From Sanni Onogu, Abuja
Prominent Peoples Democratic stalwarts, including, two former Senate Presidents- Bukola Saraki and David Mark, have welcomed the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
Others who cheered Obaseki’s victory were erstwhile Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, . Ndudi Elumelu.
They praised the peaceful conduct of the election, saying it signposted a paradigm shift.
Saraki,who noted that Obaseki’s success had several symbolic representations for Nigeria and her democracy, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping the military out the election.
To him, Obaseki’s victory first and foremost, represents the determination of the people of Edo State to decide who governs them.
His words: “The result of the Edo election represents the true wish of the people who stood firmly behind their Governor against power mongers who were determined to foist their choice on the people.
“It represents the will of the people to vote in free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
“We can see that the result represents realistic figures; no case of outlandish figures being reeled out.
“That is also a sign of some level of credibility in the process. It is for the above reasons that I have to commend President Buhari for keeping the military out of this election and for giving the instructions that led to the apparent neutrality of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other security officials in the entire process.”
Mark, in a statement by his Media Aide, Paul Mumeh, said that the victory of Obaseki is a triumph of the will of the people.
According to him, the victory means freedom for the people and the enthronement of democratic culture and practice in the country.
The former Senate President however challenged Obaseki and his deputy, Phillip Shaibu, to be magnanimous in victory by extending hands of fellowship to their opponents.
“The mandate given to you by the people through their votes is a direct investment that must of a necessity attract dividends for them,” he said.
Also, Ekweremadu praised the people of Edo State, INEC, and security agencies for “rising to the occasion.”
He described the exercise as a huge relief given the “dwindling fortunes of the nation’s electoral process in recent years”.
The former Deputy President of the Senate added that the Edo poll had proved, once again, that no man could effectively play God.
He said: “I join other well-meaning Nigerians to congratulate Governor Godwin Obaseki and the PDP on this well-deserved victory.
“While our electoral processes still leave much to be desired, I must say that compared to recent elections, the Edo State governorship poll has renewed the hope that we can get our elections right, given the conduct of the electorate, INEC, security agencies, and most of other stakeholders, which ensured a peaceful process and an outcome that reflected the will of the people.”
Abaribe, in a statement by his Media aide, Uchenna Awom, described Obaseki’s re-election as a signal to a new dawn and ultimate end of godfatherism in Nigerian politics.
He lauded the PDP for its tenacity and resilience in the face of manifest intimidations.
Abaribe said that the victory further confirmed that power ultimately belongs to the people and “not to some fanthom individuals who think they can play God and toy with the will and wishes of the people.”
“This victory is a soothing balm not only for Edo people, but also for the entire country especially against the backdrop of the excruciating sufferings and hardship foisted on the people by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government’, he said.
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Elumelu , also praised the people of Edo State for voting PDP and protecting their votes.
He commended the Southsouth Governors’ Forum Chairman, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and the Head of the PDP Campaign Committee for the Edo election, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and other PDP governors, for their roles in upholding a free, fair and credible electoral process in Edo.
Elumelu urged Obaseki to continue in providing good governance for the people of the state.