[By Theo Rays]
The re-election of Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki has drawn commendations from civil society groups and chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obaseki, who defected to PDP to seek re-election, polled 307,955 votes to beat his closest opponent, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC candidate polled 223,619; total valid votes was put at 537,407, rejected votes at 12,835, while total votes cast was 550,242.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of a civil society organisation (CSO) in the country, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), Emeka Umeagbalasi described the election as very critical to the process needed for entrenching democracy.
The Onitsha, Anambra State-based Intersociety observed that the election was credible because of the threat of sanctions by the United States and United Kingdom and their allies, noting that election riggers would have had a field day rigging the polls.
Umeagbalasi stated: “The popular and credible outcome of the just concluded Governorship Election in Edo State, South-South Nigeria ‘is not as a result of change of heart or repentance’ by the country’s ‘doyens of election rigging’ but the international entry visa denial or threat of same by the governments of the United States and United Kingdom and their allies; targeting the country’s malevolent political leaders and actors.
“But for the announcement and enforcement of same and its targeted persons, the ‘Nigeria’s doyens of election rigging’ would have declared the Edo Governorship Poll “inconclusive” on “account of violence or canceled results that sufficiently affected the validated results and number of registered voters in some polling booths or electoral wards”. This would have further been followed by militarized fresh polls in “the affected areas” with predetermined outcome in favor of their preferred candidate.”
A chieftain of the PDP and frontline governorship aspirant for the 2021 governorship election in the Anambra, Mr Godwin Ezeemo observed that the election is a reflection of the wish of the good people of Edo and that such a free, fair and credible election should serve as a model of democracy and election in Nigeria.
Ezeemo hailed Obaseki’s re-election, saying: “Nigerians are showing we are coming of age and the stage is gradually looking brighter for future elections. Your victory is a victory for all Edo people irrespective of political affiliation as it shows that the hand of the Almighty God is truly on this important mandate. Your emergence is a major pointer that politics today is tilting towards meritocracy and not god-fatherism.
“The people have acknowledged that power belong to them. Despite the hurdles at the various stages of the electioneering period, it remain obvious that Nigerians have woken to regaining the power of using the ballot, which truly define democracy.
“We were all living witnesses to the fact that despite the intimidation, harassment and violence unleashed on your numerous supporters and other shenanigans perpetrated by known opposition elements within and outside the state, you emerged victorious because the people of Edo stood by you.”
Another PDP chieftain and a governorship aspirant in Anambra, Zeribe Ezeanuna, described the re-election as a mark of the ability of the people to choose the kind of leaders they want, as he urged the electorate to ‘endeavour to copy what the good people of Edo have done.’
Ezeanuna described the election as ‘victory against godfathers, against election rigging and victory for the wish of the vast majority of Edo people, which is what democracy is all about.
“Obaseki’s re-election is democracy personified and exemplified and I believe all places in Nigeria have to copy and follow it so that we can strengthen democracy in line with the world standard.
Both chieftains also hailed the decision of foreign countries to wade into Nigeria’s electoral process to fight rigging with threat to impose travel sanctions on election riggers, as they also acknowledged that the intervention ‘really paid off.’
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