BECAUSE THE FUTURE IS AT STAKE ~ Omen Bassey

15th March 2019
The March 9 State House of Assembly Election is now in the realm of history. I thank God I was an active participant, the “outcome” notwithstanding. There are invaluable lessons which can only be learnt through active, direct participation. I’m sure i would have lived in regrets if i failed to throw my hat in the ring in response to the yearnings of our people. Despite the outcome, I feel fulfilled that the majority of our people rejected financial inducements and resisted intimidation to express their longing for a responsible political leadership and effective parliamentary representation through the ballot.

It was a fierce battle against unprecedented mediocrity actively aided, supported and promoted by apparatus of state. Despite their crude methods, they couldn’t and cannot break our spirits. We have put our hands on the plough and we won’t backpedal when those who ought to be passengers continue to take the undeserved role of the drivers of our most critical heritage. It mustn’t be Omen Bassey as a person. We will always stand for what is right. I’m certain the present system and its products will achieve nothing worthwhile. Of course, we are all familiar with the maxim that “You can’t give what you don’t have”.
Sincerely, I have emerged from the contest stronger, happier, wiser, more refreshed, more experienced and more knowledgeable than I have ever been. I’m personally surprised at the level of strength I feel from the inside. No sense of loss; no moment of regrets.
I can attribute this unusual strength to two factors- the grace of God and the goodwill of majority of our people. My political career is founded on God and it will end with Him. He has always supplied everything I needed. He has supplied in abundance, the strength i need at this moment.Truth is, nothing takes Him by surprise.
Nothing makes a genuine candidate feel more fulfilled than the realization that he is genuinely loved, widely appreciated and overwhelmingly supported by the people he seeks to represent. This has been my experience.
While traversing the length and breadth of Urueoffong/Oruko State Constituency and directly engaging constituents ahead of the polls, the warmth and love we experienced were unmistakable. The level of enthusiasm exhibited by supporters was simply infectious. It was pure fun and I intend to sustain my ties with our people in the grassroots. The present system and its products know nothing about the heart rending plights of our people, especially the often forgotten rural dwellers who are only considered useful during elections.
After the announcement of the “results”, the amount of phone calls and text messages I have received and visits by well wishers have combined to reassure me that the future isn’t lost. One day, like others around, our people will start enjoying the fruits of responsible, responsive, sensitive and result oriented political leadership. That’s why I place lots of premium on the educated, enlightened, intellectually strong, morally sound and forward looking young men and women who believe in the ideals we propagate. They will continue the struggle till this entrenched mediocrity and vaunting ignorance take the backseat in our public space. It’s the height of self delusion to put square pegs in round holes and expect a wholesome outcome.
The just concluded election has without a doubt taken electoral infractions and irregularities to unprecedented dimensions. Before today, nobody envisaged a situation where people would shamelessly take large amounts of public funds to polling units and pay directly to impoverished voters in exchange for their votes. Now that poverty has become an effective tool in the hands of government, we are likely to see the scourge in dimensions never known in the past. It’s a pity that young men who were shouting “Not too young to run” have endorsed direct vote buying by government simply because it serves today’s partisan interests. How much personal funds will they accumulate to buy enough votes to win a councillorship election if this evil trend continues? Ultimately, the entire society is the casualty of this new evil. Even the Initiators of this latest electoral evil will be its victims before long as what goes round will definitely come round.
A guy who feels deserving of a lady doesn’t use money to buy her love. Wherever you find financial inducement, there’s a confirmed case of inadequacy,ineligibility, incompetence, inability and non performance. Unfortunately, financial inducement cannot supply inherent capabilities for the accomplishment of assigned tasks.
The past few days have been quite fulfilling. It has been a rare but refreshing moment of rest and deep reflection for me. The joy of reuniting with my family and books has helped to obliterate seeming bad experiences of the recent past. Again, I feel highly fulfilled to have travelled this road. I do not envy those who only specialize in talking without taking the bull by its horns. I don’t know of any competition where prizes are given to bystanders and noisemakers.
In compliance with the directive of our Party, we are obliged to subject the electoral process to legal scrutiny for the sake of posterity. I think we will be both complicit and indebted to upcoming generations if we allow the level of fraud witnessed on March 9 to go unchallenged. This is more about restoring sanity and securing the future of our children than the quest to occupy any office. Iam more interested in my child competing to win or lose in a fair contest than occupying an office which leaves a huge moral baggage on the shoulders of the next generation.
Finally, we can’t afford to abandon our principles and values because of the seeming triumph of forces of stagnation and retrogression. We ought to be proud of what we represent and guard same jealously. No circumstance should make us covet evil and desire unrighteousness. We must continue to stand for what is right because it’s light that has the capacity to dispel darkness and not vice versa.
Iam eternally indebted to the GoodOmen team. You are a study in steadfastness, firmness, doggedness, foresight and sacrifice. Our media volunteers have been most professional, competent and passionate. Indeed, you were driven by raw conviction devoid of any form of inducement and gratification. You want the best for our community and I urge you to continue on this noble path as there’s light beaming at the end of the tunnel. You can’t afford to join others in surrendering to instant gratification to the detriment of the future. Believe me, I will choose you a million times over.
In the final analysis, God remains faithful and the Designer of our future. We will never bow to forces of evil which have taken our community hostage. We will have the last laugh if we faint not. At least, history can copiously attest to the fact that the days of any form of evil become numbered once a struggle against it is sustained. So, retreating can never be an option to even contemplate.

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