by Isi Esene
Many people in Edo State defied the rain showers and ran into the streets in wild jubilation after the current governor and ACN candidate, Adams Oshiomhole, was declared winner of the gubernatorial contest.
Reveling in his victory, 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.”
His triumph was all the more remarkable noting that Oshiomhole’s opponent, Charles Airhiavbere, lost in his own ward.
Gov. Oshiomhole won with 477, 478 votes, while Airhiavbere scored 144,235 votes.
Bitter loser? Or principled candidate?
According to the Nation Newspapers, Charles Airhiavbere thanked the people of the state for their support. He said it could have been easy for him to congratulate Oshiomhole but that Oshiomhole pre-empted the system which returned him winner.
He said: “I won’t fully comment on the election because the acclaimed winner had earlier in the day at about 1pm condemned the electoral system. He condemned the chairman of INEC for the process that had not ended.
“That process at the end of the day declared him the winner. I will observe in the next few days before I make my comment”.
Erm, that would put him at odds with the national leadership of the PDP, which appears to have conceded victory to Oshiomhole.
In a congratulatory message to Oshiomhole, the party’s national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh 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. The PDP also urged its supporters to remain calm, law-abiding and to resist the temptation to take the law into their hands.
“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.
“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 concluded.
Armed with the overwhelming endorsement of the Edo State people the governor can now put politicking behind him and embark on projects which will touch the lives of the Edo State people positively.