Governor Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, has scored the highest votes in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election and has been declared the winner.
The result of the election, held in all Edo’s 18 local governments, was declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday in Benin, the state capital.
“Godwin Obaseki of the PDP, having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner,” Johnson Alalibo, the chief returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, announced on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Obaseki polled 307,955 votes to defeat his main rival, Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who had 223,619 votes. He also won in 13 of the 18 local government areas and thus scored more than 25 per cent of votes cast in two-thirds of the local governments in the state to satisfy the second constitutional requirement to be declared governor.
Mr Obaseki won his first election in 2016 as a candidate of the APC, principally supported by Adams Oshiomhole, the immediate past governor and former chairman of the APC. Mr Ize-Iyamu was then the candidate of the PDP.
But in the course of his term as the governor, Mr Obaseki became estranged with Mr Oshiomhole, causing an epic political battle now capped off with his victory today.
The battle contributed to the fall of Mr Oshiomhole as the chairman of the APC. But Mr Obaseki also could not get that party’s ticket and he had to switch to the PDP with his deputy, Phillip Shaibu.
Days ahead of the election, APC leader and former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, had in a recorded broadcast made an “appeal” to the Edo electorate to “reject” Mr Obaseki, whom he dismissed as having no sound democratic credential.
Mr Obaseki won in 13 local government areas, including his home Oredo LGA, which is the largest. Mr Ize-Iyamu, on the other hand, won the remaining five local governments, including his main backer Mr Oshiomole’s Etsako West.
Saturday’s election was not without incidents of ballot snatching, over voting technical glitches affecting card readers, and violence reported in a few polling units by returning officers during the collation exercise.
These incidents caused the cancellation of votes in some polling units.
A total of 14 parties contested the election but PDP and APC are the main parties.
The election was conducted with compliance to some COVID-19 protocol as officials were seen conducting thermal checks and requiring voters to use face masks before voting. However, there was no social distancing anywhere.