Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has described the electoral victory of Edo Gov. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki as hard-won and a declaration of independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism that have taken the nation’s political space.
Obaseki, who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after his estranged godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, denied him the party’s ticket for a second term run, had left other 13 challengers in the dust.
He was declared the winner by INEC on Sunday, polling 307, 955 votes to beat Osagie Ize-Iyamu of APC who garnered 223, 619 votes.
“No victory could be sweeter than this, and I heartily congratulate the Governor and the good people of Edo state for their resilience in the face of the forces arrayed against them.
“There is a new dawn in Edo State, and the hard-won victory of Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki is not just a victory, but a Declaration of Independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism.
“Edo has a rich history as the centre of Black civilization, and to this, she is adding a new history as the bastion of Nigerian democracy. This double whammy of ancient and modern glories is a testament to a people who have for centuries set the pace as a beacon of light on the African continent.
I most heartily congratulate the Peoples Democratic Party, who stood shoulder to shoulder, with the people of Edo and their Government, in good times and bad.
“We, in the PDP, have shown that we are not fair-weather friends to the good people of Edo. In good times, we will walk beside you. In bad times, we will be your true ‘comrade’. We will never be a turncoat.
“We will never abandon the principles we once espoused, so we can dine with our nemesis. Democracy has no nemesis. And this, the PDP has again proved,’’ Atiku said in a statement personally signed by him and given to Persecondnews.
Atiku said he looked forward to the continuation of four more years of tangible development, and people-centred leadership from Gov. Obaseki.
He added: “I also seize this opportunity to thank His Royal Highness, the Oba of Benin, Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo, Ewuare II, for the fatherly role he played as a neutral catalyst for peace. That this election was, by and large, free from violence, is a testament of the long and effective shadow he casts over his domain.
“From personal experience, I know Governor Obaseki to be a magnanimous man, and I urge Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to accept the right hand of fellowship that is likely to be extended to him. The leprous hand he is now holding, can only lead to a destination of barrenness.
“He is amongst strange bedfellows, and I remind him that no matter how far one has gone on a wrong road, it is never too late to turn back and head in the right direction. The PDP is the right direction.’’
On the October 10 Ondo State governorship poll, the former Vice-President (1999-2007) also said: “And to the good people of Ondo state, my message to you is that freedom from the oppressive grasp of godfathers and external forces that seek to dominate your will, and eviscerate your treasury, is possible. Edo has done it. You can do it too!
“There is a new wind of democratic change now blowing all over Nigeria. The forces of despotism, nepotism, and interlopers cannot successfully withstand this force. Nigeria shall soon be totally free from these forces, from Kaura Namoda, to Lagos. The only power that will stand in Nigeria is people power, not the power of godfathers, or despots.
“May God bless the good people of Edo State and may God bless Nigeria.’’