Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Godwin Obaseki has been returned winner of the Edo governorship election held Wednesday.
He polled 319,483 votes representing a little over 50 percent of the 613,244 votes cast.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 253 172 votes to come second.
INEC Returning Officer for the poll, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, (Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Oye Ekiti) declared Obaseki duely elected.
He said 1,900,223 people registered across the state, 622,669 were accredited for the election in which 613,244 voted.
He said: “Godwin Obaseki of the APC, having satisfied the requirement of the law, scored the highest number of votes; I hereby declare him the winner and is returned elected.”
The APC candidate won in 13 local governments while Pastor Ize-Iyamu of PDP won in five local governments.
The total number of votes represents about 30.4 percent voter turnout.
Obaseki’s tally represents about 16.6% of the total registered voters in the state.
Jubilation in Edo
There was jubilation in Edo state yesterday after INEC declared the candidate of APC as the winner of the election.
Immediately the final result was declared at about 4:30 pm, people took to the streets with brooms celebrating the APC and Obaseki’s victory.
After his acceptance speech, Obaseki left to join the people in celebration at the ring road round about, Benin City.
It was gathered that the jubilation spread to other parts of the state, especially in Etsako West local government, the home of Governor Oshiomhole.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up at strategic locations within the city following protest by some PDP supporters.
Obaseki’s victory good for democracy — Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has said Obaseki’s victory is good for democracy, Nigeria and the people of the state.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement last night, said Buhari congratulated the government and people of Edo State on the successful conclusion of the election and Obaseki’s victory.
Adesina said Buhari, in a telephone call to Governor Adams Oshiomhole yesterday, commended “the well-articulated campaign programme of the APC in the state, the doggedness of the governor, governor-elect and party members in going round the state to reach the people with records of good governance over the years and a promise of continuity.”
President Buhari also stated that Obaseki’s victory was well-deserved as the campaign train, which he joined, worked hard to sell its people-centred manifesto.
He said the outcome of the poll clearly reflected the mood of the people to sustain the pedigree of responsiveness, forthrightness and diligence that Oshiomhole brought into the service of his people.
President Buhari also applauded the conduct of the INEC, the security agencies, corps members and the electorate in ensuring a peaceful election.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says outcome of Edo poll is a fulfillment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise of free, fair and credible elections in the country.
Represented by Dr Dakuku Peterside, Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Amaechi stated this at the Rivers South-East Senatorial District rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday at Ngo in Andoni Local Government Area of the state.
PDP rejects result
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the result of the election. Addressing journalists yesterday the state chairman, Dan Orbih alleged that the results were manipulated at the INEC state headquarters in connivance with the Edo state government.
“INEC started the process of announcing the results and at some point; they suspended the announcement yesterday (Wednesday) and promised to continue the announcement today (yesterday).
“From the time we started getting feedbacks from our agents and independent observers, we have been taking out time to look at the results side by side with what INEC has so far announced to the people. We have observed that there is a wide difference between the figures from our party agents and the independent observers with what INEC announced at their headquarters in Benin City,” Orbih said.
On his part, the PDP candidate Ize-Iyamu has described the outcome as a ‘sham’ saying it did not reflect the huge turnout of voters in the state.
He alleged that the result of the election was written at the State government house in Benin, ahead of the election, with connivance of some INEC officials and the security agencies.
Also, Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the PDP has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris to order the arrest of one Mr. Osakpanwam Eriyo.
The committee in a statement yesterday by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye alleged that Eriyo a partisan of Governor Adams Oshiomhole had invaded Oredo Local Government Area with his team during the collation of results, forcefully removing all the result sheets for the area.
However, the Special Adviser to Governor Adams Oshiomhole on Political Matters, Charles Idahosa has urged the PDP candidate to go to court if he felt aggrieved about the conduct of the election instead of engaging in unlawful protest.
Protests herald announcement of results.
Protests yesterday heralded the announcement of the result of the Edo governorship election. Trouble started shortly after INEC announced the results of nine local governments in which the APC won five while the PDP got four.
Immediately after INEC officials started announcing the results youths in their hundreds stormed the collation centre with placards, saying that the election was rigged in favour of the APC.
“As at yesterday afternoon, results were on social media that PDP had won the election. We would not accept the result of the election,” a protester, who refused to disclose his name, said.
It took the intervention of the police to disperse the protesters with tear gas after some persuasion yielded no result.
APC agent dies at polling unit
There was confusion at Abico Market unit 10 ward eight in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State on Wednesday when an elderly man, Mr. Solomon Omorogbe, an agent of the APC slumped and died at the polling unit.
It was gathered that the 58 years old man left his home to the polling unit early in the morning where he was to serve as a polling agent.
The deceased slumped shortly after casting his vote.
He was said to have been rushed to Akugbe hospital by his son and other sympathisers at the polling unit, but was confirmed dead by a doctor.
Card reader drops percentage of voter turnout
There has been a consistent drop in percentage of voter turnout compared to total number of registered voters since the introduction of the card readers beginning with the 2015 general elections. Results of the Edo state governorship election followed that pattern.
During the 2012 governorship election in Edo state, outgoing Governor Adams Oshiomhole won a landslide victory with 477,478 votes representing 73.72 per cent of 647,698 total votes.
Our source checks indicate that the percentage of voter turnout for the 1999 presidential election was 52.26% with a total of 57.9 registered voters turning out for the election.
In 2003, the voter turnout went up to 69.08% with a total of 60.8 million registered voters.
In 2007 the presidential election recorded 57.49% turnout with a total of 61.5 million registered voters and in 2011, the presidential election had 53.68% voter turnout with 73.5 million registered voters.
But with introduction of the card readers during the 2015 presidential election, voter turnout dropped to 43.65% of the 67.4 million total registered voters in the country.
The trend has also emerged in the three governorship elections recently conducted using card readers.
The Bayelsa state governorship election conducted few months ago had a voter turnout of about 35.6% of the total of 654,493 registered voters in the state. Only 232,167 valid votes were cast.
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of the PDP, who won the election, secured 232,167 votes representing about 20.6% of the total registered voters in the state.
In 2012, Governor Dickson won the Bayelsa governorship election with a total of 417, 500 votes out of the 467,004 votes cast, representing 89% of the total votes.
In Kogi state, the 2016 governorship election recorded about 35.9% turnout out of the 1.37 million registered voters in the state.
A total of 494,723 votes were cast with Governor Yahaya Bello of the APC emerging victorious after he garnered 247,752 votes representing 17.9% of the total number of registered voters in the state.