By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has presented a Certificate of Return to the Edo State governor-elect, Mr Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Philip Shuaibu.
Obaseki defeated his closest rival, the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, after polling 319,483 votes as against 253,173 votes polled by Ize-Iyamu.
National Commissioner of INEC in-charge of the South-South zone, Dr Mustapha Lecky, who presented the certificate, commended stakeholders in the state for the conduct of a peaceful election, saying that INEC will continue to improve in the conduct of elections in the country.
In his address, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Sam Olumekun, who described the election as historic in the life of INEC and Edo people said, “It is a historic day not only in the lives of our new leaders but also in the lives of Edo people. It is the dawn of a new era.”
Obaseki, who responded after receiving the certificate, in company of his Deputy, Shaibu, thanked God and the people of Edo State for their support, saying that he joined the race to serve and not to enrich himself.
According to him, “Let me start by thanking God Almighty and also the REC and INEC Chairman for conducting what has been adjudged one of the most peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in the state.
“I feel so exited today because I decided to enter politics because I felt it was time to expand the polity. I see my role as one of a torch bearer so as to attract resources into our democratic space.
“Because I was cognisant of the fact I had to run my campaign as professionally as possible, dealing with the issues that concern our people and trying to down play the none issues. Today’s result has proved that we can be open, we don’t have to tell lies, we don’t have to deceive our people to get electoral success.
“I want to assure everybody here that I decided to become governor because I want to serve and I will put your interests over and above my personal interest.”