Mr Godwin Obaseki, winner of Saturday’s All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries in Edo State, said his victory was a collective one for him, his co-contestants and the delegates.
In the result of the primaries announced in the early hours of Sunday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin city, venue of the exercise, Obaseki scored 1,618 votes to clinch victory.
He defeated 11 contestants, including his closest rival, Dr Pius Odubu, the Deputy Governor of the state, who polled 471 votes. The result was announced by Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina state, Chairman of the committee charged with the conduct of the election.
In his acceptance speech after the announcement, Obaseki urged his co-contestants to work with him to achieve victory for APC in the Sept. 10 governorship election in the state.
According to him, the primary election was only the first leg of other challenges ahead.
“The delegates were true heroes of democracy. They have shown that indeed, democracy has evolved and far more sophisticated than they have been given credit for.
“We have collectively decided who will fly the flag of our great party in Edo. My greatest encouragement in this race was my co-contestants, this array of accomplished individuals, including the deputy governor, Dr Pius Odubu.
“I am indeed humbled by my nomination, but I will like to state that this is our collective victory.
“As a party, we must continue to work as a team to deliver victory at the Sept.10 governorship election. But, let me assure you that we will win,” he said.
The party’s nominee said that the state had commenced another journey into a brighter future, “a future which will define the state as a modern and progressive state where every citizen is provided with opportunity to live life to its fullness”.
He promised to build on the successes of Gov. Adams Oshiomhole.
In his remarks, Masari, who presented the Certificate of Return to Obaseki, urged those who participated in the primaries to regard themselves as winners and not losers.
He said that together the aspirants could and would make Edo and Nigeria better.
“For those who are not lucky to be the flag bearer this time around, they should get ready; four years in the life of a nation is so small, even in the life of an individual.
“In politics, we have to learn to accept defeat and prepare for the next election.
“May I appeal to the winner also to be magnanimous in victory because this is the first leg.
“The second and most important is the general election, where you need the support of not only the members of APC, but also other people of Edo State.
“For this reason, I call on you to extend the hands of fellowship to your fellow contestants.
“And, for the contestants, take solace that it is only God that decides and who chooses who to lead in a particular time,” Masari said.
He said that the committee adhered strictly to the rules and guideline provided by the party in the conduct of the primaries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the APC primaries which started at about 9 a.m. with accreditation on Saturday came to a conclusion at about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. (NAN)