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US/UK visa ban, threats of asset seizure did the magic, says Natasha

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The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the November 2019 election in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti, has congratulated the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, on his outstanding victory at the polls, which returned him for a second term as governor of Edo State.

Akpoti, in a statement, she issued immediately after Obaseki was declared the winner of the Edo governorship election, said the victory transcends political platforms because it shows that true power belongs to the people and not godfathers.

Natasha, who is still bitter with the Supreme Court’s verdict on the controversial Kogi State governorship election, said the outpouring of votes in favour of Obaseki only proved that sheer determination by the people could make goals prevail.

“Godfatherism breeds criminal politics usurps the rights and choices of the people and worsens the sociopolitical development of Nigeria. Eradicating this vice will do Nigeria’s democracy a whole lot of good.”

Also, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has commended the people of Edo State for demonstrating exceptional resilience during the governorship elections that returned Governor Godwin Obaseki for the second term in office.

The CNPP also praised the electorate for standing firmly to defend true democracy by standing against obvious intimidation, and also ensure that their votes counted.

While congratulating Governor Godwin Obaseki on his victory during the Saturday’s governorship election in the state, the CNPP noted, “The people of Edo State has given Nigerians the needed tonic to kill godfatherism everywhere in the country.”

In a statement signed by its Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the political group explained, “The visa ban slammed on some politicians, who upturned the will of the people in previous elections, may have also contributed in reducing the degree of compromise by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State.

Akpoti commended the Edo people for their resilience in the face of intimidation as they came out en mass to exercise their franchise without fear or favour. According to her, “Obaseki was a performer having done well in his first tenure. The people connected well with him and ensured they voted for him because they are tired of godfatherism.”

She said the United States Government’s visa ban on riggers of Kogi and Bayelsa elections did the magic, as it also served as a reference point by keeping many of the would-be riggers in check. 

She further said the United Kingdom also helped when they threatened to seize the assets of such politicians who are quick to rig to ensure they win elections at all costs. Akpoti pointed out that in times of health challenges, some of these politicians seek better healthcare abroad, especially with Nigeria’s history of poor healthcare delivery system, noting, “Many of them were scared so they could not be found wanting.”

She also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for deploying technology by uploading the results of polling units and ward levels as they were being declared, which she said did not give room for those who would have altered the results at the polling units and ward level during collation.

She challenged stakeholders to learn lessons from the outcome of Edo election and push for total overhaul of the electoral system to set the ball rolling for better elections in Nigeria.

“I applaud INEC for that; they were able to use technology updating and uploading as the results were coming in so that did not give room for manipulation of results.”

CNPP Secretary, Ezugwu said, “The people of Edo State are the real winner in the September 18, 2020 governorship election for coming out en masse, standing against obvious intimidation, and ensuring that their votes were counted as well as insisting that their votes must count.

“Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is indeed a popular candidate in the state, by all standards, but we see every vote against him and his party as a vote against godfatherism in the country.

“The Edo people have again demonstrated that if voters turn out in large numbers to vote and stand to protect their votes, it will go a long way in bringing sanity to the electoral system and ensuinge the sanctity of the ballot box is upheld for democracy to thrive in the country.

“Godfatherism and nepotism are the two major killers of Nigerian democracy. So, we urge Nigerians to emulate Edo people and united to retire all godfathers from politics everywhere in the country.”

ALSO, Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade, has congratulated his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, on his re-election, saying his victory is well deserved. He urged Governor Obaseki to see his “victory as a clarion call to do more for Edo people, who have these four years reposed their confidence in you.”

In a press statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, Ayade described Obaseki’s victory at the polls as not in doubt, considering his achievements in the past four years in Edo.

He said, “I extend my warm felicitations to you on your well-deserved victory in the just-concluded Edo gubernatorial election. For those of us who have keenly followed your giant strides in Edo State, your victory did not come as a surprise. Your re-election, therefore, represents a bold and emphatic testimony to the good work you have done in the past four years.”

Expressing delight that governor Obaseki’s re-election now brings the entire South-South under PDP total control, Ayade urged him to be magnanimous in victory.

Ayade said, “The election has been fought and won and it is refreshing to note that our great party, PDP, has maintained its total control of our geo-political zone, the South-South. Having won a hard-fought election, I encourage you to be magnanimous in victory by extending an olive branch to your opponents on the other side.

“I also wish to use this medium to commend the President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) and the security agencies for their neutrality thus allowing the will of Edo people to prevail.”


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