By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

Governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, on Sunday said Saturday’s by-election victory of the party in the Irepodun/Isin/Ekiti/Oke-Ero federal constituency of the state was an indication of the commitment and desire of the people of the state to achieve political freedom and return the governance of the state to APC in 2019.

Alhaji Abdulrasaq, in a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday, said “there is no doubt that the APC would advance forward towards winning more seats during the next year general election in the state.”

The statement said, “This victory represents a great leap in our people’s lifelong yearning for political freedom, good governance, development, accountability and integrity.

“It is the beginning of the end for characters who have held our dear state to ransom, characters who have made Kwara and its people the butt of national jokes! The outcome, more than anything else, asserts the fact that our people have had enough of the status quo.

“They are saying enough is enough and the time to move Kwara to the next level is now.”

The APC governorship candidate said, “As we savour this well-deserved victory, we therefore urge our people to not relent as we head to the general election where, God willing, we will see to the end of a status quo that represents backwardness, corruption and disdain for socioeconomic advancement of the people and the state.”

He also noted that, “One of the secrets of our success in this by-election is the suppression and almost total eradication of criminals and armed thugs hitherto used in rigging elections in Kwara,” adding that, “Kwarans will never forget the 31 lives lost in the Offa robbery; we will ensure that their lives were not lost in vain.”

Abdulrazaq commended the efforts of the security and electoral officers, saying “We thank the security agencies for their efficiency and disciplined discharge of duties .

“We thank the electoral commission for conducting a free and fair election and resisting desperate attempts to subvert the rules and manipulate the poll. We urge these government agencies to keep up the good work.”

The Chief Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Abimbola Adesoji, while declaring the result of the by-election at the Irepodun Local Government Secretariat in Omu-Aran, said Hon. Raheem Olatunji Olawuyi polled 21,236 to emerge winner.

He defeated his closest rival, Saheed Damilare of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 18,095.

Abimbola, who is of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said Olawuyi having scored the highest number of votes in the election was declared winner.

Other contestants in the election were Femi Ona-Ara of Labour Party, Ajadi Olayemi of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) as well as Olaniyan Ayorinde of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).