•Govs Buni, Bello meet Ize-Iyamu
Romanus Ugwu, Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja and Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The United States, yesterday, expressed satisfaction with conduct of the election Edo governorship poll, barely nine days after issuing a visa ban threat on would-be perpetrators of electoral heist.
The US, in a message posted on the Facebook page of the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, hailed Edo people for a credible and peaceful election.
It also thanked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies on their positive role during the election, which it said, strengthened democracy in the country.
“Congratulations to the people of Edo State on a credible and peaceful governorship election. We thank the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian security services on the positive role they played in the election and commend their work in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy.
“We recognise the critical role that Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu played in promoting peace. We also thank our civil society partners for their invaluable work in upholding democracy and accountability in this election.”
It, however, expressed concern over cases of reported violence and vote-buying, including intimidation of voters and civil society observers.
The US called on all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties and security agencies to improve the electoral process during the October 10 Ondo governorship election.
“The United States remains concerned with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election, and by reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers.
“We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services, to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election.
“As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries,” it said.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni and his Kogi counterpart, Yahaya Bello, met with the candidate of the party, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu in Abuja, yesterday.
The meeting was the first between the party’s national leadership with the APC candidate after the governorship election.
Although details of the meeting held at the Abuja residence of Governor Buni, was sketchy. A reliable source said it was not unconnected with efforts to pacify him to let go and forget the outcome of the election.
“I can’t tell you the outcome of the meeting but I know for sure the party leadership want to persuade Pastor Ize-Iyamu to accept in good faith the outcome of the election. The meeting centred on way forward for Pastor Ize-Iyamu after the Edo election,” the source noted.
The APC leadership had in a statement by Governor Buni congratulated the winner of the election, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In the statement titled, “Edo State Governorship Election: Victory for Democracy”, the ruling party noted that the “conduct of the election and its outcome represent victory for Nigeria’s democracy”
According to the party, “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 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.”
The party said it joined President Buhari, who had on Sunday congratulated the winner of the election, to affirm ‘‘commitment to free and fair elections’’ in order to strengthen the foundation for our political and moral authority.”
•Irresponsible leadership caused party’s loss –APC
However, the Edo State Chapter of the party has congratulated Governor Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu.
State Chairman of the APC in Edo State, Anselm Ojezua who signed the congratulatory message issued in Benin City, said: “We join President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Caretaker Committee of our great party to congratulate Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu on their victory at the just-concluded Governorship election in Edo State.”
Ojezua noted that: “The election has been generally acclaimed to be peaceful, orderly and transparent. The people of Edo State have made their choice in a very clear and unambiguous manner.”
He, however, explained: “Our loss at the poll stems from the needless and avoidable crisis foisted on the party by a selfish, insensitive, arrogant and irresponsible leadership.
“While we begin to take steps to try and salvage the wellbeing of our party in the state, we call on the governor to be magnanimous in victory while we urge all the contestants to sheathe their swords and put the elections behind them.”
•Poll’ll unifies South-South
In a related development, Governor Obaseki has described his victory as a unifying factor for the South-South region.
Speaking in Yenagoa on Tuesday night at a state dinner in his honour, he said the victory, which has brought all the states in the South- South under one party, will foster rapid socio-economic development in the region.
Governor Diri’s spokesman, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, quoted Obaseki as commending President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring a level playing field in the poll and expressed the optimism that the outcome will rub off positively on future elections in the country and allow the will of the people to prevail at all times.
He expressed gratitude to Governor Douye Diri, and the people of the state for their support which made his re-election possible in the September 19 governorship election.
“Senator Diri said he didn’t do much, just prayers. But that was more than enough. You did more than prayers. You visited us, you contributed, you gave us support, you prayed. These are all the things that came together to give us victory.
“This victory is what we call unity victory. It has united us in Edo as one people. It has united us in Bendel as one sub-region and it is uniting us in the South-South as one region. As a region, we have all it takes to be greater than many countries in Africa but the starting point is cooperation.”
Governor Diri described Obaseki’s re-election as triumph for democracy in Nigeria, saying it was a litmus test that the country passed creditably.