…Buhari, Atiku, Bode George, governors, others hail Obaseki
…It was a contest between Edo people and Oshiomhole — Owie
…Poll massively rigged, we’ll decide on next step —APC
…I’m studying situation, ‘ll meet with my party for action, says Ize-Iyamu
By Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru, Gabriel Enogholease, Festus Ahon, Ozioruva Aliu, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Dirisu Yakubu, Chris Ochayi, Peter Okutu, Ike Uchechukwu, Tordue Salem, Bashir Bello & Olayinka Ajayi
BENIN CITY – At exactly 2.45 pm yesterday, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was returned as winner of the Edo State governorship election, ending three months of rigorous, testy and acrimonious campaigns that heated up the polity.
Declaring the final results yesterday at the Benin office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, State Returning Officer, Professor Akpofure Rim-Rukeh who is the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Petroleum, Efurun, said Obaseki met the requirements to be so declared, having polled 307,955 votes to beat his main rival, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who scored 223,619 votes.
Obaseki won in 13 of the 18 local councils, leaving five for Ize-Iyamu.
The governor won the seven local councils in Edo South Senatorial District, five in Edo Central and one out of the six in Edo North.
Conversely, Ize-Iyamu won five of the six local councils in Edo North. Curiously, Ize-Iyamu lost in his Orhionmwon Local Government area. In essence, Obaseki won Edo South and Edo Central while Ize-Iyamu won Edo North.
The announcement of Obaseki as winner elicited wild jubilation in Edo as people trooped out in celebration. The victory also generated a groundswell of felicitations for an elated Governor Obaseki, who thanked Edo people for their faith in him and promised sustenance of development in his second term.
However, Pastor Ize-Iyamu and the Edo APC Campaign Council cried foul, claiming that the poll was massively manipulated for Obaseki and added that they would meet to decide on the next line of action.
Among those, who saluted Obaseki on his victory were President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi.
How Obaseki won
The returning officer said: “Godwin N. Obaseki, having satisfied the requirement of the law in meeting the 25 per cent of the two-third majority votes of the local government areas of the state and having the margin of lead higher than cancelled votes is hereby declared winner and returned elected.
“I hereby affirm Godwin N. Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election having scored a total of 307,955 of the valid votes cast and having scored 25 per cent of the total votes cast and margin of the lead higher than cancelled votes is hereby declared winner of the election.”
Professor Rim-Rukeh had earlier declared the total results as follows: AA- 107 votes, ADC- 1,370 votes , ADP -2,374 votes, APC -223,619 votes, APGA -177 votes, APM -57 votes, APP – 78 votes, LP- 267 votes, NNPP – 258 votes, NRM -573 votes, PDP -370,955 votes, SDP -323 votes, YPP -132 votes, and ZLP -117 votes.
Ize-Iyamu, APC to decide on next step
Speaking on the result on his twitter handle @pastorizeiyamu, Ize-Iyamu said: “I thank and appreciate my supporters, who had to endure many evils including being prevented from voting, for their support and determination during the election. I assure you all that I am studying the results along with other party members and will announce my next move soon.”.
The APC in Edo State also alleged foul play in the election, and called on party members to stay calm while party leaders study the result and decide next step.
A statement by the chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki said the party rejected the result, citing alleged strong arm-tactics.
“Our people were arbitrarily arrested, many of the figures were fabricated,” said the terse statement, which the party said was only a preliminary reaction.
It further alleged illicit tampering with results, to shore up PDP numbers and mark down APC’s. “Areas where we won, they cancelled them. They decreased the votes in areas we had advantage,” the party further claimed. They rejected our results and jerked up theirs.”
The party also claimed there was arbitrary arrest of local party members, who could have resisted the outrage, while Governor Obaseki was allegedly 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.
It’s triumph over godfatherism – Obaseki
Accepting his victory, Obaseki hailed Edo people and supporters of the PDP, for their display of “immense courage and support in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization.”
He also thanked President Buhari for allowing the INEC and security agencies to carry out their responsibilities without hindrances.
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.”
The governor continued: “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 and my brother governors not only for giving me the umbrella during my political storm but also 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 pool 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,” he added.
Buhari congratulates Obaseki, tasks him on grace, humility in victory
President Buhari was one of the first people to congratulate Obaseki. President Buhari in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, also urged the governor to show grace and humility in victory. He commended the election process in Edo State which led to Obaseki’s victory.
He 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.”
He commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
It’s a watershed — Wike
Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council, Governor Nyesom Wike described the victory as a watershed.
He said: “All our efforts are not in vain. My brother has been declared the winner of the 2020 governorship election in Edo State. Let me thank my colleagues, the governor of Delta State, Oyo State and all other people who served in the campaign council, I do not know how to thank them.
“I also thank the governor of Edo State for giving us the necessary support that led to this victory. Few hours ago we were here to brief you on what was going on and thank God thereafter the announcement came. We also thank all those who worked in the campaign council in Edo, we want to formally thank all of you. Let me now formally welcome the newest governor of Edo, the man who God used to fight godfatherism. If for nothing, we have achieved the fact that there is nothing called godfatherism again in Edo politics. Edo people have spoken and they have said their destiny cannot be in one man’s hand and that was what they did yesterday (Saturday). We want to thank him for putting himself to be used to fight for the interest of the Edo people. I congratulate you and your deputy.”
It’s victory for Edo people – Owie
Former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Roland Owie said the election was a contest between PDP, Edo people and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
“I must confess to you that this election was not a contest between Governor Obaseki and Pastor Ize-Iyamu, it was an election between Godwin Obaseki, Edo people and Adams Oshiomhole. It was an election between light and darkness. The Edo people are never slaves, they can be house boys and house girls to their uncles but no Edo person has been a slave and so if Pastor Ize-Iyamu was to win election, the people of Edo would have become slaves. The entire world, all Edo indigenes at home and abroad who didn’t even know Obaseki and were not interested in PDP, rose against godfatherism and impunity. It was an election between Oshiomhole and Edo people, an election between Oshiomhole and the good people in politics.”
Edo people rejected bullion van democracy —Bode George
Former Deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George, commended the people of Edo State for re-electing Governor Obaseki, saying they have spoken loud and clear
George, in a statement, said: “The good people of Edo State have spoken loud and clear. They have spoken without ambiguity, without equivocal expression. They were bold and brave. They rejected the bullion van democracy. They stood against outside interlopers . “The Edo people were firm and committed to the purity of the democratic process. In the end , their will has prevailed.
“I congratulate Governor Obaseki for this well-deserved victory. I congratulate our party managers who pulled through this victory by ensuring that the right things were done at the right time.
“The election was peaceful, fair and just. The security operatives were much alert to their responsibilities. INEC too conducted itself in a worthy manner. It was apparently neutral and committed itself to the fairness doctrine which is the hallmark of democracy itself.
President Buhari has equally lived up to his words when he observed before the election that he will basically ensure that there will be no interference with the democratic process. “There may yet be a renewal for the Nigerian democracy with Edo State trail blazing decision.
“And as for those who have appropriated the treasury of Lagos state as their private coffers, brazenly swaggering in their bullion van democracy, it is obvious that their time is up. Even here in Lagos, there is a dawning realization that the slave-drivers will soon be chased out of town through the ballot box. Lagosians are equally sick and tired of 21 years underdevelopment and massive gutting of their treasury. Enough of the primitive, monetized ways of godfathetism.”
PDP’s victory finally buries godfatherism – Senate PDP caucus
Also speaking, the Senate Caucus of the PDP said yesterday that the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has finally buried Godfatherism.
In a statement yesterday by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South), the Senators congratulated Governor Obaseki on his resounding victory in the governorship election in Edo State.
Senator Abaribe who noted that as sweet as the victory is, it also signals a new dawn and the ultimate end of godfatherism in Nigeria politics.
Senator Abaribe who also hailed the PDP for its tenacity and resilience in the face of manifest intimidations, said the victory further confirmed that power ultimately belongs to the people and not to some phantom individuals who think they can play God and toy with the will and wishes of the people.
Abaribe said: “Going forward, I believe that 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.”
PDP Reps, minority leader fete Obaseki
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu described Governor Obaseki’s re-election by the people of Edo state as deserving.
The Minority Leader, in a statement said his sterling performance in developing the state and empowering the people during his first tenure, gave him the victory.
Elumelu urged Governor Obaseki to continue providing good governance for the people of Edo state, which was the basis of his incontestable victory in the election.
Also, PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives speaking through their leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP- Rivers) said: “Governor Obaseki’s victory depicts democracy as a reflection of the people’s will to elect a credible leader that will serve the interest of the people and not a few.”
Rep. Chinda also congratulated “the people of Edo State for coming out en mass to vote and protect same despite hitches of voting in some local government areas.”
Umahi, Okowa, speak
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, while saluting Governor Obaseki on his re-election observed that, though it was a keenly contested election, Obaseki’s re-election has rekindled hope in the nation’s democracy and the electoral process which allowed the wishes and aspirations of the people to prevail.
Umahi, in a statement his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Francis Nwaze, pointed out that Obaseki’s electoral value and capacity to deliver democratic dividends explained why the Edo people closed ranks and returned him in a landslide victory. He urged Obaseki to remember not the former things but chart a new course for greater Edo State.
In like manner Governor feanyi Okowa described the re-election of Governor Obaseki as the confirmation of the will of the people, and called on Nigerians to always stand for good leaders as Edo people just did for Obaseki.
Okowa in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, said the entire South-South region was now being ruled by the PDP.
Okowa, who is the Chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum, said: “Let me congratulate my brother Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, on their victory in the September 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.
“Let me also thank the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for being truly independent as required by the laws of our land. The most significant aspect of this victory is the peaceful outcome of the election as Edo people proved pundits wrong by ensuring that the elections were devoid of violence.”
PDP, Obi congratulate Obaseki
The PDP, while congratulating Governor Obaseki, and his deputy, Philip Shaibu described their victory as historic.
Addressing a press conference at the party secretariat, Abuja, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, also commended the people for staying vigilant while the exercise lasted.
“This victory, as won by the people, is historic and serves as a strong, viable and unambiguous lesson to leaders.
“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.
“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.
“Our party commends traditional institutions, faith-based organizations, youth groups, market women, artisans, community associations, trade unions, traditional leaders and other stakeholders in Edo state for standing up for their state during her critical moments,” he said.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and security agencies for their respective roles in making the exercise hitch-free.
“On account of the reverberation of this victory across the length and breath of our country, the PDP implores President 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.’’
“The PDP restates our support for the actions taken so far by the US and UK in restricting electoral violators from visiting their countries and we urge them not to restrain on further sanctions against such individuals for their sinister roles in our elections.”
“The PDP appreciates the candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu whose participation in this election helped to deepen our democracy and enabled the people to make their choice. We invite him, in the spirit of sportsmanship, to congratulate his brother, Governor Godwin Obaseki and join him in the onerous task of leadership in the general interest of all Edo people.
Meanwhile, former Anambra state governor, Peter Obi urged Obaseki to see his re-election victory as an opportunity to do more for his people in the next four years.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his media adviser, Valentine Obienyem, Obi noted that “democracy is when the people are allowed to determine who leads them after weighing the records of the candidates.”
On his part, National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, described Obaseki’s victory as “a clear affirmation and demonstration of the people’s goodwill in appreciation of the outstanding performance of the governor and his deputy in their first term.”
In a statement signed by his media aide, Ike Abonyi, Secondus urged President Buhari to push through electoral reforms before quitting office.
South-South now a PDP stronghold– Ayade
Cross River State Governor,Prof. Ben Ayade, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media & Publicity, Christian Ita, described Obaseki’s victory at the polls as well-deserved, considering his achievements in the past four years.
He said: “I extend my warm felicitations to you on your well deserved victory in the just concluded Edo gubernatorial election. For those of us who have keenly followed your giant strides in Edo State, your victory did not come as a surprise. Your re-election therefore, represents a bold and emphatic testimony to the good work you have done in the past four years.”
Godfatherism has come to an end – Atiku
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar said Obaseki’s victory marks an end to godfatherism in the nation’s political system.
In a statement he personally signed yesterday, the PDP 2019 Presidential candidate congratulated the good people of Edo State for their resilience before and during the exercise
“There is a new dawn in Edo State, and the hard-won victory of Governor Obaseki is not just a victory, but also 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 a testament to a people who have for centuries set the pace as a beacon of light on the African continent.
“I most heartily congratulate the Peoples Democratic Party, who stood shoulder-to-shoulder, with the people of Edo and their government, in good times and bad. We, in the PDP, have shown that we are not fair weather friends to the good people of Edo.”
Obaseki’s victory, a blow to godfatherism – Amb Muturu
On his part, Ambassador Kingsley Muturu, a peace ambassador and the leader of Amnesty Phase II in Delta State, said in a congratulatory message to Governor Obaseki that his victory in the Edo polls showed that whenever people are determined to take their fates in their hands, “no godfather can change that.”
Amba. Muturu said there are significant lessons to be learned with the victory, which include that the era of godfatherism in politics is finally coming to an end and people can effectively protect their votes despite all odds.’’
No man can successfully play God– Ekweremadu
To former Deputy President of the Senate and member of the PDP National Campaign Council for Edo State, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the governor’s victory is well-deserved
In a statement yesterday by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu, who commended the people of Edo State, the INEC, and the security agencies for “rising to the occasion”, described the exercise as a huge relief given what he described as the “dwindling fortunes of the nation’s electoral process in recent years.”
The former Deputy President of the Senate who was in Edo State to monitor the election, said that the Edo poll had proved, once again, that no man could effectively play God. “For emphasis, the Edo 2020 election showcased the beauty of democracy: the supremacy of the people’s will over the whims and caprices of any single man or woman, be it a godfather or godmother.
“I join other well meaning Nigerians to congratulate Governor Godwin Obaseki and the PDP on this well-deserved victory. While our electoral processes still leave much to be desired, I must say that compared to recent elections, the Edo State governorship poll has renewed the hope that we can get our elections right, given the conduct of the electorate, INEC, security agencies, and most of other stakeholders, which ensured a peaceful process and an outcome that reflected the will of the people.’’
Obaseki’s victory has several implications – Saraki
Immediate past Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said Obaseki’s re-election has several symbolic representations for Nigeria and her democracy.
Saraki in a statement from his media office in Abuja stated that Obaseki’s victory at the elections represented the determination of the good people of Edo State to decide who governs the state and to ensure their votes count at all times.
“The result of the Edo election represents the true wish of the people who stood firmly behind their Governor against power mongers who were determined to foist their choice on the people. It represents the will of the people to vote in free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. The people of Edo State who had sleepless nights in order to protect their votes, those who rejected the cash being thrown around to buy their votes and the intimidation to force them to compromise their belief, deserve our praise. Therefore, my congratulations go to all the people of Edo State.
“Let me give kudos to the leaders and governors in our party, the PDP, for working together to achieve this victory. The PDP leaders and members in Edo State who whole-heartedly accepted Governor Obaseki since he joined the party and co-operated with him to bring about this victory deserve to be appreciated
“The result of the just-concluded election also represents the fact that our people actually desire to be governed by a truly democratic government headed by those they genuinely voted for. It represents the fact that our security and electoral officials can conduct free and fair elections if they have the right atmosphere. We are happy that throughout this election we did not see the military brutalizing the people or security officials supervising the snatching of ballot boxes and vandalization of votes. Thus, the military and other security agencies deserve commendation for this successful polls.
“Also, we saw how the INEC officials maturely handled the complaints of the APC agent who sought to create confusion at the state collation centre when the Orhiomwon Local Government result was about to be declared. The INEC and its officials deserve to be commended for their neutrality in this election.
“We can see that the result represents realistic figures from one local government area to the other. No case of outlandish figures being reeled out. That is also a sign of some level of credibility in the process. It is for the above reasons that I have to commend President Buhari for keeping the military out of this election and for giving the instructions that led to the apparent neutrality of members of the INEC and other security officials in the entire process,” Saraki stated.
He further urged Governor Obaseki to see his victory as a charge by the people of Edo State to him to intensify his focus on development of the state and the welfare of its people.
Outcome has insight into APC’s future — Ganduje’s aide
Special Adviser to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Media, Salihu Tanko Yakasai said the outcome of the Edo State governorship election has implications for the future of the ruling party at the national level.
He said the party should look inward and outward and do some soul searching for its survival. Yakasai stated this in a tweet on his verified twitter handle, @dawisu, yesterday.
The tweet reads: “The outcome of #EdoElection has some important lessons for APC as a party, not just in Edo but equally at the centre.
“But most importantly, the outcome has some insights into the future of the party as well. Let’s look inwards & outwards, & do some soul searching for our survival.”
Govs Emmanuel, Diri salute Obaseki
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, in a congratulatory message by his Chief Press Secretary and Senior Special Assistant, Media, Ekerete Udoh, thanked God for ushering in such a peaceful and credible election in Edo State and drew similarities to what happened last year in his State.
“Last year, the good people of Akwa Ibom State rose in unison and said no to godfatherism and the much touted federal might, declaring their fidelity to the supremacy of our only God in the affairs of man. Today, our brothers and sisters in Edo State have replicated the same wholesome faith and belief in God over the boastful exuberance of ordinary mortals by voting to return a leader who best represents their values and ethos; a doer and not a talker.
On behalf of the Government and the good people of Akwa Ibom State, I join our brethren in Edo to congratulate our brother, Governor Godwin Obaseki for securing the trust and faith of the good people of Edo State to superintend over the affairs of the State for another four years. As I have always said, a good job delivered well, means more job to be done. I have no doubt that you will step up to the plate and deliver big time for the Edo people.”
Also, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, in a statement by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, observed that people’s power, as expressed in the Edo election, remained the most potent force in any democracy.
He therefore commended the electoral umpire for upholding the will of the Edo people despite reported pressure to unduly influence the outcome of the poll. The governor noted that Obaseki’s re-election would give greater impetus to development of the state as he is the most popular choice of the people.
“This victory belongs to Edo people, who have proved they can make their votes count. People power in any democracy is the most potent force.”