On Sunday, September 20, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the incumbent governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the gubernatorial election held in the state on Saturday, September 19.
Although 14 political parties participated in the exercise, the contest was largely fought by Obaseki and his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Announcing the results in Benin, the returning officer and vice chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum, Efurun, Prof Akpofure Rim-Rukeh said Obaseki met the requirements to be to be declared winner having polled 307,955 votes to beat Ize-Iyamu who scored 223,619 votes.
The governor won in 13 local government areas while Ize-Iyamu won in five.
A total of 550,242 votes was cast while the total number of valid votes in the election was 537,407, and rejected votes, 12,835.
Obaseki will officially begin his second term in office in November, 2020.
Following the declaration of Obaseki as winner, a deluge of reactions has trailed his victory.
After announcing the results from all the local government areas, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Obaseki winner of the poll.
President Muhammadu Buhari who was one of the first people to congratulate the governor-elect urged Obaseki to show grace and humility in victory.
The president, in a statement by has spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu also commended the election process in the state which led to Obaseki’s victory.
“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 said.
Buhari also commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
It’s a declaration of independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism – Atiku Abubakar
In his reaction, the former vice president, Mr. Atiku Abubakar said anew dawn had berthed in Edo State and Obaseki’s hard won victory “is not just a victory, but 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.
“In good times, we will walk beside you. In bad times, we will be your true ‘comrade’. We will never be a turncoat. We will never abandon the principles we once espoused, so we can dine with our nemesis. Democracy has no nemesis. And this, the PDP has again proved.
“That this election was, by and large, free from violence, is a testament of the long and effective shadow he casts over his domain.
“From personal experience, I know Governor Obaseki to be a magnanimous man, and I urge Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to accept the right hand of fellowship that is likely to be extended to him. The leprous hand he is now holding can only lead to a destination of barrenness. He is amongst strange bedfellows, and I remind him that no matter how far one has gone on a wrong road, it is never too late to turn back and head in the right direction. The PDP is the right direction.
“To the good people of Ondo state, my message to you is that freedom from the oppressive grasp of godfathers and external forces that seek to dominate your will and eviscerate your treasury is possible. Edo has done it. You can do it too!
“There is a new wind of democratic change now blowing all over Nigeria. The forces of despotism, nepotism, and interlopers cannot successfully withstand this force. Nigeria shall soon be totally free from these forces, from Kaura Namoda, to Lagos. The only power that will stand in Nigeria is people’s power, not the power of godfathers, or despots,” said Atiku in a statement.
Edo people rejected bullion van democracy – George
Former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Olabode George, applauded Edo people for rejecting what he described as ‘bullion van democracy’ and for standing up against interlopers.
“The 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.”
He congratulated Obaseki on his reelection for a second term, saying it was a well-deserved victory and commended PDP members who, he said, pulled through the victory by ensuring that the right things were done.
It’s historic – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said the 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.
“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 newfound 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 the 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 the 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 newfound 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. Edo election 2020 live update “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,” said the PDP.
It’s hard-worn victory – CUPP
“There is no doubt that this is a hard-earned victory considering the tension that enveloped the nation’s political space ahead of the electoral contest. The people of Edo State, with the massive support given to Governor Obaseki, have spoken with a loud voice that they will no longer tolerate electoral rasacality from people within and outside the state, no matter how highly-placed.
“They have, also with their action, shown Nigerian voters how to stand up against the All Progressives Congress bandit politics by resisting Governors Hope Uzodinma, Abdullahi Ganduje and Yahaya Bello who were unleashed on the state for the sole purpose of subverting people’s will as it happened in their various states.
“Opposition political parties also wish to put on record the exceptional courage displayed by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in ensuring that the people’s will prevails in Edo State. We salute this dependable and courageous democratic fighter for standing firm as a defender of the sanctity of the people’s ballot.
“In rejoicing with Governor Obaseki, we urge him not to renege on his electoral promises that endeared him to the people of the state. The governor must reciprocate the people’s gesture by delivering good governance.”
Edo people have shunned entreaties of retrogressive forces – Ifeanyi Okowa
For his part, the governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa 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.
“Let me also congratulate our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Rivers, Mr. Nyesom Wike and other members of the Campaign Council for their efforts which led to the victory of the party in Edo.
“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.
“Going forward as a nation, we can only develop further if the people are allowed to choose their leaders at all levels without any hindrance. It is, therefore, a clarion call on INEC to continue to do the right thing as an unbiased umpire.”
The governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom in a statement said INEC deserves commendation for conducting credible election in Edo State.
“Governor Ortom commends the dogged determination of Governor Obaseki to overcome intimidation and uphold the mandate his people popularly gave him.
“The governor equally congratulates the people of Edo State, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike who was the Chairman of PDP Campaign Team for the 2020 Edo Governorship election.
“He says the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC also deserves plaudits for the credible conduct of the polls without yielding to pressure to thwart the will of the people
“Governor Ortom prays God to continue to guide his Edo State counterpart to enable him to serve his people in the second term,” Ortom said in a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Terver Akase.
Re-election rekindles hope in electoral process – Umahi
The governor Ebonyi State, Mr. David Governor Umahi of said although the election was a keenly contested election, Obaseki’s re-election has yet again rekindled hope in the nation’s democracy and the electoral process which has allowed, unhindered, the wishes and aspirations of the people to prevail.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr. Francis Nwaze, the governor said Obaseki’s electoral value and his capacity to deliver democratic dividends, proved why the Edo people closed ranks and returned him in a landslide victory.
He urged the re-elected governor to remember not the former things but propound approaches for greater Edo State which unarguably underlie his re-election.
“I congratulate you on your well-deserved victory. Your re-election has confirmed your electoral appeal in Edo State. Remember not the former things, get to work and take Edo State to another greater heights. I am happy because your re-election has rekindled faith in the electoral process and our democracy.”
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.
“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.
“INEC and the security services have shown to Nigerians and the world that they are capable of conducting free and credible elections.
“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 said.
I’ll announce my next line of action – Ize-Iyamu
For his part, Ize-Iyamu said he would make public his next line of action and thanked the people of the state for their support.
The APC governorship candidate who alleged that many of his supporters were disenfranchised posted on his Facebook page: “I hereby thank and appreciate my teeming supporters, who have had to endure many evils including being prevented from exercising their franchise, for their support and determination during the election process.
“I assure you all that I am studying the results along with other party members and will announce the next line of action soon. God bless you all.”