The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Sunday declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Godwin Obaseki, winner of the Edo state governorship election.
The results from the 18 local government areas of the state announced by INEC Returning Officer Professor Akpofure Rim-Rukeh indicated that Governor Obaseki polled a total of 307,955 votes to floor his All Progressives Congress (APC) contender, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who scored 223,619 votes.
Obaseki was elected on APC’s platform in 2016 but defected to the PDP after being denied the ticket owing to intra-party squabbles. He has been at daggers drawn with the sacked National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who had vowed to teach the Edo governor a political lesson.
Victory indication of Buhari as defender of democracy – Gov-elect
Shortly after his declaration as governor-elect, Obaseki declared that the outcome of the 2020 poll in Edo state was a reflection of the will of the people, saying “The great people of Edo state have spoken and they have spoken loud and clear.
“Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation, and brutalisation. “The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us this triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to Edo people.”
He hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for providing a level playing field during the election, thanking Mr President for “defending our democracy and allowing the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security services to perform their constitutional functions without interference.”
“INEC and the security services have shown Nigerians and the world indeed that they are capable of conducting free and credible elections.
“Words fail me in saluting the teaming supporters who displayed courage in the face of fierce intimidation and brutalisation. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism.
“I’m eternally grateful to my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and my brother-governors, not only for giving us the umbrella during our political storm, but for the hard works which has brought me back as governor.
“Our success has reinforced my belief that there is nothing we cannot achieve as a people if we put forces together and collectively call on God for support.
“In conclusion, I reiterate to all of you today, that working with my deputy, Philip Shaibu, we are committed to make Edo great again.”
Ize-Iyamu concedes defeat, Edo PDP kicks
Meanwhile, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Osagie Ize-Iyamu while congratulating the PDP candidate for the victory, admitted that he lost the election.
Reacting via his Twitter handle, Ize-Iyamu wrote,“Edo people have decided, we thank you all! Congratulations to the opposition party! They have won! Election no be war. It’s time to work (more) harder for the next 4 years. Congratulations.”
The All Progressives Party (APC) in Edo state however rejected the results of the state governorship election which held on Saturday alleging foul play.
The party called members to stay calm while leaders study the result and decide the next line of action.
Returning Officer in the election, Professor Agofure Rukeh of Federal University of Petroleum Technology, Efurun, returned Governor Godwin Obaseki reelected after he polled 307,955 votes
In a terse statement by the chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, Sunday, the party citing alleged strong arm tactics, saying: “Our people were arbitrarily arrested, many of the figures were fabricated.”
The party further alleged illicit tampering with results, “to shore up PDP numbers and mark down APC,” stressing; “Areas where we won, they cancelled them. They decreased the votes in areas we had advantage. They rejected our results and jerked up theirs.”
Continuing, the party 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.”
“Obaseki shouted that he was being rigged out and blamed INEC at the initial stage but that was to divert attention from the evil going on in the field, the party alleged.
PDP commends Buhari, INEC, others
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commended President Muhammadu Buhari, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and requested that subsequent elections be free, fair and credible like that of Edo state, won by its candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki.
In a press conference by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, Sunday at the party headquarters the party 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.”
The party added that, “on account of the reverberation of this victory across the length and breadth of our country, the PDP implores President Muhammadu Buhari to continue in this newfound spirit of ensuring that the people are allowed to freely choose their leaders at all elections.”
“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.
“We however call on INEC to strengthen its processes, particularly in the area of card readers, to forestall the type of delays witnessed in accreditation of voters.
“Our party also notes the improvement in the activities of our security agencies compared to past elections. We hope that our security organs will continue in this stead in future elections.
“Furthermore, the PDP applauds the international community for their keen observation of our electoral processes as well as profiling of those who are bent on undermining our democracy and making free and fair elections appear impossible in Nigeria.
“We urge the international community and all lovers of democracy not to relent in providing necessary advisory to our leaders on the conduct of our elections.
Buhari congratulates gov-elect
Following the announcement, President Muhammadu Buhari immediately commended the election process in Edo state which led to the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The president congratulated the winner and urged him to show grace and humility in victory.
In his reaction to the outcome of the election as announced by INEC, the president 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.”
Obaseki’s victory end to godfatherism – Atiku, Ekweremadu, Umahi, others
Similarly, the presidential candidate Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last general election, foemer Vice President Atiku Abubakar said Governor Godwin Obaseki’s victory in the Edo governorship election signalled the end to godfatherism in Nigeria.
In a statement he personally signed, Atiku said “It’s a new dawn in Edo state, and the hard-won victory of Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki is not just a victory but a declaration of independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism. No victory could be sweeter than this, and I heartily congratulate the governor and the good people of Edo state for their resilience in the face of the forces arrayed against them.
“Edo has a rich history as the centre of Black civilisation, and to this, she is adding a new history as the bastion of Nigerian democracy. This double whammy of ancient and modern glories is testament to a people who have for centuries set the pace as a beacon of light on the African continent, Atiku added.
In a reaction, the Senate Minority Caucus and immediate past Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu also congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki over his victory in the governorship election in Edo state.
In separate statements in Abuja on Sunday, they described Obaseki’s victory as final burial for godfatherism in the state and commended the Edo electorate for bringing the feat to pass.
The Senate Minority Caucus in a statement signed by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, noted that as sweet as the victory, it also signalled a new dawn and the ultimate end of godfatherism in Nigeria politics.
“Going forward, I believe that the Edo people through their overwhelming endorsement of Governor Obaseki and PDP sent the right signal across, affirming that never again should any political party succumb to the undemocratic machination of some few, who like to play tin-god because of their supposedly rich pocket.
“This victory is a soothing balm not only for Edo people, but also for the entire country especially against the backdrop of the excruciating sufferings and hardship foisted on the people by the All Progressive Congress (APC) led federal government,” he said.
From Benue state, Governor Samuel Ortom 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.
Governor Ortom in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, commended the dogged determination of Governor Obaseki to overcome intimidation and uphold the mandate his people popularly gave him.
Okowa lauds Obaseki his re-election
Delta state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa congratulated his Edo counterpart, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu on their re-election.
Okowa in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika in Asaba on Sunday described the re-election of Obaseki as “the confirmation of the will of the people” and called on Nigerians to always stand for good leaders as Edo people did for the governor.
He stated that the people of Edo across the 18 local government areas of the state spoke loudly and clearly in their reaffirmation of the choice of Obaseki as their governor.
The governor, who is the Chairman of South-south Governors’ Forum, said that with the re-election of Obaseki, the entire region was now being ruled by the PDP.
“Let me congratulate my brother governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, on their victory in the Sept. 19 governorship election in Edo.
“It is heart-warming to see you re-emerge as governor of Edo against all odds and I am grateful to the people of Edo for shunning the entreaties of retrogressive forces who were deviously-bent on subverting the wishes of the people,” he said.
Opportunity to further develop Edo state – Umahi
Ebonyi state Governor, Chief David Umahi Sunday congratulated the Edo state counterpart, Godwin Obaseki on his re-election, saying his victory has provided an opportunity to further develop the state.
A statement signed by the Special Adviser to Governor Umahi, Francis Nwaze, quoted Umahi to have keenly monitored Obaseki’s re election, noting that it rekindled hope in the nation’s democracy and the electoral process which has allowed, unhindered, the wishes and aspirations of the people to prevail.
The statement further quoted Umahi to have pointed out that Obaseki’s electoral value and capacity to deliver democratic dividends, that it explained why the Edo people closed ranks and returned him in a landslide victory.
“Your re-election has confirmed your electoral appeal in Edo state. Remember not the former things, get to work and take Edo state to another greater heights,” he said.
Yiaga lauds INEC, says Edo credible
A civil society group Yiaga Africa while reacting to the outcome of the election lauded INEC, after describing the poll as generally credible, stating that it is consistent with parallel vote tabulation estimate.
Executive Director, Samson Itodo in a press statement issued on Sunday said his verdict was based on reports from 96 %( 241 of 250) of sampled polling units.
According to him, Yiaga Africa’s statistical analysis showed that the APC should receive between 39.1% and 46.3% of the vote; the PDP should receive between 52.5% and 59.7% of the vote; while no other party will receive more than 1% of the vote share.
He said INEC official result for the 2020 Edo state governorship election is consistent with the Yiaga Africa WTV estimate.
He further said had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA or state collation centres, the official results would not have fallen within the Yiaga Africa WTV estimated ranges.
“Because the official results fall within the estimated ranges, governorship contestants, parties, and voters should have confidence that INEC’s official results for the 2020 Edo gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units.
“It is important to highlight that the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the two political parties that received the most votes.
“ At 94% of polling units, counting had concluded by 4:30 pm.Incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence were reported in only 4% of polling units during counting.
“ Further, at 94% of polling units, APC party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form and at 97% of polling units, PDP party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form.
“At 81% of polling units, party agents from all parties present received a copy of the EC.8A results form.
“INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots are also consistent with Yiaga Africa WTV estimates.
“Yiaga Africa is able to estimate that turnout is 27.4% with a margin of error of ±2.1% (between 25.3% and 29.5%) while INEC’s official turnout is 25%.
“Similarly, Yiaga Africa estimates rejected ballots are 1.8% with a margin of error of ± 0.6% (between 1.2% and 2.4%) while INEC’s official result for rejected ballots is 2.3%. These results are consistent,” he said.