*** Says the election is a nascent sign for credible processes in Nigeria, a complete departure from what obtained in 2018
*** Appeals to APC leadership and Stakeholders in Edo to Accept the Results of the Election
*** Urges Obaseki to Extend the Olive branch to Others
By Henry Umoru
FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South Leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his roles and admonitions he gave to the politicians, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the security agencies prior to the poll that led to free, fair and credible election in last Saturday Edo State Governorship election.
In a statement Wednesday in Abuja, Clark who also hailed INEC, security agencies who conducted themselves professionally, before, during and after the election, the people of Edo State for living up to expectations, also congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu on their re-election for second term.
The Elder statesman who also congratulated the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for the victory, said that the election which is a complete departure from what was obtained in 2018 and last year during the conduct of Osun and Kogi States Elections respectively.
Clark who appealed to the leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC in Edo State and all stakeholders to accept the outcome of the election as the decision of the people of Edo State, however, urged them to join hands with the Governor, in the overall interest of the State.
The Elderstateman who called on Governor Obaseki to let bygones be bygones, asked him to extend an olive branch to all, adding, “We hope that Mr. President will issue similar directives to the security agencies, to INEC, and to everybody, on the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State, and the Senatorial by-elections coming up on the 31st of October, 2020.”
The statement read, “The Edo State Governorship election held on Saturday, 19th September 2020, has come and gone. But it is worthy of note to observe that it is a nascent sign of credible electoral processes in our country if the positive things that happened are sustained and improved upon.
“It is for this reason that I want to highly commend His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his roles and admonitions he gave to the politicians, the electoral umpire and the security agencies. that for once, under his watch, INEC was able to conduct a free, fair and credible election, and the security agencies conducted themselves professionally, before, during and after the election.
“This is a great departure from what obtained in previous elections in the country, like the 2018 Osun election, and last year’s Rivers, Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections, just to mention a few.
“President Muhammad Buhari, deserves to be commended and appreciated by all well-meaning Nigerians for his new disposition and commitment to free, fair and credible elections in the country. It will be recalled that two days before the Edo Governorship election, Mr. President issued a strong statement in which he assured the nation of this commitment, and requested political parties, candidates, and security agents to behave responsibly.
“Those who think they can hide under the cloak of President Buhari to commit electoral offences should have a rethink. Anybody who wants to contest election should be ready to do so on their own merit, and not to hide under the cloak of Mr. President, using the security forces to undermine the electoral process.
“In the past, we had condemned Mr. President for being behind the audacious abuses of the electoral system, with the deployment of the so-called “federal might” to harass, intimidate, and deny citizens of their democratic rights.
“I am particularly delighted as the outcome of the election clearly demonstrates that political power truly belongs to the people and we can get it right if the authorities decide not to compromise and truncate the will and desire of the people.
“As the leader of the South-South Zone, former Commissioner for Education, and later Finance and Establishment in Brig. Samuel Ogbemudia’s Government in the old Mid-West State, I know Edo people, and therefore, I commend the people of Edo State for living up to expectations.
“Recall that when Governor Godwin Obaseki was disqualified from participating in the Edo APC Governorship Primary in June this year, I issued a statement to strongly condemn the action, and the failure of the APC national leadership to intervene in the crisis at the time. I further urged the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to take advantage of the unfortunate situation and adopt the Governor as their candidate. I also advised Governor Obaseki and his supporters, to be courageous, and test his popularity, with the people of Edo State, and citizens resident in Edo State. And that the people of Edo State, and Providence, should decide his fate, not “one man”, or a group of politicians. I am glad they did.
“I thank Governor Obaseki and the PDP for taking my advice, his Deputy, Philip Shuabu for his resilience, being a true ally, and for his doggedness. Congratulations to you all. The good people of Edo State, well done!
“As leader of the South-South I was indeed very apprehensive. Therefore, I thank the Almighty God that it all ended peacefully, however, not without a few casualties. It is on this note that I wish to commensurate with families, friends and loved ones of the person who was reportedly killed. I hope investigations will be carried out and the perpetrators brought to book. I also pray for those who sustained varying degrees of injuries, to recuperate fast. I must not also forget to commend the Returning Officer of the Elections, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh and his team for a job well done.
“I am happy that Mr. President has even gone further to congratulate Governor Godwin Obaseki on his winning the Governorship elections. It is heartwarming that the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the national level, through its Caretaker Committee Chairman, His Excellency Mai Mala Buni, the Executive Governor of Yobe State, has equally congratulated Governor Obaseki, after a visit to Mr. President accompanied by Governor Abdullahi Ganduji of Kano State, who was the Chairman of the Edo State APC Governorship National Campaign Council.
“I appeal to the leadership of APC in Edo State and all stakeholders to accept the outcome of the election as the decision of the people of Edo State, and join hands with the Governor, in the overall interest of the State. While I call on Governor Obaseki to let bygones be bygones, and extend an olive branch to all.
“We hope that Mr. President will issue similar directives to the security agencies, to INEC, and to everybody, on the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State, and the Senatorial by-elections coming up on the 31st of October, 2020.
“Finally, I wish to also commend the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) on their determination to strengthen democracy in Nigeria through their various actions, leading to the Edo governorship election.”