Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issue a Certificate of Return to the Edo State Governor-elect, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who won the September 28 governorship election in the state.
In his address, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Edo State, Mr. Sam Olumekun, described the election as historic in the history of the commission and Edo people, noting that an inconclusive election would have violated the constitution, which was the reason why the election was postponed.
Olumekun said: “It is a historic day not only in the lives of our new leaders but also in the lives of the people of Edo State. It is the dawn of a new era.
“An inconclusive election would have pushed us to an electoral crisis with barely two weeks to the 30 days before handover, Edo people will appreciate why we had the election on September 28. That is why the commission left no stone unturned in conducting the September 28 election which was conclusive.
He also thanked INEC officials, security agencies and other stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure a successful outcome, noting that “of course you are aware that we did not lose any lives.”
He added that the job of “conducting an election is the joint duty of all stakeholders who play their part in ensuring a peaceful and credible election takes place, urging Obaseki to “kindly remember that the people’s interest and welfare is paramount.”
While presenting the Certificate of Return, the South-south National Commissioner, Dr. Mustapha Muhammed, said:“It is with great sense of duty that I stand to perform this statutory duty of the INEC.”
Mustapha who said the card reader has come to stay to eliminate all forms of electoral fraud in the electoral process stressed that, “INEC will continue to ensure a free, fair and credible election across the country.”
Responding after the presentation of Certificate of Return to him, Obaseki, who was in company of his Deputy Governor-elect Mr. Philip Shaibu, thanked God and the people of Edo State for their support and noted that he was in the race to serve.
“Let me start by thanking God Almighty and also the REC and INEC Chairman for conducting what has been adjudged one of the most peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in the state.
“I feel so exited today because I decided to entre politics because I felt it was time to expand the polity. I see my role as one of a touch bearer so as to attract resources into our democratic space.
I was cognisant of the fact I had to run my campaign as professionally as possible, dealing with the issues that concern our people and try to down play the non-issues. It has shown that today’s result can be proven, we can be professional, we can be honest, we can be open, we don’t have to tell lies, we don’t have to deceive our people to get electoral success.
“The events leading to the election and after have proven that you were as fair, transparent and open as you possibly could be and the people of Edo State generally accepted the outcome of the election. You were efficient but not perfect.
“I fully understand the responsibility I am here to carry, I have the people of Edo State who have come out to give me the responsibility of leading Edo.
“I want to assure everybody here that I decided to become governor because I want to serve and I will put your interest over and above my personal interest.”