The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate defeated his closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, former soldier Charles Airhiavbere in last Saturday’s election.
Benin City, the capital of Edo State, was the scene of a huge carnival, yesterday, as thousands of ACN supporters defied the early morning rain to embark on a victory procession round the ancient city.
Oshiomhole, who later joined the victory lap round the city thanked the people for turning out en masse to vote for him.
The Governor said the “landslide victory” is a true reflection of the wish of the people.
He promised more development.
Oshiomhole said: “God has blessed our project, it is finished. Now is the time to give thanks to God that today, a Holy Sunday, the people of Edo State have spoken. Across Edo South, across Edo Central, across Edo North our people are united by a common desire to build a new Edo State. to consolidate on our projects and together to take Edo State to the next level.
“I thank you for standing on your feet. On our feet, we shall fight for freedom; we shall never go on our knees. You young ones must remember that this fight was and is for your tomorrow. It’s for your freedom, your right to choose who governs you. We must make a statement that election riggers are out of business. What we owe is to sustain the development programmes.”
Former PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman Tony Anenih, Chief of Staff to the President and former Deputy Governor Mike Ogiadomhe, Esama of Benin Chief Osawaru Igbinedion and Gen. Airhiavbere, all lost in their wards.
Benin City, the state capital and other major towns, such as Auchi and Ekpoma, erupted in celebration after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the result early yesterday.
President Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP national secretariat, the ACN, Senate President David Mark, House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and Governors hailed the verdict.
Oshiomhole won with 477, 478 votes. Airhiavbere came second. He scored 144,235 votes. Chief Solomon Edebiri of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) came a distant third, with 3,642 votes.
Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate Izevbuwa Roland scored 2,793 votes. Andrew Igwemoh of the Labour Party (LP) polled 604 votes.
Mr. Paul Orumwense of the National Conscience Party (NCP) got 540 votes. Prince Frank Ukonga of the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) scored 807.
In all, 647,698 votes were cast; 630,099 were valid and 17, 599 were rejected.
There were 1, 651, 099 registered voters in the 18 Local Government Areas.
The Returning Officer, Prof Godwin Oshodin, who announced the result at about 8am, said Oshiomhole polled the highest number of valid votes and is, therefore, the winner.
A breakdown of the result is as follows: Akoko Edo: ACN (29, 803), PDP (13,783), ANPP (163), CPC (184), LP (38), NCP (36) and SDMP (65).
Egor: ACN (50,623), PDP (3,486), ANPP (294), CPC (281), LP (28), NCP (36) and SDMP (29).
Esan Central: ACN (11,792), PDP (9,281), ANPP (83), CPC (65), LP (23), NCP (30) and SDMP (34).
Esan North East: ACN (13,086), PDP (12, 478), ANPP (123), ANPP (77), LP (11), NCP (35) and SDMP (44).
Esan South East: ACN (14, 904), PDP (9,634), ANPP (85), CPC (61), LP (22), NCP (16) and SDMP (36).
Esan West: ACN (13,499), PDP (13,282), ANPP (156), CPC (115), LP (24), NCP (25), and SDMP (40).
Etsako Central: ACN (16,834), PDP (5,113), ANPP (42), CPC (30), LP (12), NCP (16) and SDMP (18).
Etsako East: ACN (23,174), PDP (4,992), ANPP (75), CPC (61), LP (13), NCP (6), SDMP (28).
Etsako West: ACN (44,962), PDP (5,920), ANPP (169), CPC (192), LP (152), NCP (37), SDMP (45).
Igueben: ACN (9,751), PDP (6,758), ANPP (63), CPC (35), LP (9), NCP (19), SDMP (18).
Ikpoba/Okha: ACN (58,809), PDP (6,505), ANPP (518), CPC (357), LP (54), NCP (49), SDMP (56).
Oredo: ACN (66,522), PDP (9,081), ANPP (454), CPC (268), LP (49), NCP (45), SDMP (48).
Orhionmwon: ACN (26,163), PDP (8,716), ANPP (277), CPC (235), LP (34), NCP (46), SDMP (53).
Ovia North East: ACN (26,835), PDP (5,427), ANPP (280), CPC (233), LP (41), NCP (34), SDMP (68) Ovia South West: ACN (16,077), PDP (5,015), ANPP (196), CPC (222), LP (25), NCP (37), SDMP (84)
Owan East: ACN (22,483), PDP (11,709), ANPP (169), CPC (123), LP (27), NCP (23), SDMP (34)
Owan West: ACN (15,150), PDP (7,229), ANPP (136), CPC (130), LP (20), NCP (26), SDMP (37)
Uhunmwode: ACN (17,011), PDP (5,826), ANPP (359), CPC (124), LP (22), NCP (24), SDMP (70).
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mr Kassim Gaidam praised the political parties’ leaders for their “maturity”.
“They have proved to be real politicians. I am very proud of Edo,” he said after the announcement.
He then joked: “I will even apply for the citizenship of Edo State. If all politicians will conduct themselves this way, then our job will be made easier.”
According to him, despite some hitches encountered, there was a lot to cheer about the exercise.
“The effort to make INEC better will continue. We should all be solution-providers at all times,” he said.
Celebrations erupted outside the INEC headquarters on 3, Benin-Auchi Road, Ikpoba Hill.
Chants of “Oshio Baba!” “It’s the peoples’ election!” “No more PDP!” “No more Anenih!” rent the air.
Men, women, youths, commercial motorcycle riders and bus drivers all sang songs of victory.
Some sang: “PDP, sweep am!”; “Anenih, sweep am!” as broom sellers made brisk business.
As if to acknowledge Oshiomhole’s victory, the heavens opened up as it rained about an hour later.
Hundreds of youths sang and marched through Benin streets.
At the INEC headquarters, security was tight as a large detachment of armed soldiers and policemen stood guard, frisking visitors and controlling the surging crowd.
Some party agents and reporters had kept vigil at the INEC office.
President Jonathan and Senate President David Mark congratulated Oshiomhole.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan praised INEC and the security services for ensuring that the election was free and fair.
He said the successful conduct of the election was in line with his administration’s commitment to continually strengthen democracy through the establishment of a more credible electoral system.
The President urged Oshiomhole to receive the fresh mandate as an endorsement of his outstanding performance in his first term.
He also urged the governor to see his re-election as an expression of the desire of Edo people for “the continuation of focused, purposeful and dynamic leadership’’.
The statement reads: “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan congratulates Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State on his re-election yesterday for another term in office.
“President Jonathan also commends the Independent National Electoral Commission, its personnel and the nation’s security services for ensuring that the elections were free and fair in keeping with his administration’s commitment to continually strengthening democracy in Nigeria through the establishment of a more credible electoral system.
“The President urges Governor Oshiomhole to receive the fresh mandate given to him yesterday by the people of Edo State as an endorsement of his outstanding performance in his first term and an expression of their desire for a continuation of his focused, purposeful and dynamic leadership.
“He expects that the Governor will work even harder in his second term to justify the confidence in his leadership clearly expressed by the Edo State electorate yesterday and assures him that the Federal Government will continue to give all possible support and assistance for development in the state.
“President Jonathan wishes the Comrade-Governor continued good health and a successful second term in the service of Edo State and Nigeria.”
Senate President Mark described Oshiomhole’s victory was a reward for service.
He said: “This re-election is a reward for service. It must serve as an elixir for greater performance. You must continue to make service to your people the focal point of your administration.”
In a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, Mark urged the governor to be magnanimous in victory and implored him and other contestants to join hands to build a new Edo in the overall interest of the people.
The Senate President praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and the people for the peaceful conduct of the election.
He commiserated with the government and people of the state over the Ologbo boat mishap which claimed some lives in the course of Saturday’s election.
The national leadership of the PDP conceded victory to Oshiomhole.
In a congratulatory message to Oshiomhole, the PDP also urged its supporters to remain calm, law abiding and to resist the temptation to take the law into their hands.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement, said: “As a party that respects the institutions of democracy, and in demonstration of the spirit of sportsmanship, which is the acclaimed principle of the PDP under the leadership of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, we call on all our supporters to accept this result as declared by INEC.
“We congratulate the winner for this victory. This is, however, without prejudice to our right to seek redress if we observe from our field reports any foul play. We, therefore, urge our supporters to remain calm, law abiding and resist any temptation to take the law into their hands.
“While we await the reports of our monitors in different locations in the state in order to determine our next course of action, we commend the people of Edo State for their enthusiastic participation in the exercise.
“In the course of our campaigns, we told the people that our entry into the race was not a do-or-die affair. We did our best to provide a credible alternative to the people of the state.
“We shared their hope for a re-entry into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. We shared their sentiments in their yearning to join the list of progressive states administered by the PDP. However, to our disappointment, the results as declared by INEC did not go our way”, the statement added.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in a statement by his media office in Abuja, said Oshiomhole’s reaction was a clear confirmation that the people are satisfied with the performance of the governor in his first term in office.
According to Atiku, it is becoming increasingly clear that Nigerians are ready to take full advantage of democracy as a system of representative government following the way in which the election was monitored by Nigerians via the social media platforms.
He praised the people of Edo State for the discipline and tolerance they had exhibited in expressing their choice in the election.
Atiku commended Gen. Airhiavbere for making himself available as an alternative in the election, noting that the loss in Edo State should be taken in good faith as it was never a do-or-die affair in the first place.
According to him, PDP’s loss in Edo State offers unique opportunity for the ruling party to reflect on the way forward.
Edo ACN Chairman Mr Thomas Okosun praised President Jonathan for not interfering in the election.
Okosun, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Benin, also praised INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega for conducting a free and fair election.
He said: “With this election, the President has indeed demonstrated that he is a man of his word and Nigerians can trust him too.
“ACN’s victory today is a victory for Nigeria’s democracy and gradual liberation from the era of dictatorship.’’
The chairman noted however that INEC still needs to improve on its operations, especially in producing accurate voters register, provision of logistics and the distribution of election materials.