The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who was reelected at the weekend, says his victory was made possible by the collective will of Edo people who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization and made it possible for this triumph over godfatherism.
Obaseki, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate polled 307,955 votes to defeat All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who scored 223,619 votes in the election.
According to the results announced by the Returning officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State, Obaseki won in 13 of the 18 Local Government Councils namely: Orhionmwon, Igueben, Owan West, Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha, Esan West, Esan Central, Esan South East, Esan North East, Uhumwode, Egor, Ovia North East and Ovia South West.
APC’s Ize-Iyamu won in five – all in the northern senatorial district of the state,- Akoko Edo, Etsako East, Etsako West, Etsako Central and Owan East.
There were 550,242 votes cast and 12,835 rejected ballots.
Supporters of Obaseki and members of PDP, immediately after the announcement of the final results, jubilated on the streets, especially at the strategic Ring Road, near the Oba of Benin palace; the Government House, Benin; singing, drumming, dancing and chanting four plus four, indicating another four years for the governor.
The governor hailed the people of Edo State and his supporters for their display of enormous courage and support.
Obaseki also expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari, INEC, security agencies and others who participated in the election
He 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 great people of Edo State have spoken. I want to thank Governor Wike of Rivers State, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and my brother, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, for standing by me. I want to thank my party, the PDP, not only for giving me the umbrella when I needed it most, but for the hard work which has brought me back to office.
”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 (PDP), and my brother governors, not only for giving me the umbrella during my political storm, but 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 pull forces together and collectively call on God for support.”
“I reiterate that working with my Deputy, Philip Shaibu, we are committed to Making Edo great Again. Thank you for your support,” Obaseki added.
Some PDP governors attended the news conference held at the Government House.
During the news conference, Governor Nyesom Wike, chairman of the National Campaign Council, said: “Edo people have spoken that we do not tie our fate to one man. The results of the election show that all your efforts are not in vain.
“I want to thank my brother governors of Oyo, Delta and Enugu states for their presence here (in Benin) and others who are not here, for their support.”
APC cries foul
The Edo APC in its reaction to the final outcome of the poll, however, rejected the results of the election in the state, alleging gross misconducts during the exercise.
The party declared that there was a foul play during the election while claiming that the results were manipulated to favour the winner, Governor Obaseki.
The APC in Edo State further called on members of the party in the state to stay calm adding that the leaders of the party would study the results and decide on the next line of action.
Also through an online statement by the Chairman of its Media Campaign Council, Prince John Mayaki, APC maintained that it’s candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, was robbed of victory.
The party said: “Our people were arbitrarily arrested, many of the figures were fabricated. There was illicit tampering with results, to shore up PDP’s numbers and markdown APC’s.
“Areas where we won, they cancelled the results. They decreased the votes in areas we had an advantage, They rejected our results and jerked up theirs.
“There was an arbitrary arrest of local party members, who could have resisted the outrage, while Obaseki was busy diverting attention with a false alarm.
“Obaseki shouted that he was being rigged out and blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the initial stage, but that was to divert attention from the evil going on in the field.”