The Hopelessness of Emotional Blackmail

The Edo state governorship election is long gone but flakes are still flying over allegation by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, one of those declared to have lost out in the contest that the outcome was skewed in favour of the All
Progressives Congress, APC.

As part of plans to give pep to the claims, the party and its flag bearer, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, commissioned the production of a documentary, repeatedly aired mainly both the Africa Independent Television, AIT, and Benin City-based Independent Television, ITV.

However, they alleged that the poll was doctored by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in favour of the All Progressives Party, APC. From all indication, the documentary only succeeded in projecting their claims as mere emotional reaction to the outcome of the election.

In particular, they alleged that policemen purported to be sharing monies did so after collecting same from the APC for a well done ballot paper thumb printing favour. They added that even youth corpers attached as ad hoc INEC staff, took part in the thumb printing job following the manner they claim the APC turned polling stations into “financial institutions”.

Unfortunately, they neither showed proof of what linked either the policemen or corpers to the APC supporters. Worse still, there was no telltale indicator which pinned the policemen, Corpers and money-disbursing agents to the party.

Interestingly however, it turned out that the allegations are part of simple strategy to cry wolf where there are no dogs just so because their strategies, including those they fraudulently alluded to the APC, failed to turn the result in their favour as envisaged.

Increasingly, it is becoming obvious that what happened to the PDP is a classical example of what James Hardley Chase, the globally acclaimed fiction thriller writer, referred to as a “Sucker Punch”. The how is not far to seek.

Along with other PDP die-hard loyalists, the party flag bearer practically celebrated victory on and off the social media even before the election was conducted. So infectious was their confidence that a venue was already decorated and made ready for victory party even before the first voter cast his ballot. Not a few concerned observers wondered aloud about where they got their confidence. But alas, it turned out that it was just a psychological ploy to brow beat the people into holding the view, prior to their loss that they lost because they were rigged out.

There were other ploys designed by the PDP to prime some unsuspecting people of the state into believing that it had victory in the bag even before the election. They were part of a deliberate decision made long before the election to create and present false impression as gospel truth from a man of God.

For instance, before the election, Ize-Iyamu hounded the PDP hierarchy into agreeing to cook up and dish out cocktails of misleading information through mainly the social media, calculated to create the impression that for the pastor’s vaunted political dexterity and popularity, the party won the election long before any ballot was cast. As part of the drill, the social media foot soldiers were mandated to produce magical opinion polls results that gave him run-away leads.

In addition, the party and its flag bearer gave its social media group the matching order to paint even the dandiest effort of either the APC or governorship candidate, now governor-elect, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, as political faux pas. Following the order, they went amok, attacking and accusing the APC or governor elect as being out of sync with reality and disconnected from the people they seek to serve. One example will suffice here.

While the campaign lasted, the PDP and its precious pastor proved that they were very adept at making people see their short comings as strength, the same way they were superb in interpreting their APC opponent’s strength as unpardonable political sins. For instance, they began their campaign by practically painting the state capital red with their poster presence, hand bills and the magical Simple Agenda. For them, the outcome was only comparable to juicy aroma in the nose of a famished refugee.

But when the APC, which strategically opted to delay the display of its PR strength released its own version, which obviously overwhelmed the PDP and its veritable preacher man candidate, they sent their social media hounds into an overdrive. The mission was as simple but with a misleading twist like the content of the all-purpose Simple Agenda. The task was to create the impression that the party was defacing the metropolis and other parts of the states with “meaningless posters”. Only those belonging to the PDP had germane messages.

The PDP and their man of God did not stop at creating the impression that they are the only one that did everything right. They went the extra mile of helping the state to “clean the mess” by unleashing urchins who swooped on every APC poster they could reach, tore them to shreds, removed some completely, deface others as an option and or super-impose pastor’s images on APC’s king size posters. In all, everything they did, even against the law, was right. Every other party, person, particularly the APC, did everything wrong.

But the truth about the PDP and its flag bearer is that they knew from day one that they were pitched against a formidable opponent they had no hope of defeating. However, they decided to latch on his, the pastor’s acclaimed resourceful-political-strategist Moniker. Spiced with his pulpit visage, they were cock sure that they will be able to pull the wool over unsuspecting electorates.

Coincidentally, they had impact of prevailing harsh economic reality and attendant hunger to latch on. Thus the price of rice and Dollar Naira exchange rate became a veritable campaign message. So it was a stroll in the park projecting pastor as a redeemer who shared the pains of the common man. The implication is that his APC opponent is an alien to both the common man, after all he can hardly speak his own Bini language fluently. Just to add a little traction, they added that he knew nothing about the common man’s feelings or pains.

For effects, they ordered the party’s social media foot soldiers to falsely create the impression that only the pastor reached out extensively to the people unlike the APC and or governor-elect who allegedly chose to inundate the electorate with PR blitz as an option. They went to town as instructed but missed the point entirely by insisting that Obaseki conducted his campaign from the comfort of his Benin City campaign office.

As it were, the governor-elect was head and shoulder over any of his other opponents, including PDP’s amiable pastor, both in terms of popularity and physical presence in practically all the units across the state.

For instance, his campaign schedule outside the state capital was so intensely crowded that along with his Team GO campaign group, he often found it impossible to return to the state capital for days on end. At other times, he succeeded only in briefly excusing himself from his tight campaign engagements for important but cameo meeting appearances in the state capital before dashing back to join the campaign trail wherever he left it.

In most cases, he is left with just enough time for quick naps between campaign points. That I can attest because I was there all the way. But just to confound unsuspecting people, the pastor and his group deliberately cooked up the misleading impression that no other party or candidate did anything close to what they did in terms of reaching out to the people.

Clearly but not surprising, the PDP and its flag bearer, employed subtle emotional blackmail as their campaign strategy while electioneering lasted. They have not shown any sign that they are done with it despite the result of the election. Rather than head quietly to the tribunal as every rational individual and group would, they are more at home brewing cocktails of misinformation.

As if that is not enough, they have resorted to hood winking and misleading idle hands into the streets of Benin City in the name of protest as if that will secure victory for them at the tribunal. Sadly too, they added a propaganda-laced documentary which also has no legal input. Just as well, even as propaganda has been the centre point of the pastor’s sermon in his church, he has added the recent raid and arrest of certain judges arguably as part of his larger plan to whip up puerile emotions in his own favour. But in his desperation, he simply cannot see the futility and hopelessness of emotional blackmail.

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