Taking a cue from President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday conceded defeat in the Edo State governorship election.
The party described Saturday’s poll as peaceful and its outcome “victory for democracy”.
The APC congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer, and urged its members to put the election behind them and prepare better for the October 10 Ondo State governorship election.
The party’s position was made known after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari by Chairman of the party’s caretaker committee, Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni, accompanied by Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
The Kano governor was the chairman of the Edo State Campaign Council.
Although the governors did not give reasons for their visit to the President, The Nation learnt that it was in connection with the Edo State election.
Obaseki won 307,955 votes to defeat Osagie Ize-Iyamu won polled 223,619 votes. The governor won in 13 local government councils while his opponent won in five.
President Buhari on Sunday hailed the outcome of the election, saying it was in line with his ‘commitment to free and fair elections.” He congratulated the winner.
“The Edo State Governorship election is over, the winner has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the person of the Mr. Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP). We hereby congratulate the winner of the election, the people of Edo State and all Nigerians.
The peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represent victory for Nigeria’s democracy.
“As a party, we join our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, to affirm our ‘commitment to free and fair elections’ in order to strengthen ‘the foundation for our political and moral authority’.
We commend INEC, our security agencies and all political parties that contested the election for the successful conduct of the election.
As a governing party, we will take every step necessary to support the Federal Government to consolidate all the gains achieved.
“We, in particular want to salute our candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamuh for his tenacity and leadership. We similarly commend our Edo State leaders, especially our immediate past National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and all our members in Edo State for demonstrating unwavering support for our party and our candidate in the election.
In the face of all the challenges, we collectively remained faithful and worked tirelessly during the campaigns. We appeal to all our members to be strengthened by the outcome of the election and unite in order to correct all the problems that worked against our party and our candidate in the just concluded election.
“We specially hereby celebrate our Edo State 2020 Governorship Campaign Council led by His Excellency Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State. We acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of all members of the Campaign Council. As progressives and democrats, we are confident that all leaders and members of the party will celebrate the outcome of the election as free and fair as acknowledged by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Let us unite to move our democracy forward. We must put an end to the era when electoral contest become warfare. We urge our candidate and all our members to join us in congratulating Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the PDP, being the declared winner of the election. Our attention must now shift to Ondo State and ensure that we win the October 10, 2020 election. September 19, 2020 Edo election should present a new watershed. We will work hard to win the Ondo election.
“Having reaffirmed our commitment to free and fair elections, it is our expectation that all opposition parties in the country will also commit themselves to free and fair contests. We will therefore accordingly expect congratulatory message from all parties just as we similarly guarantee that once we are defeated in a fair contest, we will congratulate the winner.”
‘Uzodimma didn’t reject result’
Also on Monday, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma, a member of the campaign council, clarified that he never rejected the result of the election, contrary to the fake report trending on the social media.
His media aide, Oguwike Nwachuku, said in a statement that political hawks were trying to divert his attention from governance.
Flaying fake news merchants for peddling falsehood about Uzodimma, Nwachuku said the report on the rejection of the result attributed to him was the imagination of the writers.
The governor also debunked the claim that he spent N3 billion on the Edo election.
He said: “In one of the reports, it was claimed Governor Uzodimma spent N3billion, while a fake Reuters report claims that he spent $5 million on Edo governorship election.
“The writer of the fake Reuters report, one Stan Walden Newyork (obviously a fake name), claimed the money was squandered to appease the ruling party.
“No doubt, the authors of the fake reports are obviously the same characters we have always known who have been signing off press releases, using the name and Office of the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to give their criminal, selfish and foolish intent some measure of credibility.”
Nwachuku said the recent Edo election, like others in the past involving Uzodimma, has provided them with another opportunity to feed the public with lies.
He said: “In their desperation to discredit Governor Uzodimma on the outcome of the Edo governorship poll, they have cast innuendos; insinuating that he has rejected the outcome of the governorship election and that he had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of being compromised, and that the APC will get judgment from the tribunal.
“Their insinuation also includes that the governor said that the entire process was marred by irregularities from INEC officials who, they claimed, sabotaged the system.
“If the authors of the fake reports still have some brain in their head, something would have told them that since Governor Uzodimma is neither from Edo nor Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council, the mischief they were primed to accomplish will not fly.”