Government & Politics

Obaseki Wins Edo Guber Election

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki,

* PDP, Ize-Iyamu Reject Result Amidst Supporters’ Protest

* Party’s Refusal To Sign Result Sheet Does Not Invalidate Poll–INEC

* PDP Are Bad Losers, Says Edo APC Chairman

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday declared Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the Edo governorship election held on Wednesday.

Obaseki polled 319,483 to defeat his closest rival, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 253,173 votes.

The returning officer, Prof, Kayode Soremekum, who is also the vice chancellor of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, declared Obaseki as winner, having scored the highest valid votes.

Soremukum said there were 1, 900, 223 registered voters, while 662,039 of the registered voters were accredited with 613, 244 voters casting their votes in the election.

He said 582, 299 of the votes cast were recorded as valid with 30, 945 as rejected votes, saying the total percentage turned out was 32.74.

“I, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, as the returning officer of the Edo governorship election held on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, hereby states that election was contested in the state.

“Godwin Obaseki, having satisfied the requirements of the law, scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared winner and is returned elected,” he said.

The PDP on Thursday rejected the result of the Edo State governorship election.

Prince Dayo Adeyeye, National Publicity Secretary, in a statement described the figures announced by the electoral umpire as fake and a subversion of the will of the people, adding that what happened in Edo State was a farce and outright travesty.

Adeyeye stated: “We completely reject the charade, farce and outright travesty that has taken place in the name of the Edo State gubernatorial election. In the history of our country, there have not been many instances of such an outright subversion of the will of the people.”

He alleged that the APC members and INEC staff blatantly and in absolute defiance of the principles of democratic governance, colluded to manipulate the results of the elections for nine local government areas (LGAs).

According to him, PDP having carefully collated results from the 2,627 polling units across the state, “can categorically state that the results announced by the resident electoral commissioner (REC) do not represent votes cast by the people of Edo State.

“Results that are being announced at the INEC headquarters in Benin City are completely different from what was collated at the polling units, ward and local government area collation centres.”

Giving what he called a comparative analysis, Adeyeye maintained that votes validly cast by the people in Oredo LGA and the one announced showed that APC scored 22, 110, while PDP garnered 55, 668 votes as against 37, 612 for APC and 30, 492 for PDP as announced by INEC.

He stressed: “At this point, all Nigerians can see that INEC is determined to carry out its plot to announce results written for nine LGAs before the conduct of the polls as we earlier alleged, and will do everything to subvert the will of the people and brazenly rape our democracy.

“The results we have collated from the field for the nine LGAs announced by INEC so far, show that we have secured a convincing lead over the APC, and its candidate, and we are shocked at the results being announced by INEC.”

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The party rejected the results in a press conference addressed by its chairman in the state, Dan Orbih, on Thursday in Benin.

The press conference was also attended by the party’s governorship candidate in the election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Both the party and its candidate said they rejected the results because they were “fabricated and a pre-determined” by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Edo government.

While the declaration of results of Wednesday’s governorship election in Edo State was on-going on Thursday with results from nine of the 18 council areas being released by INEC, supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stormed the commission’s premises in protest, accusing INEC officials of taking bribe from the state government to allocate votes to APC candidate in some local government council areas.

The protesters laid siege to the state headquarters of INEC on Aduwawa Road in Benin City with placards of various inscriptions claiming that PDP was leading as at Wednesday evening but were stunned that the APC was leading in five out of the eight councils so far released.

According to some of them, the PDP won the election in all the 18 council areas of the state, adding that the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, allegedly stormed INEC at the wee hours of Thursday to induce the electoral body to change the figures.

Meanwhile, Anselm Ojezua, chairman of the APC, Edo chapter, has described the rejection of the state governorship election results by the PDP as an act of a bad loser.

Ojezua said in Benin on Thursday that the entire process of the election had been nothing but peaceful.

“This is just a case of a bad loser. It is a pity that the PDP expects to win in a state which it had run down.

“Though the announcement of the results is still ongoing, I commend INEC, thus far.

“The process was very peaceful. INEC was efficient in delivery of materials to ensure that they got to locations on time,” he said.

The chairman advised the PDP to channel its grievances to the appropriate quarters.

Following its rejection of the result, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that of the Young Democratic Party refused to sign the result sheet of the Edo governorship election.

But INEC said that the refusal of some political party agents to sign the Edo governorship election result sheet did not invalidate the poll.

Solomon Soyebi, INEC National Commissioner in Charge of Publicity, stated this in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Benin.

Soyebi said that the validity of an election was stipulated in the Electoral Act and election guidelines.

He said that the concluded Edo election was in line with the Electoral Act. “The refusal of any party agent to sign the result sheet does not in any way invalidate the declared result of the election,” Soyebi said.

He commended the people of Edo for their peaceful conduct that allowed the election to be peaceful and concluded in one ballot. “This is one of the few elections that we have conducted with minimum violence,” he said.

Soyebi said that the people of Edo had set the pace for peaceful election and mass turnout of voters in the country. He expressed hope that such standard would be sustained as well as impact on future elections.

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