GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike has attributed the free and fair conduct of the recent gubernatorial elections in Edo State to the threat by the UK and US to impose visa bans on anyone who rigged the polls.
In the run-up to the polls, the British high commission in Nigeria, threatened sanctions against any officials involved in election irregularities. It added that these sanctions could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK-based assets and prosecution under international law.
Catriona Laing, the British high commissioner to Nigeria, said she has held meetings with the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the elections in the run-up to the polls. She explained that the parley focused on the need for the parties to prevail on their supporters to avoid violence before, during, and after the elections.
After the elections on Saturday, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec), declared Governor Obaseki the winner of the polls on Sunday morning with 307,955 votes to Pastor Osagie 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.
Before the elections, there were fears of violence and massive rigging from both sides, with the Oba of Benin even calling a peace meeting to ease tensions. Governor Wike of Rivers State, who was a key player in the elections, said that thanks to the threat of a visa ban, the ruling APC did not rig the polls and there was no violence.
Governor Wike added: “They were out to win at all cost but I think that one thing that played out which I noticed was that take for example, the US, the UK came to say, look, there will be a visa ban if anybody tries anything in terms of violence, in terms of rigging, so everyone was just careful. I don’t want to have a problem, I don’t want my family to have problem. We all go to UK every time.”