By Akanimo Sampson
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has consolidated the grips of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-South geo-political zone, Nigeria’s main oil and gas basin by delivering Godwin Obaseki as the governor of Edo State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Returning Officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, who announced the results of the election, says PDP hauled 307,955 votes to crush the All Progressives Congress (APC) which polled 223,619 votes.
With the development, Obaseki has crush godfatherism in Edo as he has been declared winner of the governorship election on Sunday afternoon.
The governor-elect fell out with a seeming desperate godfather and predecessor whose tenure as APC National Chairman was short-circuited due to crisis in the party, Adams Oshiomhole, months before the electioneering campaigns.
Following the conflict with Oshiomhole, Obaseki defected to the PDP in June after he was disqualified from contesting the APC primaries, with the screening committee citing discrepancies in his school certificates.
He secured the PDP gubernatorial ticket in a week, after visiting Governor Wike and his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Udom Emmanuel.
Governor Wike, the PDP National Campaign Council Chairman for the Edo governorship poll had earlier said there was minimal violence recorded because of the proactive measures deployed by the security agencies.
The build-up to the election was turbulent with political foot soldiers from the two major political camps unleashing violence and turning the South-South state into a battlefield of some sorts.
To contain the situation, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, deployed 31,000 policemen to Edo to keep the peace and restore some semblance of sanity, days before the poll.
The election day on Saturday was marred by pockets of violence in certain polling units and vote buying. One electoral officer was reportedly shot, while the other was cut in the face. COVID-19 safety protocols like physical distancing and wearing of face masks, were also largely ignored at polling units.
However, according to Wike, election does not end with voting because it is a process that also includes counting of votes and collation.
‘’With the voting concluded, there is need for both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to ensure that nothing scuttles the remaining stages.
‘’Like I have said before, election is not only about voting, the votes should be counted, then you proceed to collation stages; ward, local and state government levels. The collation stage is the critical period.
‘’So, I urge both INEC and security agencies to protect all the collation centres. When that is done, everybody who has voted will be happy to see that their will has prevailed,” he said.
Continuing, he said when an electoral process is transparent with less violence and disenfranchisement, every participating political party will gladly accept its outcome.
‘’This may likely be the best election ever conducted in the history of Nigeria. But they must allow the process to continue to the end. Otherwise they will destroy it.
‘’If it is APC that has won, let it be so. If it is PDP that has won, let it also be so. But I must tell that we are happy with what we have got.
‘’We have field report of results of over 2,000 polling units. It shows clearly that PDP is leading. I want to commend INEC so far. They have made sure that people voted in their various polling units.
‘’I want to also commend the security agencies so far, for also making sure that there were no much violence’’, says Governor Wike.