PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has conceded that his All Progressives Congress (APC) has lost the Edo State gubernatorial elections, sending a congratulatory message to Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Yesterday, Edo State went to the polls to elect a new governor in what was a bitter contest between the APC and PDP. Governor Obaseki was originally elected on the APC platform in 2016 but after falling out with former party chairman Adams Oshiomhole, leading to the party selecting Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as its candidate, he decamped to the PDP.
Early this morning, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec), declared Governor Obaseki the winner of the elections with 307,955 votes to Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s 223,619 votes. Governor Obaseki won in 13 of the 18 local government areas of Edo State, receiving 59% of the vote.
Governor Obaseki said: “Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalisation. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to all Edo people. This is our victory.”
In response, President Buhari has commended the election process and congratulated the winner, urging Governor Obaseki to show grace and humility in victory. He commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly throughout the exercise.
President Buhari 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 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.” Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who also stood against Governor Obaseki in 2016, however, is yet to concede defeat.