President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Godwin Obaseki on his re-election as governor of Edo State.
He congratulated him on Sunday in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, urging him to continue to show grace and humility in victory.
The President also commended the election process in the state, reiterating the government’s commitment to free and fair elections.
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“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,” he said.
“I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order.
“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with.”
Speaking further, President Buhari also commended the people of the state, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
It was a dramatic process that saw Obaseki run a governorship race against Ize-Iyamu for a second time in four years.
Governor Obaseki and His Deputy, Philip Shaibu have been re-elected into office for another four-year tenure.
Both men faced each other in 2016, albeit with Obasek flying the flag of the APC and Ize-Iyamu flying that of the PDP.
A political rift between the governor and Oshiomhole which spiraled beyond the state to national politics, saw both men switch parties and square up against each other on platforms they once criticised.
The campaign, characterised by drama and controversy that did not spare the State House of Assembly, was tempered by the intervention of the Oba of Benin to calm fears that the poll could turn violence heightened.
A peace accord was also signed by all the candidates days before the poll as stakeholders made concerted efforts to ensure a successful poll.
Overall, most of the stakeholders rated the exercise as largely peaceful, free and fair.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Party (APC) in Edo State has alleged foul play in the September 19 governorship election, calling on party members to stay calm while party leaders study the result and decide what is next.
Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, Mr John Mayaki, said the party rejected the result, citing alleged strong-arm tactics.
“Our people were arbitrarily arrested, many of the figures were fabricated,” a statement issued on Sunday, shortly after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Obaseki winner of the keenly contested poll.
The party further alleged illicit tampering with results, to shore up numbers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and mark down APC’s.
“Areas where we won, they cancelled them. They decreased the votes in areas we had an advantage,” the party further claimed. “They rejected our results and jerked up theirs.”
Stressing further, Mayaki claimed there was the arbitrary arrest of local party members who could have resisted the outrage, while Governor Obaseki was busy diverting attention with a false alarm.
“Obaseki shouted that he was being rigged out and blamed INEC at the initial stage but that was to divert attention from the evil going on in the field,” he said.
While calling on party members to stay calm, Mayaki said the APC leaders were studying the result and would announce their decision and course of action as soon as possible.
Obaseki polled 307,955 votes to defeat his closest rival APC’s Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who garnered 223,619 to win a second term as governor of Edo State.
INEC Returning Officer for the poll, Professor Akpofure Rem-Rukeh, declared the governor as the winner on Sunday at the office of the electoral umpire in Benin City, which doubled as the final collation centre.