The All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday kicked against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) declaration of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State.
The development came after Governor Obaseki floored the candidate of the ruling party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and eclipsed the influence of his predecessor and immediate APC National chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Edo State was literally turned into a carnival of some sort immediately the INEC declared Governor Obaseki reelected having scored a total of 307, 955 votes as against his closest rival, Pastor Ize-Iyamu who polled 223,619.
It was wild jubilation in the entire state as supporters of PDP and Governor Obaseki emptied into the streets, with the shouts of “4+4, torgba”, “PDPpppp”, “Obasekiiiii”, while others drove their cars on top speed, blowing their horns.
In his appreciation message in Benin City on Sunday, Governor Obaseki hailed Edo people and supporters of his party, the PDP for their display of immense courage and support in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalisation in the build up and during the election.
He hailed President Muhammadu Buhari, the INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders who participated in the conduct of the gubernatorial election for ensuring a free, peaceful and credible poll 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.”
He added: “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 the Peoples Democratic 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.”
Meanwhile, the APC, Edo State chapter, has alleged foul play in the election, but called on party members to stay calm while party leaders study the result and decide what next to do.
The party in a statement issued by the Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, rejected the result, citing alleged strong arm tactics.
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.
“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 statement said.
The party, however, told its members to stay calm, thanking them for their support, and adding that party leaders were studying the result and would announce their decision and course of action as soon as possible.
In the same vein, the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, corroborated the position of his party that he was “studying the results along with other party members and will announce the next line of action soon”.
Ize-Iyamu in his verifiable Twitter handle said: “I hereby thank and appreciate my teeming supporters, who have had to endure many evils including being prevented from exercising their franchise, for their support and determination during the election process.
“I assure you all that I am studying the results along with other party members and will announce the next line of action soon. God bless you all”, he said.
But the PDP said the outcome of the election is a lesson to political leaders that power belongs to God.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan at a press briefing, in Abuja, yesterday, said no matter how an individual strives to lord it over others, it is God, who confers power through the people.
Ologbondiyan, commended the people of Edo for their resilience and courage resisting “the antics of the enemies of democracy”.
The PDP spokesman implored President Muhammadu Buhari to continue to ensure that the people are allowed to freely choose their leaders at all elections.
“On account of the reverberation of this victory across the length and breath of our country, the PDP implores President Muhammadu Buhari to continue in this new found spirit of ensuring that the people are allowed to freely choose their leaders at all elections.
“Our party states this in our belief that in spite of his administration’s failure in other spheres of life as well as in previous elections, if Mr. President can continue to toe this new line of allowing for electoral uprightness, history will be beckoned to be kind to him”, he said.
Ologbondiyan commended the INEC for the use of virtual portal to upload results directly from the polling unit.
The opposition, while stating that the virtual portal made it impossible for electoral violators to hijack this electoral process, called on INEC to sustain the tempo in future polls, especially in the October 10, 2020 Ondo governorship election.
The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, also in a statement by his media aide , Ike Abonyi, congratulated Obaseki on his victory at the governorship poll.
Secondus noted that last Saturday’s governorship election is far better than any previous elections conducted under the President Buhari administration and urged the President to sign the Amended Electoral Act.