With noble words on Monday, re-elected Edo Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, spoke after collecting his certificate of return, inviteling his former boss, friend and Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; and defeated All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in last Saturday’s election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to join him to build the state: “To our friends and brothers on the other side of the divide, we are one family in the pursuit to provide services and public goods for our citizens.
“I am using this opportunity to extend a hand of fellowship to my brother Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and other colleagues in the APC to join us and work with us so that we can move Edo forward.
“On a specific note, I want to use this opportunity to call on the former Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomole that the fight is over and he should come and join in building the house where he was part of laying the foundation. We have no malice. The only thing we disagree on is the approach in moving Edo State forward….
“Our citizens have decided that for now, they trust us more to provide the leadership. It does not mean that they do not have a role to play. It does not mean that they are not part of the family”.
This happens as the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is putting ‘sand in the garri’ of top party chiefs in Edo State, who are bent on contesting the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It has congratulated the Governor, and is setting its gaze on the October 10, 2020 governorship election in Ondo State.
However, one of the men who can put an end to the toxic atmosphere in the state, Ize-Iyamu, has remained largely silent, stating that he is still studying the situation, though Edo APC chieftains are spoiling for war, claiming they were deprived of deserved victory.
The seeming disagreement between a group led by President Muhammadu Buhari, with the party national leadership; and the state leadership, under the tacit direction of former National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is a source of worry to many. A source disclosed that certain measures may soon be taken “to whip everyone into line”.
“No one should be seen to be going in opposite direction of the President after he speaks. Doesn’t speak well for loyalty and discipline”, he added.
But for Obaseki, his victory has helped him to cage the lions and tigers in the state. “You will never see them again in Edo because they are all in the zoo now where they belong,” a gloating Obaseki said as he drove through the streets of Benin, the Edo State capital to offer his thanks to the people of the state for re-electing him.
Recall that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had advised Obaseki to be magnanimous in defeat to cool the tension in the highly divided state.
But Obaseki said on Monday, 24 hours after he was declared winner of last Saturday’s election: “Today, I promise you that we will work for Edo people because no one will hinder us from delivering the dividend of democracy to Edo people.
“My Deputy, Philip Shaibu, and I will go back to the office and work for Edo people. I want to thank everyone residing in the state; you spoke and we have heard you and ready to ever work for you.
“The next four years in the state will be the one that all citizens will live to remember as we will consolidate on our developmental achievements in the State. Thank you all,” he said.
But Mai Mala Buni, Chairman All Progressives Congress (APC) National Caretaker Committee, in a statement issued in Damaturu, Yobe, on Monday, said the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari remained committed to free and fair elections.
His full statement reads: “The September 19, 2020 Edo State Governorship election is over, the winner has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the person of the Mr. Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP). We hereby congratulate the winner of the election, the people of Edo State and all Nigerians.
“The peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represent victory for Nigeria’s democracy
“As a party, we join our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to affirm our ‘commitment to free and fair elections’ in order to strengthen ‘the foundation for our political and moral authority’.
“We commend INEC, our security agencies and all political parties that contested the election for the successful conduct of the election.
“As a governing party, we will take every step necessary to support the Federal Government to consolidate all the gains achieved.
“We, in particular want to salute our candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamuh for his tenacity and leadership.
“We similarly commend our Edo State leaders, especially our immediate past National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and all our members in Edo State for demonstrating unwavering support for our party and our candidate in the election.
“In the face of all the challenges, we collectively remained faithful and worked tirelessly during the campaigns.
“We appeal to all our members to be strengthened by the outcome of the election and unite in order to correct all the problems that worked against our party and our candidate in the just concluded election.
“Finally, we specially hereby celebrate our Edo State 2020 Governorship Campaign Council led by His Excellency Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State. We acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of all members of the Campaign Council.
“As progressives and democrats, we are confident that all leaders and members of the party will celebrate the outcome of the election as free and fair as acknowledge by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Let us unite to move our democracy forward. We must put an end to the era when electoral contest become warfare. We urge our candidate and all our members to join us in congratulating Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the PDP, being the declared winner of the election.
“Our attention must now shift to Ondo State and ensure that we win the October 10, 2020 election.
“September 19, 2020 Edo election should present a new watershed.
“We will work hard to win the Ondo election. Having reaffirmed our commitment to free and fair elections, it is our expectation that all opposition parties in the country will also commit themselves to free and fair contests.
“We will therefore accordingly expect congratulatory message from all parties just as we similarly guarantee that once we are defeated in a fair contest, we will congratulate the winner.
“May God continue to bless our democracy, our nation and our people!”