Jubilation, Protest as Obaseki is Declared Governor-elect | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News


Jubilation, Protest as Obaseki is Declared Governor-elect


  • Ize-Iyamu, PDP reject result, allege irregularities
  • Buhari, Saraki, Tinubu, others hail victory

Esan N’East 
Esan S’East
Esan West
Etsako Central 
Etsako East 
Etsako West 
Ovia N’East
Owan East
Owan West
Ovia S’West 

It was a mixture of celebrations and protests in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, yesterday when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of Wednesday’s governorship election in the state and governor-elect.
According to INEC, Obaseki polled a total of 319,483 votes to beat his closest rival and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who garnered 253,173 votes.
Obaseki won 13 out of the 18 local government areas in Edo State, thus satisfying the constitutional requirement of securing 25 per cent of the votes cast in two-thirds of the local governments in the state.
Confirming the outcome of the election, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, INEC’s Chief Returning Officer for the election, said Obaseki had satisfied the requirements by scoring the highest number of votes.
At the INEC state headquarters in Benin City, supporters of the APC celebrated the announcement and drove around some streets in the capital city waving the APC flag and chanting songs.
However, the agent of the PDP refused to sign the result, claiming that he had received instruction from his party not to sign the result.
Agents of other political parties, who also protested the outcome of the election and called for its cancellation, however, appended their signatures on the result sheet.
Obaseki Vows to Keep Campaign Promises
In his acceptance speech, the governor-elect assured residents of Edo State that all the campaign promises he made on the stump would be fulfilled irrespective of party affiliations.
He said: “My good people of Edo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the results of the 2016 Edo State gubernatorial poll, and I have been declared as the winner of the election.
“It is with great humility and abiding faith in God Almighty that I accept this pronouncement of my victory as the next governor of Edo State. This is a historic victory for all Edo citizens and our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). It underscores clearly your preference for the continuity and consolidation of our programmes.
“More importantly, by your votes you clearly affirmed your faith in my ability to take our state forward into a new era. This is a responsibility Philip Shaibu, my running mate, and myself do not take lightly.
“Our promise is to build a state anchored on a productive economy that will transform and empower our citizens is sincere.
“We promised jobs. We promised empowerment of our citizens. We promised improved social welfare services, and a more secure state. We will strive to deliver on all of these promises.
“As we travelled all over our great state selling our programmes, we also took note of your concerns and problems, and I want to assure you that we will do everything in our power to address them.”
He also saluted the courage of all those who came out to exercise their franchise in spite of the seeming intimidation of those he described as “merchants of violence” to derail the conduct of a free, fair and peaceful election.
He also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his profound commitment to a new order in Nigeria; the Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, for his vision and single-minded focus on the progress and development of the state; members of his campaign team, led by the Director-General, Osarodion Ogie; his wife, Betsy; and his entire family, friends, volunteers and all supporters who worked tirelessly to help him to achieve victory at the poll.
Oshiomhole: We’ve Humbled Ikimi, Igbinedion, Others
In his reaction, Oshiomhole could not resist the temptation to gloat, proclaiming that the victory of his would-be successor had humbled Chief Tom Ikimi, the Esama of Benin and father of his predecessor, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; and Chief Raymond Dokpesi of the PDP, adding that Chief Tony Anenih narrowly escaped defeat.
He said the APC was committed to dismantling the rigging machinery of those he termed political godfathers in the state.
Oshiomhole, who noted that Edo was the only state where an election had been held recently and not a single life was lost, said the victory had concluded the chapter in the struggle to end godfatherism in the state.
Speaking to newsmen after the announcement of the results, Oshiomhole, who was flanked by leaders of the APC, said the election was the final death knell for political godfathers who have held the people hostage since 1999.
“Over the last eight years, we have tried to orientate our people not just the voters but politicians that the season of election rigging where one or two godfathers write the results is over and we were committed to dismantling the rigging machine.
“In 2012 with all the godfathers on one side and new forces of change on my side, I won in all the 18 local government areas. Our people have spoken loud and clear that they believe in democracy, they just don’t want to be beneficiaries, they want to be the drivers of the process.
“This was showed by the way they conducted themselves on Election Day. It is outstanding and remarkable that tense as the election was with all the predictions, the APC won decisively in 13 out of the 18 local government areas. Those who were loudest in making noise have been revealed where they stand in relation to Edo people.
“We have humbled Chief Tom Ikimi even in the local government he claimed to have created. We defeated Chief Raymond Dokpesi in his polling unit, his ward and his local government. That reassures that the ruthless deployment of media machinery is not enough to distort the will of Edo people to determine their choice.
“In Okada, the political family that has boasted that they will continue to govern this state and even compelled the state to adopt them as the Queen of England whose birthday must be celebrated. In Okada, the APC was the preferred party by the people than that family in Okada.
“There is something unique in the way things have turned out. In Esan land, the senatorial zone of the PDP godfather, we won two out of the five local government areas. We gave him a fight that he managed to escape. He used the factor of his age to play on the emotions of the people.
“It is a victory for the people of the state. Edo people are now proud they can determine who will rule them and no one godfather can choose a leader for them. When you look at the propaganda, you will think we have fallen for the lion,” he stated.
PDP, Ize-Iyamu Protest, Reject Result
However, in the PDP camp, the mood was markedly different as supporters of the party, sensing that the election had been lost, attempted to barricade the roads leading to INEC’s office in Benin to prevent the commission from declaring the result.
But in order to forestall a breakdown of law and order, security personnel were forced to fire teargas and many gunshots into the air to scare away the protesters from the vicinity of INEC’s office.
In his reaction to the outcome of the election, Ize-Iyamu rejected it, saying the results from the local government areas were different from those collated at the polling units and declared at different wards.
Addressing a press conference yesterday at his residence in Benin City along with the Edo State PDP chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, while the results were still being announced, Ize Iyamu accused INEC of conniving with the Edo State governor and security agencies to declare fake results.
“The PDP in Edo State, after carefully reviewing the events of yesterday September 28, 2016, totally rejects the purported outcome of the voting exercise and the results announced by INEC,” he stated.
He added: “Firstly, we are in total amazement at the details of the results released by INEC because all of them are fake and not the figures announced at various units and as collated at various wards across the state.
“The fake results announced by INEC are entirely a fabrication which do not reflect the true picture of what transpired during the election.”
He said his party was not totally surprised, because long before the election it had anticipated what transpired and had also warned INEC, security agencies and alerted Edo people at various press conferences and statements on the situation.
Ize-Iyamu further declared: “Based on the results emanating from across the state, PDP won the election fair and square, and with a very comfortable margin.
“So it is with disgust that we have been receiving fake results which were never recorded either at the units or the ward collation centres. Our rejection of the results released by INEC so far is based on, but not limited to, the following: We know that a fair turnout of voters was recorded statewide because the weather was very clement and voters were enthusiastic.
“However, unknown to the unsuspecting Edo electorate, INEC had long provided the serial numbers of all result sheets to Adams Oshiomhole and his APC government to print fresh result sheets. This is not a mere allegation.
“With the benefit of hindsight, the 18-day period of postponement of the election was to provide enough time for the governor and his government to print these result sheets and perfect the writing of fake results at the units and at all levels of collation.”
He added that the situation was further buttressed by the fact that on Monday, September 26, 2016, when election materials arrived from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at INEC state office for inspection, agents of the political parties including the APC and PDP were given pre-typed copies of the serial numbers of all result sheets and the ballot papers.
“This was a clear security breach and an infringement on the credibility of the process, as these are sensitive materials which should not have been sighted even by INEC officers,” he added.
Ize-Iyamu alleged that everything that transpired had been carefully designed by the Oshiomole-led Edo State government and their cohorts in INEC, saying they perfected a scheme to void thousands of ballot papers, to enable them perpetrate their devices.
He claimed that it was widely recorded that over 88 per cent of the voided ballots were PDP votes and also accused the security agencies of aiding the rigging of the election.
He added that the postings of the Commissioner of Police, officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) and removal of officers from their units, even during the voting exercise, was a clear plot to destabilise the security apparatus in various local government areas and senatorial districts.
The PDP candidate said the choice of collation from places they had chosen, as well as the choice of the state returning officer, whom he described as a close friend and associate of former Governors Kayode Fayemi and Niyi Adebayo of Ekiti State, who are also top APC chieftains, also prevented PDP agents in many cases from entering collation centres.
Buttressing his position, the state chapter of the PDP also rejected the result of the state governorship election, saying the outcome of the poll was pre-written and pre-determined to favour Obaseki against Ize-Iyamu.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Chief Orbih said the party decided to convene the conference because of the comments and information at its disposal which suggested that INEC was compromised.
He said a pointer to his accusation of the electoral umpire started when it began the process of announcing the results at their state headquarters, and at some point suspended the announcement, only to resume this morning.
According to him, “But going by the information before us and from the feelers from our agents, there is a wide margin between what our agents, independent observers told us and what INEC is announcing.”
Justifying his claim, Orbih recalled that before the election, the state Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare of the party, had raised the alarm, alerting the public that APC had written the results of nine local government areas, which was principally targeted at manipulating the outcome of the poll.
“From the results declared by INEC, there is no difference between the outcome so far and what the party’s image-maker said 48 hours before the election that APC has connived with INEC to write results in some key local government areas.
“From all the results collated by our agents, PDP is clearly ahead with 30,000 votes, but INEC has completely disallowed the result,” he claimed.
He also said that the party was still studying the results from the riverine communities which it had rejected because, according to him, even areas the party won, INEC allegedly disallowed the votes claiming failure of the card reader.
“Rather than using the incident form which the law allows in the event of failure of the card reader, APC has connived with INEC to cancel results in these areas. Therefore, they (INEC) should take full responsibility for the failure of the card reader because we in PDP should not be punished for such laxity,” the Edo PDP chairman declared.
The PDP also alleged that thugs forcefully entered the collation centre in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State and made away with all the result sheets where its governorship candidate scored a massive victory over the candidate of the APC.
The party said that during the invasion, one Mr. Osakpanwam Eriyo forcefully removed all the result sheets used in collating results for the local government area.
In a statement issued by the acting National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, the party said it was very worrisome that security agents acted in collusion with the “thugs in this objectionable conduct”.
“Following the announcement of the results of the Edo State gubernatorial election for Oredo Local Government Area in which our candidate scored a massive victory over the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a known thug and enforcer of Governor Adams Oshiomhole – Mr. Osakpanwam Eriyo (aka Nomoreloss) – has invaded the collation centre along with several armed cohorts.
“The Nigerian public will recall that we have severally given warnings about the plan of the ruling APC to attack LGA collation centres where they deemed the results of the elections to be unfavourable.
“Further to this, we hereby call on the Inspector General (IG) of Police and the heads of the relevant security agencies to immediately arrest Mr. Eriyo and his accomplices. We also urge the IG and other security agencies to immediately retrieve the election result sheets from this reprehensible fellow and return them safely to INEC to enable the electoral body complete the electoral process.
“It is imperative that the Nigerian Police Force immediately arrest Mr. Eriyo as a means of building confidence in the electorate. Failure to do so may lead to people resorting to self help to enforce their rights which may in turn lead to a breakdown of law and order,” it said.
Sheriff Denies Endorsing Poll Result
Also, the former national chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, denied reports that he accepted the result of the governorship election in Edo State.
A statement by his media aide, Inuwa Bwala, said that Sheriff’s reaction might be not different from the general position adopted by a majority of PDP members.
Sheriff said that he was not in a rush to say anything for now until he gets a full report corroborating the alleged irregularities during and after the election.
He said he was yet to make a pronouncement on the Edo governorship election, which the “PDP was reported to have lost to the ruling APC because he is yet to receive official report on what transpired”.
“While he awaits reports from PDP field officers on the situation in the state, Sheriff has asked PDP members to remain calm, hopeful and determined in the pursuit of their mandate, until the last is seen of the election,” he said.
Sheriff spoke against the background of media reports suggesting that he was comfortable with the outcome of the Edo election, stressing that no sensible leader would accept what had been rejected by his followers.
He described as mischievous for anybody to insinuate that he would accept his party’s defeat.
Buhari, Others Congratulate Obaseki, Oshiomhole
But as the PDP and its candidate decried the outcome of the poll, President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, a National Leader of the APC, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and other chieftains of the ruling party hailed the victory of Obaseki and APC in the Edo election.
Buhari, during a telephone call to Oshiomhole yesterday, commended the well-articulated campaign of the APC in the state, the doggedness of the governor, governor-elect and party members in going round the state to reach the people with records of good governance over the years and a promise of continuity.
According to the president, the outcome of the election clearly reflected the mood of the people to sustain the pedigree of responsiveness, forthrightness and diligence that Oshiomhole brought to the service of his people.
“The victory is good for democracy, for Nigeria and the people of Edo State,” he said.
Buhari said the victory was well-deserved as the campaign train which he joined worked hard to sell its people-centred manifesto.
The president also applauded the conduct of INEC, security agencies, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and the electorate for ensuring a peaceful election.
Saraki also congratulated Obaseki and Oshiomhole in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, saying his success at the poll was expected by those who had keenly followed the electioneering in the state in the last few months.
“Godwin Obaseki has proved to be a good private sector man who is also a grassroots politician. He is a good flag bearer of our great party, the APC, and a mobiliser who really showed that he will be a worthy successor to the incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
“I also congratulate Governor Oshiomhole who has, in the last seven and a half years, diligently served the people of Edo State and has led a vigorous campaign to sustain the APC legacy in Edo State.
“The governor has shown courage, devotion and dedication in selling Obaseki to the people,” he said.
Saraki also lauded the people of Edo State for the massive turnout at the poll, their peaceful conduct and for voting for APC candidate.
Oyegun, in addition, congratulated Obaseki and the deputy governor elect, Philip Shuaibu, on their election victory.
Oyegun also thanked Edo residents for the massive turnout during the election.
The APC chairman also congratulated political parties and their candidates that contested the election for the “fair play” and relatively peaceful conduct displayed during the election exercise.
He called for calm and appealed to the opposition parties to accept defeat in good faith.
In his statement, Tinubu congratulated Obaseki for his victory in the election, saying Edo people had made their choice.
He said Obaseki was a tested technocrat who is competent and experienced to take over and continue the good work done by Oshiomhole.
The APC leader also congratulated Oshiomhole for his achievements in Edo, which helped in retaining Edo for APC.
With the election of Obaseki, Tinubu said Edo had taken after Lagos in the continuity model, which has worked assiduously well for the people of Lagos State.
Also, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, congratulated Obaseki for his victory at the just concluded gubernatorial election, saying that the people of the state have made the right choice.
In his message signed by his media aide, Mr. Habib Aruna, Ambode said the development was not just a victory for democracy but the people who he noted would experience continuity in terms of dividends of democracy.
The Lagos governor, who was the Chairman, APC National Campaign Committee for the election, said the people of Edo had voted for continuity of people-friendly policies and programmes, and urged all the relevant stakeholders in the state to accept the verdict of the people and work with Obaseki to move it forward.
Ambode’s counterpart in Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, also congratulated the Edo people and APC for Obaseki’s victory, saying it was a further confirmation of Nigerians’ belief in the change agenda of the party under the leadership of the president.
Like others, Bello hailed the conduct of INEC, the Edo people and the security agencies who all ensured a hitch-free exercise.
He eulogised the outgoing governor of the state for “changing the face of politics in Edo State to that of development and transformation”, adding that his years in Edo State “heralded true change and progress”.


Post a Comment

Trending News