The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Board of Trustees Chairman of PDP, Walid Jibrin, PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, former governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi and Senate Minority Caucus on Sunday congratulated Godwin Obaseki and Phillip Shuaibu for their victory in the just concluded Edo state governorship election.
Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, the former President of the Senate, David Mark and Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) also congratulated Obaseki and his deputy, Shuaibu for their victory.
Challenging President Muhammadu to continue to toe this new line of allowing for electoral uprightness as history will be beckoned to be kind to him, PDP also challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Prof. Yakubu Mahmood to ensure that what Nigerians witnessed in Edo state will not be an off-season procedure in the commission, demanding that the credible process applies to all elections conducted in the country.
Addressing newsmen shortly after declaring Obaseki as the governor of Edo state, the PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan said that the victory, as won by the people, is historic and serves as a strong, viable and unambiguous lesson to leaders.
“Our party celebrates the resilience and courage exhibited by the people of Edo state in resisting the antics of the enemies of democracy, who, as vote buyers, patrons of lions and tigers, as well as beguilers, attempted to take over the political space of Edo state.
“We rejoice with the Edo people for helping to reset the political culture of our nation by casting their votes, protecting the votes, ensuring that their votes counted and following it, “bumper-to-bumper”, to the final point of declaration.
“Our party commends traditional institutions, faith-based organizations, youth groups, market women, artisans, community associations, trade unions, traditional leaders and other stakeholders in Edo state for standing up for their state during her critical moments.
“On account of the reverberation of this victory across the length and breath of our country, the PDP implores President Muhammadu Buhari to continue in this new found spirit of ensuring that the people are allowed to freely choose their leaders at all elections.
“Our party states this in our belief that in spite of his administration’s failure in other spheres of life as well as in previous elections, if Mr. President can continue to toe this new line of allowing for electoral uprightness, history will be beckoned to be kind to him.
“To the ‘political godfathers’, this election must serve as a loud lesson that power belongs only to God, which He confers through the people; and that no matter how an individual strives to lord it over others, the will of God, through the people, will always prevail.
“Our party also notes the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Prof. Yakubu Mahmood in ensuring that Edo election was conducted in a manner that was largely adjudged to be free, fair, transparent and credible. Nigerians hope that what we have witnessed in Edo state will not be an off-season procedure in the commission. We demand that this credible process applies to all our elections.
“The PDP applauds the use of virtual portal by INEC to upload results directly from the polling unit, the base of our election, which made it impossible for electoral violators to hijack this electoral process.
“It is our hope in the PDP that this new found image of INEC will gather more thresholds in future elections, particularly the October 10, 2020 Ondo governorship election.
“We however call on INEC to strengthen its processes, particularly in the area of card readers, to forestall the type of delays witnessed in accreditation of voters.”
Calling on Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate to congratulate Obaseki, the party appreciated the Chairman of its National Campaign Council, Governor Nyesom Wike, for providing the right leadership that led to this victory in Edo state.
“We commend the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Chairman of the South South PDP Governors Forum, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as well as all our governors, national assembly caucus, elders, leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party for their efforts in this election,” it said.
Atiku on his part described the victory of Governor Godwin as a declaration of independence from the anti democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism, adding, “no victory could be sweeter than this, and I heartily congratulate the Governor, and the good people of Edo state for their resilience in the face of the forces arrayed against them.”
Speaking on the forthcoming Ondo election, Atiku said, “to the good people of Ondo state, my message to you is that freedom from the oppressive grasp of godfathers and external forces that seek to dominate your will, and eviscerate your treasury, is possible. Edo has done it. You can do it too!
“There is a new wind of democratic change now blowing all over Nigeria. The forces of despotism, nepotism, and interlopers cannot successfully withstand this force. Nigeria shall soon be totally free from these forces, from Kaura Namoda, to Lagos. The only power that will stand in Nigeria is people power, not the power of godfathers, or despots.”
Congratulating Obaseki and Philip Shuaibu, the PDP National Chairman, Secondus said that the victory is a clear affirmation and demonstration of the people’s goodwill in appreciation of the outstanding performance of the Governor and his deputy in their first term.
He said that INEC and the various security operatives significantly played by the rules and this was reflected in the limited number of electoral cases, adding, the last Saturday’s governorship election is far better than any previous elections conducted under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari and advised him to deepen the democracy by continuing this way.
“We are standing on the euphoria of this to urge the President to sign the amended electoral act into law and carry out further electoral reforms that will engender peace and less interference in our electoral process,” he said.
While Obi charged Obaseki and his deputy to see their victory as a catalyst to do more for their people, David Mark, in his good will message to the duo and the PDP family, described the victory as freedom for the people and enthronement of Democratic culture and practice in the country.
The Senate Minority Caucus, in a statement by its Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said as sweet as the victory, it also signals a new dawn and the ultimate end of Godfatherism in Nigeria politics.
Senator Abaribe who also hailed the PDP for it’s tenacity and resilience in the face of manifest intimidations, said the victory further confirmed that power ultimately belongs to the people and not to some fanthom individuals who think they can play God and toy with the will and wishes of the people.
The CUPP, in a statement by its spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, described the victory as triumph of peoples power, historic and rise of a new order and citizens power to end electoral rascality.
CUPP hailed INEC’s neutrality as a promising sign for a new decent electoral order and also commended INEC Staff who resisted pressure to swap results.
“There is no doubt that this is a hard-earned victory considering the tension that enveloped the nation’s political space ahead of the electoral contest,” CUPP said.
The opposition political parties, however, viewed Obaseki’s victory and re-election for second term as a triumph of people’s ultimate power to freely elect their leaders without any coercion.
While the Sokoto state governor and Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal, described the victory as triumph of democracy and rejection of imposition, Jibrin congratulated all people of Edo state for voting massively for PDP leading to the success of Obaseki.
Tambuwal said: “Your victory in the just concluded governorship election is a testament to the triumph of justice, hardwork, resilience, grit, forward planning, clinical execution and reward for improving the lot of the people of Edo State.
“As the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the election, you validated the well known fact that Edo State is truly a PDP dominated State. It is a resounding endorsement by Edo people of your performance in the last 4 years. It is an absolute rejection by Edolites of Godfatherism and imposition of their leaders by forces from outside the State.
“Your election has rekindled the hope of Nigerians, that a free and fair election is still possible in Nigeria.
“We single out INEC, the electoral umpire for special commendation as it didn’t allow itself as an institution to be manipulated into subverting the clearly expressed will and wishes of the people of Edo State.
“We applaud the security agencies for their fairness and relative neutrality in the conduct of the elections.
“In all these, special thanks must go to the President, Commander in Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for keeping his word not to unduly interfere in the elections by using state machinery.”