Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) issued a Certificate of Return to Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday following his declaration as winner of the September 19 governorship election in the State.
The certificate was presented to the Governor and his running mate, Philip Shaibu, by Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, the National Commissioner coordinating Edo, Rivers and Bayelsa State, at the Commission’s office in Benin.
The Governor, who contested on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), polled a total of
307,955 votes to defeat his closest rival, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 223,619 votes.
Agbamuche-Mbu said the presentation of Certificates of Return to the governor and his deputy is a statutory obligation of the Commission in fulfilment of the requirement of the electoral law.
‘Certificates of Return should be issued within seven days of the declaration of election results to a winner in line with the electoral act,’ she said.
The National Commissioner thanked all stakeholders and Edo people for their contributions and commitment towards the credible and safe conclusion of the election process in Edo.
In his acceptance speech, Godwin Obaseki, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for rising above partisan politics by allowing the will of the people to prevail in the just concluded state governorship election.
‘Buhari would be remembered as father of democracy because he had a choice to make sure his party wins in the state but insisted the right thing be done,’ he stated.
Obaseki also lauded the electoral body for its ability and steadfastness to withstand pressure, adding that the technology introduced to view results through online would go a long to way to ensuring transparent poll in the future.
Commending the Oba of Benin for his fatherly role, the Governor called on the candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, to join him in moving Edo forward.
‘We are fortunate that we still have institutions in our land that can still be a rallying point for our people and we should all do our part to protect and support the traditional institutions.
‘You will agree with me that today history has been made again but this couldn’t have been possible if God didn’t will it so. So, we are grateful to God that we went through the election in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere.
‘I want to put it on record just like many commentators have done, the September 19 election has been adjudged as one of the best conducted election in terms of being free and fair.
‘Despite all the criticisms the ability of INEC to view results as the counting is taking place in units is one innovation we will implore INEC to improve on it because it has introduced different element of transparency of the way we conduct election in Nigeria.
‘I want to thank the police and other security agencies for their professionalism throughout the elections. Everyone prior to the election anticipated the high level of violence but the security agencies made the election peaceful.
‘On a final note, I want to use this opportunity to reach out to our colleagues, friends and brothers on the other side of the divide; we are one family with pursuit to provide services and leadership for our citizens.
‘I am using this opportunity to extend a hand of fellowship to my brother, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and other colleagues in the All Progressives Congress, to work with us so that we can move Edo forward.
‘On a specific note, I want to use this occasion to call on the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, that the fight is over, to come and join in building the house where he was part of laying the foundation. We have no malice, the only thing we disagreed on is on the approach in moving Edo forward.
‘I can not end this without thanking Edo people, clergymen, professionals, civil servants, traditional rulers, market women and students. Without your support, dedication to the course of democracy, we will not have this success,’ the Governor said.
Earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Johnson Alalibo, who congratulated the governor and his deputy for their victory at the poll, said the election has already been adjudged as one of the best and shall remain in the annals of Nigeria’s history.