The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party, its governors, opposition members of the House of Representatives, Nigerian Bar Association and many others have congratulated Godwin Obaseki on his re-election as Edo State governor.
The Independent National Electoral Commission declared Obaseki, candidate of the PDP, winner of the governorship election in the state on Sunday.
Obaseki polled 307,955 votes to defeat his closest rival, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, of the All Progressives Congress, who got 223,619 votes.
The President, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, commended the electoral process in a statement titled, “President Buhari commends election process in Edo State reiterates commitment to free and fair elections.”
In congratulating Obaseki, the President was quoted as saying he was committed to ensuring free and fair elections while urging him to “show grace and humility in victory”.
Buhari 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.”
He commended the people of the state, political parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
Obaseki’s victory, rejection of imposition – PDP govs
Governors elected on the platform of the PDP on Sunday, described the party’s victory in the election as a triumph for democracy and rejection of imposition.
The governors, while congratulating Obaseki, also said the victory was a result of hard work and resilience.
This was contained in a statement titled, “Edo: Triumph of Democracy and rejection of imposition,” signed by the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal.
The governors also praised President Buhari and INEC for their “fairness and relative neutrality in the conduct of the elections”.
“It is a resounding endorsement by Edo people of your performance in the last four years. It is an absolute rejection by Edolites of godfatherism and imposition of their leaders by forces from outside the state,” the statement said.
The auditorium of the Edo State Government House was thrown into wild jubilation on Sunday as PDP governors, party officials and party faithful celebrated the re-election of Obaseki.
After the result from the last local government area, Ovia South West, was announced, Wike also described the victory as a triumph over godfatherism.
He said, “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. We want to thank him (Obaseki) for putting himself forward to be used to fight for the interest of the Edo people. I congratulate you and your deputy.”
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, who is the Deputy Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, also sent a warm congratulatory message to Obaseki through his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka.
Ikpeazu said, “The result of the election shows clearly that the people of Edo State were not prepared to circumscribe their sovereignty under any circumstances. They have spoken clearly that no one can take away their rights to choose their own leader.”
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the Chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum, while congratulating his Edo State counterpart and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, on their re-election, expressed happiness that the entire South-South was now being governed by PDP governors.
He said, “The brotherhood displayed by the governors of the PDP and other party members towards the re-election of Obaseki is what the country needs to take the nation to greater heights in 2023.”
His Bayelsa State counterpart, Mr Douye Diri, said “people power in any democracy is the most potent force”.
Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, who congratulated Obaseki on his re-election, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, praised Buhari and INEC for their “neutrality” in the election.
Like Obaseki who defected from the APC to the PDP shortly before the election, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, also defected to the PDP from the APC ahead of the 2019 governorship election that gave him a second term in office.
Ortom, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said the result of the election was not the machinations of “self-made gods” but a “true reflection of the wishes of Edo people”.
Voters rejected godfathers – Atiku, PDP lawmakers
Former Vice President, Atiku, described Obaseki’s victory as the end of godfatherism in Nigeria in a statement signed in Abuja and titled, “The End of Godfatherism Has Come in Nigeria.”
“There is a new dawn in Edo State, and the hard-won victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki is not just a victory, but a declaration of independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism,” he said.
Members of the opposition in the House of Representatives also congratulated Obaseki for defeating Ize-Iyamu in the governorship election.
Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu; and leader of the PDP caucus, Kingsley Chinda, in separate statements issued on Sunday, hailed the electorate in Edo for showing courage.
In a statement titled, ‘Edo: Reps Minority Leader, Elumelu, Congratulates Gov Obaseki on Reelection’, Elumelu described Obaseki’s reelection as well-deserving, given his sterling performance in developing the state and empowering the people during his first tenure.
Elumelu also commended Okowa, Wike, Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, as well as other PDP governors, PDP National Assembly caucus, leaders, elders and teeming members of the party “for their roles in upholding a free, fair and credible electoral process in Edo State.”
Chinda, in a separate statement titled ‘Edo 2020: PDP Reps Caucus Congratulates Obaseki, Says Democracy at Play…Prays it should be Maintained and Institutionalised’, said Obaseki’s victory “depicted 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.”
Senator Biodun Olujimi, who represents Ekiti South District, while lauding the poll, described godfatherism as a “clog in the wheel of progress to the Nigerian democratic system”.
Abaribe, Mark, Ekweremadu hail Obaseki’s victory
Similarly, Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, former Senate President David Mark, and his former deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, congratulated Obaseki in separate statements made available to The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday.
Abaribe said the victory signals a new dawn and the ultimate end of godfatherism in Nigeria politics, while urging the people of Ondo State to be ready to replicate what happened in Edo State in the October 10 governorship election in the state.
Mark, in his goodwill message, described the exercise as a huge relief given what he described as the “dwindling fortunes of the nation’s electoral process in recent years”.
According to a former Governor of old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Governor Wike deserves commendation for his role as the Chairman of PDP Governorship Election National Campaign Council for Edo State and President Buhari, for creating a level playing field for the conduct of the poll.
It’s a lesson for all leaders-PDP
The PDP has described the victory of its candidate, Obaseki, in the election as not only historic and a lesson for leaders, but also proof that the conduct of free and fair elections was possible in Nigeria.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said this at a press conference in Abuja, on Sunday.
He said, “The Edo election has indeed shown that credible elections are possible in our country if we play by the rules.”
A separate statement by the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, titled “Edo Decides: Secondus Congratulates Obaseki/Shuaibu …salutes Edo people for standing up for democracy,” signed on his behalf by his Media Adviser, Ike Abonyi, in Abuja, on Sunday, described Obaseki’s victory as well deserved.
NBA endorses election results
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Bar Association Edo Governorship Election Observers has endorsed the results of the governorship election and described the outcome as a reflection of the wishes of Edo people.
At a press conference in Benin on Sunday at the NBA House, spokesman for the group, John Martins, noted in an interim report that though there was general voter apathy, people who turned out showed considerable level of interest.
The group however scored INEC low over the late arrival of sensitive materials, ad-hoc staff and other logistics to polling units, but expressed satisfaction with what they termed “substantial improvement in the deployment of card readers”.
US visa ban did the magic – Natasha
The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the November 2019 election in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti, attributed the victory to the visa ban placed on election riggers by the United States. She said the ban instilled fear in the minds of political gladiators and their godfathers who depend on foreign medical tourism for survival.
Edo poll largely free, fair – CSOs
A coalition of over 400 civil rights organisations under the aegis of Transition Monitoring Group on Sunday described the poll as “relatively well executed and largely free and fair”.
It however said cases of voter inducement were noticed across the 18 local councils in the state, with the two major parties – APC and PDP – involved.
The TMG gave its verdict in the preliminary report which it jointly prepared with the Edo Civil Society Organisations, signed by its chairperson, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi.
A civil society group, Advocates For People Rights and Justice, in a report on the poll signed by its National Coordinator, Victor Giwa, in Abuja on Sunday, however, noted that apart from reported cases of violence in some areas, COVID-19 protocols were flouted.
Edo APC alleges foul play, to decide next step
However, Edo State APC has alleged foul play in the election, but called on its members to stay calm while party leaders study the result to decide on the next line of action.
In a statement by the Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, John Mayaki, the party rejected the result, saying, “Our people were arbitrarily arrested, many of the figures were fabricated.”
It further alleged illicit tampering with results, to shore up PDP numbers and bring down the APC’s.
Obaseki’s victory, good sign for us – Ondo PDP
Meanwhile, the Ondo State chapter of the PDP, in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Kennedy Peretei, said the “victory is not only for Obaseki and the PDP family, but also a good omen for the October 10 election in Ondo State. Our hope is rekindled and our energy revitalised.”