State in 2020 and Osun State in 2022 have incontrovertibly established the fact that Nigeria has great potentials for establishing enhanced model of democratic politics; that it is possible to evolve a new kind of politics devoid of the sickening characteristic of the current system especially in the arena of political campaigns and electoral contests. 

On the two referenced historic events (Edo 2020 and Osun 2022), Governor Godwin Obaseki has now established a formidable profile of a pragmatic technocrat who believes in the mobilization and metrics of peoples’ power as the wholesome determinants for outcomes in elections. 

Obasekism has gained credibility as a political paradigm that rises beyond the penchant for vote-buying and the terror of violence during elections.

Applying his overall cerebral capacity and background in impact-focused financial economics, the Edo State Governor is now justifiably renowned for the creative fusion of targeted mass campaign strategy wrapped with forensic data analysis as the model for victories in democratic contests.

The Governor’s electoral strategy being referenced here is inextricable from the successful governing principle and the new citizen-oriented civics which has proved transformative for the life of Edo people in the past six remarkable years. Under the governing philosophy of Obasekism, Edo State has witnessed an engendered new policy direction of economic and political emphasis dedicatedly focused at the best service and interest of the stakeholders in the Democracy.

It is not by any means surprising that the Governor has brought his unique endowments in how he catalyzes economic development as in the manner he engages in politics. It was the quintessential difference in approach to governance and the irreconcilable principal distinction between the Governor and his immediate predecessor that led to their parting of ways.  

There was (and there is) nothing personal. Governor Obaseki comes with new thinking in substance and style to politics in ways that were distinctly different in approach from his immediate predecessor especially in the areas of reckless political patronage. Governor Obaseki’s principle stance was that the expenditure of public resources must be tied to productive and collective profitable outcomes for the citizenry.

It was on the basis of this difference that Edo people were out to deliver their preference in the 2020 Governorship election. 

Although Oshiomhole was not on the ballot, but he was playing godfather to the APC governorship candidate in that 2020 election. Governor Obaseki introduced two major innovations into campaign strategies in the election circle in which he trounced the APC. Instead of focusing on squandering public funds for buying votes, the Governor rather urged his associates and supporters to devote their energies on mass enlightenment based on the achievements and successes of the administration. 

Many were skeptical of the Governor’s campaign plan, but he ( Obaseki) insisted that he had confidence in the people as intelligent electorate who will make appropriate choice when presented with enlightened choices. 

The outcome of the Edo State 2020 gubernatorial race in which Governor Obaseki was resoundingly re-elected solidly underscored the political visionary endowment of Obasekism. 

It was instructive in recent national chronicles of Democracy to see Nigerian voters vehemently rejecting financial inducements in the voting arena while pledging to poll according to their conscience. Till date, it stands as an indestructible testimony that the agents of the APC in the Edo 2020 gubernatorial contest were practically pleading with their looted funds urging the electorate to sell their conscience and vote against Governor Obaseki. The corrupt and unpatriotic bid failed abysmally. 

In addition to the intensive and mass enlightenment campaign, the Governor also applied methods of political data analysis in a way that was unprecedented to the extent that the War Room created for the contest produced historical arithmetical accuracy compared to the ultimate results. 

For most of the observers in the 2020 Edo State gubernatorial election, it was evident that Governor Obaseki was constructing a new road map for a 21st Century model of democratic politics in Nigeria.

It was not therefore a surprise that Governor Obaseki will sacrifice the pleasure of his official vacation to team up and join forces with the 2022 PDP premiere team in Osun State. In tandem with the vibrant PDP Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa Sate and the phenomenal ex-Senate President Bukola Saraki combined with the irrepressible Osun Governo-elect Adeleke and very determined Osun electorate, the PDP team eviscerated the APC political organization.  

The reports that Governor Obaseki played a crucial role in the Osun election does not in any way surprise those who are familiar with the noiseless but profoundly effective campaign style of the Governor. The perpetual analyst in Governor Obaseki has a very uncommon approach to mapping the contours of the political terrain without the bombastic drama of arrogance.
The Obaseki-Osun formula represents the qualitative difference that the Governor brings to electioneering initiatives; this may be a sample of the consequential factor that the Governor could potentially introduce into the victory equation of the 2023 presidential contest.

Oteghe Adams writes from Benin-City, Edo State, Nigeria

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