Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state has revealed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to which he belongs, actually lost the governorship election in Edo state because its candidate in the exercise, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, contested against an alleged federal government-influenced Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The election was won by Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC), even though the PDP has rejected the result of the exercise alleging fraud.
The governor said while his party and its candidate were battling INEC, the APC earned its own victory with the use of federal government agencies which subverted the will of the people.
Fayose lamented that the win-at-all-cost attitude of the APC was inimical to the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.
He further said it was sad that instead of the people of Edo state to elect their own governor, the APC conspired with INEC to foist its own governor on the people.
Reacting to the outcome of the election through his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, the governor said it was unfortunate that those whose ‘change’ was made possible because the then PDP government allowed the people the freedom to make a choice have now eroded the independence of INEC.
“The stage for the manipulation of the election was set by the use of security agencies to postpone the election, even when there was no single security threat and what was witnessed in Edo state last Wednesday was the execution of the rigging plans perfected after the postponement,” Fayose said in the statement made available.
The governor said it should be obvious to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria and the international community that the APC-led federal government would never allow a free and fair election in the country as the PDP and other opposition parties now contest elections against INEC.
“The power of the people to choose their governor was completely robbed at gunpoint in Edo state.
“Unfortunately too, these elements have even murdered the rights of Nigerians to protest against the subversion of their will and it is now obvious that only the insistence of Nigerians can save democracy in the country.
“Like I have said before, we are already seeing signs of what to come in 2019 and Nigerians should know by now that it will only take their insistence for their votes to count as long as these APC elements remain in power,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM) has congratulated Edo people for the successful election.
In a statement made available to our sources by its executive chairman, Nelson Ekujumi, the group said: “We applaud the massive turnout of the people of Edo state to the polling units as well as their peaceful and orderly conduct throughout the exercise and for being vigilant in ensuring that their votes manifest in the public count and announcement of results at the polling units.
“We sincerely commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its unbiasedness and professionalism in the adequate and timely deployment of men and materials to all the polling units in the 192 wards of the 18 local governments of Edo state.
“We congratulate the electoral body for the improved efficiency of the card reader and trained personnel who exhibited mastery of electoral materials that left no one in doubt about a new and improved INEC ready to deliver on its mandate to the Nigerian people.
“We equally commend the security agencies for their neutrality, professionalism and strict observance of the provisions of the electoral act by its adequate deployment of unarmed security personnel to the polling units and for their courteous conduct at strategic road blocks meant to curb unnecessary movement of persons during the election which signposted its readiness to combat any security challenge.
“We commend the local and international observers for a job well done as well as the media for their critical roles in engendering democracy by their professional conduct throughout the exercise.
“By and large, we commend all the political parties and their candidates who contested the election and wish to admonish the winner to be magnanimous in victory in rallying the other contestants to see the election as a victory for democracy and the good people of Edo state who deserve to reap the dividend of democracy through a better life through the exercise of their franchise.
“However, if any candidate is aggrieved, we at CPPM, wish to admonish them to explore the civilized and democratic means of approaching the courts rather than taking the law into their hands as witnessed at the state collation centre on the 29th of September, 2016.
“The 2016 Edo state gubernatorial election from our on field observation and reports gathered from across the 18 local government council areas on election day has been generally adjudged as free, fair and credible and the outcome, a reflection of the will of the people as expressed via the ballot box, which is a victory for democracy that emphasizes the supremacy of the peoples will.”