By Charles Ike-Okoh
MON, 21 SEPT, 2020-theGBJournal-The vote showcased Nigeria’s democratic progress, a reassurance also to disaffected voters worried that the ruling party would use their political clout to force a crooked result on the people of Edo State.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Mr Godwin Obaseki secured 307, 955 votes in 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the State to sweep the poll in the gubernatorial elections last Saturday and left behind a trail of wounded political godfathers. His closest rival and the man chosen to unceremoniously replace him as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu scored 223, 619 votes.
Godwin Obaseki’s victory defied convention and the aftermath of his victory is unconventional in many ways. He was shunted out of contention for re-election in his previous political party, the APC by party bigwigs in the State led by former party leader Adams Oshiomhole. He quickly realigned with the PDP, the party that opposed him in his first term. The PDP kept faith with him and handed him the party’ governorship ticket without opposition and he in turn handed them victory to return the State to the PDP.
Obaseki was able to tap into public exhaustion of ’godfatherism’ and President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to put voters first, to achieve that.
The President himself has sent his congratulatory message, and in his reaction said, ‘’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. I have consistently advocated for free and fair election in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order.’’
The PDPs’ presidential candidate in 2019 general election Atiku Abubakar declared ‘’the end of Godfatherism has come in Nigeria following the Obaseki’s victory. He said ‘’there is a new dawn in Edo State, and the hard-won victory of Governor Obaseki is not just a victory, but a declaration of Independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism.’’
The Governor of Delta State Dr Ifeanyi Okowa said, “The most significant aspect of this victory is the peaceful outcome of the election as Edo people proved pundits wrong by ensuring that the elections were devoid of violence.”
The Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel said, Godwin Obaseki secured the trust and faith of the good people of Edo State to superintend over the affair of the State for another four years.
‘’The Edo State people have replicated the same wholesome faith and belief in God over the boastful exuberance of ordinary mortals by voting to return a leader who best represents their values and ethos,’’ Udom said in an apparent reference to the events that led to Obaseki’s victory and the near total rejection of Oshiomhole backed Ize-Iyamu at the poll.
Party leaders across board offered praise for the election outcome and expressed hope that future election will be a true reflection of the will of voters. They also expressed satisfaction with the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) and its leadership for another successful election and hoped the success will be replicated in Ondo State where the Governorship election holds next.