The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday declared Mr Adams Oshiomhole of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as the winner of the Edo governorship election, held on Saturday
The Returning Officer, Prof Osayuki Oshodi , who officially announced the result of the election at INEC headquarter in Benin, said Oshiomhole scored 477,478 votes to defeat five other candidates in the election.
Oshodi said Maj.-Gen.Charles Airhiavbere of the Peoples Democratic Party scored 144, 235 votes, while Chief Solomon Edebiri of All Nigeria Peoples Party scored 3,642 votes to come third.
He said Mr Roland Izeobuwe of Congress for Progressive Change came fourth with 2,793 votes and Mr Frank Ukonga of Social Democratic Movement Party followed with 807 votes.
Oshodi, who is the Vice-Chancellor of University of Benin, further announced that Mr Andrew Igwemoh of Labour Party scored 604 votes, while Mr Paul Orunmwese of National Conscience Party scored 540 votes in the contest,
He said that Oshiomhole, who is the incumbent, won in the 18 local government areas of the state and satisfied the requirements of the law to be declared winner of the contest.
“I, Prof Oshiodi as the returning officer, hereby certify that I was the returning officer of the July 14 governorship election and hereby declare that Oshiomhole having satisfied the requirement of the law and having scored the highest number of votes cast is hereby declared winner,’’ Oshodi declared.
Mainwhile, the Agent of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Martin Osakwe, in Saturday’s governorship election in Edo, has congratulated Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of ACN for his re-election.
Osakwe said in an interview with the Newsmen in Benin on Sunday that “as a person, I congratulate the declared winner. The party hierarchy will make a formal statement.’’
Osakwe commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a job well done and the security agents for their work in the election.
Residents of Benin City defied the morning rain and went into the streets in large numbers to jubilate over the re-election of the governor.
Jubilant crowds held brooms, the symbol of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), dancing and sweeping the streets.
Motorcyclists, popularly called Okada riders, also displayed brooms as they made brisk businesses major streets of the city, shouting ‘Oshio Baba’ a pet name for the governor
Our political correspondent reports that Voters trooped in large numbers to polling centres across the state with some arriving at the polling centres as early as 6a.m.
CHAIRMAN of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, had onTuesday last week arrived Benin City, the Edo State capital, with the assurance that the commission was ready to conduct a free, fair and credible governorship election .
Jega, who during an interview with journalist at the airport, expressed the commission’s readiness to ensure that all the Commission’s plans were fine-tuned for the election .
Apart from the assurance of free and fair election in the state,he also held a meeting with the stakeholders and party leaders of the commission’s plans for the election.
According to him, “We are in Edo State in fulfillment of the promise that we made to Nigerians in general and the people of Edo State in particular to ensure [a] free, fair and credible election, we’ve been working day and night and we’ve been doing our best to ensure that there is indeed free, fair, peaceful and credible election in Edo State.
“Our mission is clear. I am here to see the last-minute preparations before the election on Saturday. I know we have done everything possible to ensure that we have a free fair, credible and peaceful election; but I am here to make sure that everything has been done as planned before the election on Saturday and also to meet, of course, with the stakeholders.
“Of course, we normally do that. Before elections, we meet with stakeholders; we brief them about our last-minute preparations and if they have any last-minute questions or complaints, we try to address them.”
The INEC boss dismissed allegations by some civil society organisations (CSOs) that the commission deliberately denied accreditation to local observers for the election, saying: “We have done everything possible as per the established rules and regulations to properly accredit observers in Edo State. We have used the same procedure we have used to accredit observers in all the elections we have held in INEC. Since the April 2011 elections, we have applied that criteria rigorously.
“We normally advertise and people are given time within which to apply. Anybody who did not apply within the time frame allocated will not be considered and that is what has happened in this regard. We did not deliberately exclude anybody. Anybody who has not been accredited to observe the Edo election and all other elections, it is because they have not satisfied the requirements for accreditation for the election.”
Jega further said: “We have had stories being bandied about saying that we did not accredit any Edo civil society [group] or organisation; that is false. We have accredited many Edo-based civil society organisations but some did not meet the requirement, either they did not apply in time or the criteria we set, they did not meet it.
“Anybody who did not comply with those criteria, we did not accredit. This is not the first time we are doing it. We have done it in all previous elections; we only accredit people who meet the criteria we have set for the election.”
Jega also said the court judgment barring the commission from the use of the collapsible transparent ballot boxes because of issues pertaining to patent rights would not in any way affect the conduct of the governorship election in the state.
“As far as we are concerned, the judgment that has been passed does not affect our preparations for the election in Edo State. The judgment was in respect of collapsible election boxes, which are totally different from the ones we are using for this election,” he added.
INEC before the election on Saturday deployed eight National Commissioners and 10 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to Edo State for governorship election in the state.
Governor Oshiomhole had earlier brandd the INEC and its Chairman,Prof.Attahiru Jega as an embarrasement to the nation.
The Governor who spoke with newsmen at Iyamho Primary School, Iyamho, Etsako West Local Government, wondered how a winner would emerge in an election that prevents qualified voters from exercising their fundamental rights.as he accused the commission for not bring voting materials on time in some local government Area for the election.
“He expressed disappointment with the manner INEC had handled the exercise, saying, “Professor Jega and INEC have been an embarrassment to the nation. I am in shock with all the arrangements they have made… INEC is the weakest link in the Nigeria democratic chain. I have no faith in what INEC is doing in Benin City.”
He promised to hold the INEC chairman responsible for the “failure of the election and for disenfranchising the people” because the electoral body “connived” with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the election.
“They planned it and executed it this way. It is a shame that they have programmed this to embarrass Nigeria. If INEC does not allow the people to vote and they pronounce the winner, there will be trouble,” he warned.
“Fifty five pe rcent of voters are in Edo South and 40 percent in Benin City, and they think they can deprive the people the opportunity to vote. Professor Jega has failed because I wrote a petition that they are buying voters card. We will all go to court before God. They know that if it is two people remaining, they will not vote for them”
However, PDP, in an immediate reaction, described Oshiomhole’s position as hasty and a reflection of his fear of defeat. Okharedia Ihimekpen, its state director of publicity, said the governor’s comments were capable of damaging the integrity of the election.