The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday declared Governor Godwin Obaseki of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State.
For the second time, Obaseki defeated his main rival and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu with a wide margin.
In all, 14 political parties participated in the election.
The governorship election result was declared by the state returning officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh who is the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Petroleum, Effurun, Delta State.
Pronouncing Obaseki as winner, he said, “I, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, the Returning Officer for the Edo State Governorship Election do here certified the following votes as scored by the 14 parties that contested the election.
“They are as follows: AA: 107 votes; ADC: 1,370 votes; ADP: 2,374 votes; APC: 223,619 votes; APGA: 177 votes; APM: -57 votes; APP: – 78 votes; LP: – 267 votes; NNPP: – 258 votes; NRM: -573 votes; PDP: 370,955 votes; SDP: -323 votes; YPP: -132 votes; and ZLP: -117.
“I hereby affirm Godwin N. Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election having scored a total of 370,955 of the valid votes cast; and having scores 25 percent of the total votes cast and margin of the lead higher gan cancelled votes is hereby declared winner of the election.”
His added: “That Godwin N. Obaseki, having satisfied the requirement of the law in meeting the 25 percent of the two-third majority votes of the local government areas of the state and having the margin of lead higher than cancelled votes is hereby declared winner and returned elected.”
Earlier, the returning officer announced that there were a total of 557,443 voters; valid votes: 537,407; total votes cast as 550,242 while rejected votes stood at 12,835.
According to the declared results, Obaseki won in 13 local government areas while Ize-Iyamu won in five.
Obaseki also won in all the seven local government areas of Edo South senatorial districts; two of the six local governments in Edo North and all the five local government areas of Edo Central, giving him a clear victory.
Ize-Iyamu had in 2016 suffered a similar defeat in the same contest against Obaseki, albeit on the platform of PDP while Obaseki was candidate of APC.
Obaseki in his appreciation message in Benin City on Sunday also hailed President Muhammadu Buhari, INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders for ensuring a free, peaceful and credible poll in the state.
The governor also thanked Edo people and PDP supporters for their display of immense courage and support in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalisation as he emerged victorious in Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the state.
Obaseki said, “The Great People of Edo State have spoken. They have spoken loud and clear. We thank God Almighty and give him all the glory for this victory.
“Thank you, President Muhammadu Buhari, for defending our democracy and allowing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to perform their constitutional functions without interference.
“INEC and the security services have shown to Nigerians and the world that they are capable of conducting free and credible elections.”
The governor continued: “Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for this triumph over godfatherism.
“I am eternally grateful to my party, PDP and my brother governors not only for giving me the umbrella during my political storm but for the hard work which has brought me back to office.
“Our success has reinforced my belief that there is nothing we cannot achieve as a people if we pull forces together and collectively call on God for support.
“I reiterate that working with my Deputy, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, we are committed to Making Edo Great Again. Thank you for your support”.
River State governor and chairman of PDP campaign council, Nyesom Wike, in a brief remark at Government House in Benin City thanked other PDP governors for their support and described Obaseki as the man whom God used to fight godfatherism in Edo State.
“Edo people have spoken; he (Obaseki) was used to fight for the interest of people,” Wike stated.
Meanwhile, there was jubilation across the state as PDP supporters and residents took to the streets to celebrate Obaseki’s victory. The jubilation led to vehicular gridlock along major streets.
Former PDP governorship aspirants, Barrister Ken Imansuagbon and Senator Clifford Ordia, in separate reactions, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders for ensuring that democracy strive in Edo State.
Also, Edo governorship election observers of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) said the outcome of Saturday’s poll reflected the will of Edo People.
The group also said the governorship poll was not only generally peaceful but 90 per cent violent-free as against the anticipated anxiety and fear over possible breakdown of law and order.
Spokesperson for the group, John Alkpokpo Martins Esq, in an interim report, at the NBA Benin branch conference hall said in spite of voter’s apathy, large percentage of those who turned out for the election were enthusiastic about the process with a considerable level of interest.
APC Reject Results
However, Edo State chapter of APC has rejected the outcome of the election on the allegation of foul play in the process. The party however called on its members to stay calm while its leaders study the result and decide on the next line of action.
Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, in a statement said the party rejected the result, adding that “Our people were arbitrarily arrested; many of the figures were fabricated.”
The terse statement which added that the rejection was only a preliminary reaction further alleged illicit tampering with results, to shore up PDP numbers and mark down APC’s.
“Areas where we won, they cancelled them. They decreased the votes in areas we had advantage,” the party further claimed. “They rejected our results and jerked up theirs.”
The party also claimed there was arbitrary arrest of local party members, who could have resisted the outrage, while Governor Godwin Obaseki was busy diverting attention with false alarm.
President, Govs, Others Congratulate Governor-elect
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday commended the election process in Edo State which led to Obaseki’s victory as declared by INEC.
The president, in a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, congratulated Obaseki and urged him to show grace and humility in victory.
In his reaction to the outcome of the election as announced by INEC,
President Buhari said, “My commitment to free and fair elections is firm, because without free and fair elections, the foundation of our political and moral authority will be weak.
“I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order.
“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with”.
He commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
Adamawa State governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, also congratulated Obaseki on his victory at the poll in a statement signed by Humwashi Wonosikou, chief press secretary to the governor Sunday.
In same vein, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State described Obaseki’s victory as a true reflection of the wishes of Edo people and not the machinations of some individuals and self-made gods.
The governor in a congratulatory message on behalf of the government and people of Benue State thanked the people of Edo for making the right choice of Obaseki at the just concluded governorship election.
Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade, congratulated his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki on his re-election.
A press statement signed by his special adviser, media and publicity, Christian Ita, Ayade described Obaseki’s victory at the polls as well deserved considering his achievements in the past four years.
Also, Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, congratulated the reelected governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy, Phillip Shaibu, describing their re-election as a victory for the people of the state.
Makinde, in a congratulatory message to Obaseki, praised the national campaign council of the PDP led by the governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike for a job well done.
The Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi also congratulated Obaseki for his re-election at the just concluded Edo State governorship election.
In a statement issued in Abakaliki by the Special Assistant to Umahi on Media and Publicity, Mr Francis Nwaze said that though the election was a keenly contested one, Obaseki’s re-election has yet again rekindled hope in the nation’s democracy.
A former governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)
in the November 2019 Kogi State governorship election, Natasha Akpoti, has said that the fear of sanctions by the United States and United Kingdom forced politicians to play by the rules in the just-concluded Edo governorship election.
Edo Poll Has Ended godfatherism, Says PDP, Secondus, Atiku
Meanwhile, Basking in their victory, PDP national leadership said Obaseki’s reelection as Edo State governor is a strong message to political godfathers that power belongs to God.
The party stated this while congratulating the people of Edo State on the re-election of Obaseki whom they described as the people’s choice.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the victory, as won by the people, is historic and serves as a strong, viable and unambiguous lesson to leaders.
He said, “Our party celebrates the resilience and courage exhibited by the people of Edo state in resisting the antics of the enemies of democracy, who, as vote buyers, patrons of lions and tigers, as well as beguilers, attempted to take over the political space of Edo state.
“We rejoice with the Edo people for helping to reset the political culture of our nation by casting their votes, protecting the votes, ensuring that their votes counted and following it, “bumper-to-bumper”, to the final point of declaration.
Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, described the outcome of election as a new dawn in Edo State, adding that Obaseki’s victory is a “Declaration of Independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism.”
He also urged Pastor Ize-Iyamu to accept the right hand of fellowship that is likely to be extended to him by Obaseki whom he described as a magnanimous man.
PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, in his congratulatory message to Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu, said that the electoral victory is a clear affirmation and demonstration of the people’s goodwill in appreciation of the outstanding performance of the governor and his deputy in their first term.
Secondus praised the Edo people for standing up for democracy through their avowed determination to ensure that the will of the people and nobody else, prevailed in their state.
On his part, the 2019 Vice Presidential Candidate of PDP, Mr Peter Obi while congratulating Obaseki and Shuabu on their victory, said it was deserving and a true reflection of the wish of Edo people.
In a statement from his media office, the former Anambra State governor said that he saw the victory coming given the good record of performance of Obaseki in his first term.
Former president of the Senate, Senator David Mark, in a good will message to Obaseki, Shaibu and the PDP family, yesterday described the victory as freedom for the people and enthronement of Democratic culture and practice in the country.
The Senate minority caucus also congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki over what it called ‘his resounding victory’ in the Edo State governorship election held on Saturday.
In a statement issued by the media adviser to the Senate minority leader, Uchenna Awom, the Caucus said as sweet as the victory is, it also signals a new dawn and the ultimate end of Godfatherism in Nigerian politics.
However, PDP House of Representatives members under the auspices of PDP Representatives Caucus, have also congratulated Obaseki on his victory at the just concluded election.
The caucus in a statement signed by Hon. Kingsley Chinda, leader of PDP House of Representatives, said Obaseki’s victory depicted democracy as a reflection of the people’s will to elect a credible leader that will serve the interest of the people and not a few.