By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has congratulated Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, deputy governor, Philip Shaibu for their victory in Saturday’s gubernatorial poll, describing the victory as historic.
Obaseki, who flew the flag of the PDP polled a total of 307, 955 votes to beat his closest rival, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who garnered 223, 619 votes.
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 breadth 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.
“To the ‘political godfathers,’ this election must serve as a loud lesson that power belongs only to God, which he confers through the people; and that no matter how an individual strives to lord it over others, the will of God, through the people, will always prevail.
“Our party also notes the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under Prof. Yakubu Mahmood in ensuring that Edo election was conducted in a manner that was largely adjudged to be free, fair, transparent and credible. Nigerians hope that what we have witnessed in Edo state will not be an off-season procedure in the commission. We demand that this credible process applies to all our elections.
“The PDP applauds the use of virtual portal by INEC to upload results directly from the polling unit, the base of our election, which made it impossible for electoral violators to hijack this electoral process.
“It is our hope in the PDP that this new found image of INEC will gather more thresholds in future elections, particularly the October 10, 2020 Ondo governorship election.
“We, however, call on INEC to strengthen its processes, particularly in the area of card readers, to forestall the type of delays witnessed in the accreditation of voters.
“Our party also notes the improvement in the activities of our security agencies compared to past elections. We hope that our security organs will continue in this stead in future elections,” said the publicity scribe said.
The party also thanked the international community, its governors and party members, urging them to continue to work in furtherance of democracy in Nigeria.
“We urge the international community and all lovers of democracy not to relent in providing necessary advisory to our leaders on the conduct of our elections.
“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.
“Our party also appreciates the chairman of our national campaign council, Governor Nyesom Wike, for providing the right leadership that led to this victory in Edo state.
“We commend the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Chairman of the South South PDP Governors Forum, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as well as all our governors, national assembly caucus, elders, leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party for their efforts in this election.
“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 has 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 Muhammadu Buhari to push through electoral reforms before quitting office.
“We are standing on the euphoria of this to urge the President to sign the amended electoral act into law and carry out further electoral reforms that will engender peace and less interference in our electoral process,” the statement read in part.