Obaseki offers olive branch to opponents

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Obaseki offers olive branch to opponents

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday presented Certificates of Return to Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, and his running mate, Mr. Philip Shaibu.

The ceremony took place at the collation centre in INEC’s office in Benin, the state capital.

The poll’s Returning Officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Ruke, on Sunday, declared Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the election, having polled 307,955 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who garnered 223,619 votes.

There were 12 other candidates in the election.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Edo, Bayelsa and Rivers states, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, presented the certificates to Obaseki and Shaibu.

In his acceptance speech, Obaseki hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring that the poll was free, fair and credible.

“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the part he played in ensuring a free, fair and credible election. He will be remembered as the father of democracy in Nigeria. He had a choice to ensure his party was declared winner but insisted that the right thing be done,” he said.

Calling for the cooperation of APC members to jointly build the state, the governor said: “I use this opportunity to reach out to our brothers on the other side of the divide, as we are one family in the pursuit to provide public good for our citizens. The election shows that they trust us more now to provide leadership. It doesn’t mean the opposition parties don’t have a role to play.”

He added: “I use this opportunity to extend the hands of fellowship to my brother, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his other colleagues in the APC as well as other parties to join hands with us to move Edo forward.

“I call on Adams Oshiomhole that the fight is over and he should come and join in building the house, which he was part of, in laying the foundation. We have no malice but only disagree on the approach in moving Edo forward.”

The governor praised the leadership of INEC for its unbiased role in the poll and the commission’s National Chairman’s ability to withstand pressure as an umpire.

“I want to thank the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for his intellect in introducing technology to provide transparency in the process. He should be hailed by all as INEC was able to view results as the counting of votes was ongoing in units across the state. This has introduced another ornament of transparency in the way we do election in Nigeria.”

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Menem, has constituted an election tribunal to adjudicate petitions arising from the just-concluded Edo State governorship election.

A statement on Tuesday in Abuja by the tribunal’s Secretary, Sunday Martins, reads: “The general public is hereby put on notice that the Honourable President of Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Justice M. B. Dongban Mensem, has established the election petition tribunal secretariat and accordingly constituted a panel in respect of the governorship election conducted in Edo State.

“The Chief Judge of the state, Justice E. A. Edigin, has graciously approved the use of High Court complex (Election Petitions Court Hall), Sapele Road, Benin, for the tribunal’s sittings. The secretariat is now open.

“For further enquiries, please, contact the Secretary on mobile phone number: 07010058493.”

Also, Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, has hailed President Buhari for ensuring free, fair and violence-free election in Edo State on September 19.

A statement by the Secretary of Benin Traditional Council, Frank Irabor, reads: “On behalf of the Oba of Benin, the Benin Traditional Council wishes to congratulate Governor Obaseki on his re-election for a second term.

“As His Royal Majesty (Oba of Benin) said on numerous occasions, the Benin throne is non-partisan. On Election Day, the people spoke, because the voice of the people is the voice of God…”

Edo State chapter of the APC yesterday dispelled rumour that the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party is set to expel Oshiomhole.

The party’s State Chairman Anslem Ojesua announced this in a telephone interview with our correspondent.

The social media on Tuesday claimed that the state chairman had tweeted this: “I have written to the APC national headquarters that I and all the party chairmen down to the ward level have all signed the petition to completely expel Adams Oshiomhole from our great party.”

But Ojesua said: “We have not met. We are meeting on Thursday to review the entire situation. That is when we will make our decision known by way of formal briefing. We have not met. We shall meet on Thursday.”

When told that it was gathered that some local government chairmen of the party were calling for Oshiomole’s expulsion, he said: “They (local government party leaders) can come and canvass that at the meeting, and if that is the decision that is taken, then it is fine. But, at the moment, we have not met. We are meeting on Thursday.”

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