It is believed that other than the voters, the United States of America and the United Kingdom; and of course, Muhammadu Buhari, made it possible for Governor Godwin Obaseki to return as Governor of Edo State.
When the Americans placed a visa ban on politicians for their role in the Kogi and Bayelsa elections, and the Britons issued threats to do same, every prominent politician, bent on ensuring the disgrace of Obaseki backed down.
When President Buhari brought out his whip and gave marching orders to the security forces, it became a fait accompli for the better of the two men: Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Obaseki, to win.
And Obaseki did.
A gloating Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declares the victory as historic, and a lesson for leaders, in apparent reference to an All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a congratulatory message, President 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.
“I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic
“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with,” he said in a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity.
He praised the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
President Buhari’s role explains why the Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER) joined the outpouring of commendation for the President who did not allow the abuse and misuse of security agents during the election.
Frank Tietie, the Executive Director, CASER, says CASER also observes that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has by the adherence to the electoral guidelines it has set, also increased its own integrity rating as a truly independent and impartial electoral umpire.
“The whole exercise in the recent Edo election, marks a turning point and a new page for Nigeria’s erstwhile electoral processes that have been characterised with malpractices and violence.
“With the process and outcome of the Edo gubernatorial election, hope has just risen that Nigeria as a country can one day have a near perfect electoral system”, Tietie said.
Obaseki scored 307, 955 votes representing 86.75% percent to defeat Ize-Iyamu who scored 223,619 representing 13.25% percent.
Obaseki won in 13 local government areas while Ize-Iyamu won in 5 local government areas.
The results were announced by Prof. Akpofure Rem-Rukeh, Vice-Chancellor, University of Petroleum Resources, Effuru, Delta.
It is the second time Obaseki is defeating Ize-Iyamu foe the Edo hot seat, in an election marred before, during, and perhaps, after by much acrimony as concerted efforts were made to give the sitting Governor the coveted seat, and retire his former political godfather, predecessor, and former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole. Many are ready to swear that it was Obaseki factor that cost Oshiomhole his seat as National Chairman.
Barring any overturn by the judiciary, which one prominent Edo politician says the APC will resort to, Obaseki has four more years to go in Edo State.
According to the PDP, which gave its ticket to Obaseki, icongratulated the people of Edo state on the re-election of their choice leader, Governor Godwin Obaseki, on the platform of our party.
It adds, in a statement: “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.
“On account of the reverberation of this victory across the length and breath 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 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.
“The Edo election has indeed shown that credible elections are possible in our country if we play by the rules.
“Furthermore, the PDP applauds the international community for their keen observation of our electoral processes as well as profiling of those who are bent on undermining our democracy and making free and fair elections appear impossible 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.
“Furthermore, our party thanks the media, the civil society groups and all Nigerians across board, for showing more than a passing interest in ensuring that the wish of the people of Edo State for a credible and transparent election prevailed. We do not take your efforts in this regard for granted.
“The PDP assures of a continuous partnership with all critical stakeholders in our collective desire to recreate a nation that will continue to be our pride.
“Thank you all as I proudly announce to you that #OndoIsNext.”