SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
SUPPORTERS of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo State, were yesterday in a celebratory mood over the victory of Mr. Godwin Obaseki in the governorship election held in the state with many describing the outcome of the exercise as the triumph of light over darkness.
Leading the jubilant crowd was the state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his wife, Lara Oshiomhole, who embarked on a road show across the ancient city of Benin.
Obaseki polled 51.3% of the total votes cast in the election, according to the results declared yesterday.
He was trailed by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who polled 40% of the votes cast.
This came as the state government dismissed reports to the effect that there were protests across the state.
Stating this in a statement yesterday, the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Prince Kassim Afegbua, said: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports stating that Benin residents were protesting the outcome of the governorship election which was won by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. We also read a statement from the Nigeria Police Zone 5, banning unlawful rallies and protests.
“To state the obvious, there are no groups of persons or parties protesting in Edo State as a consequence of the elections. At any rate, if anyone or group wants to protest, the Nigeria Police has no right to declare such rallies illegal or banning them , insofar there are no security breaches.
“Under any democratic setting, individuals have the right to free speech and lawful assembly. And after the conduct of elections, the winners are bound to celebrate and jubilate, while the losers are bound to agonize, protest and lament over the loss. There are two sides to any electoral contest.
‘’The Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole marched through the major streets of Benin City yesterday in the company of the Governor-elect Mr. Godwin Obaseki and thousands of party supporters celebrating the victory.
“There was nothing to suggest that there were people protesting. If anything, an enthusiastic crowd and onlookers were waving in admiration whilst praising the APC, the governor and the Governor-elect for a victory well-deserved.’’
On his part, the Vice Chairman Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs said: “I want to appreciate God for this peaceful election that we just had. We have always prayed and they always criticize me because they are not connected to God they lost the election. I said in my previous interview that this election is between light and darkness.
“I want to appreciate Ize-Iyamu and as a man of God, he should put this issue behind him. The election is one of the most transparent elections we have ever had. Opoji my community is a peaceful place but they came to fight our people by taking away the two card readers. I earlier said it that this election is between light and darkness and that was what happened.
“Traditional rulers in Esan land knew that Obaseki will win and he was endorsed despite opposition from Chief Anenih. I am happy that APC still came out victorious in Opoji and to crown it all, God gave him victory. This is how democracy should be. The PDP were using money to buy votes in Opoji and we stood our ground to vote Obaseki.
“When I said the PDP candidate cannot fly, they thought I didn’t know what I was saying. The people of the state have spoken and my advice is that he should do better than Oshiomhole. Ize-Iyamu should not waste his time contesting the outcome of the election which is generally adjudged as the freest and fairest election the state has witnessed.
A former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Thomas Okosun, said: “APC is the only party that has brought hope to our people. Yes, we have won but we have to pray for him so that we can sustain the jobs started by Comrade Oshiomhole.
“We have to work hard and bring improvement in the lives of our people and Nigerians as a whole. It shows that Obaseki was generally accepted by our people while the other party was rejected and the results were clear.
“What development did the PDP bring to us? We were fortunate to produce the highest number of Ministers in this country but these we have not seen anything from them. Anenih and Onolemenmen are from Uromi and all the appointments had gone to Uromi. What did they do for Ekpoma people, what did they do for Irrua or Opoji? nothing. We are happy that Obaseki won. ‘’