By Onungwe Obe
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has described his victory in the last Saturday governorship election as a unifying factor for the South-South region of Nigeria.
He spoke yesterday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, at a state dinner in his honour.
Obaseki said the victory, which has brought all the states in the South-South under one party, would foster rapid socio-economic development in the region.
Obaseki commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring a level-playing field in the poll and expressed the optimism that the outcome would rub off positively on future elections in the country and allow the will of the people to prevail at all times.
He said: “We drove here from Asaba as part of our tour to come and say thank you. To come and appreciate His Excellency, Governor Diri, and the people of Bayelsa State for what you have done for us; for the contributions, you made to ensure that we emerged victorious in last Saturday’s election. We did not want to keep it late just to let you know how truly grateful we are.
“Senator Diri said he didn’t do much, just prayers. But that was more than enough. You did more than prayers. You visited us, you contributed, you gave us support, you prayed. These are all the things that came together to give us victory.
“This victory is what we call unity victory. It has united us in Edo as one people. It has united us in Bendel as one sub-region and it is uniting us in the South-South as one region. As a region, we have all it takes to be greater than many countries in Africa but the starting point is cooperation.”
In his remarks, Diri described Obaseki’s re-election as a triumph for democracy in Nigeria, saying it was a litmus test that the country passed creditably.
He noted that the Edo governor’s victory was significant to people of the state as it proved that power comes only from God and not man.
He lauded Obaseki for his tenacity just as he praised the people of Edo for standing by their governor.
He said by so doing, they had set a standard for others to follow.
Diri stated: “My brother governor was disqualified by his former party, which claimed he did not have a certificate. The irony was so strong that those of us watching from the sides were asking if the party was serious that a sitting governor does not have the qualification to contest an election or that it was going to go like what happened in Lagos.
“This (your victory) would not have been possible if you had chickened out of that race. You took the bull by the horns. You had the support of your people and you had the support of your party that gave you the umbrella when it was raining.
“May I use this opportunity to congratulate all the people of Edo State and members of the People’s Democratic Party in Edo. This victory is not for the Edo people alone. This is a victory for Nigeria.”
He expressed the optimism that the South-South would remain a PDP stronghold and the party would transform the fortunes of the region.
In a welcome address, the Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said the victory was a precious gift to the PDP family and urged the party to sustain the momentum as they go into the Ondo election on October 10.