The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Edo State election, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has cast his vote.
Mr Ize-Iyamu voted in Iguododo ward five, unit 26 of the Orhiomwon local govt.
He joins many other members of the Edo electorate, who are looking to cast their vote even as the exercise commences with INEC enforcing the ‘No Mask, No Vote’ directive.
After weeks of acrimonious pressure-filled campaigns, the people of Edo State are finally at the polls, trooping out in their numbers to elect a governor who will run the affairs of the state for the next four years.
Though there are fourteen political parties in the gubernatorial race, stats suggest that the real race is between the incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
There are fears that things might degenerate as have been seen in past elections, the police and other security agencies have assured voters of their safety, urging them to conduct themselves in a very orderly manner.
Below are some photos from various polling units across the state.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has rallied officials of the commission to remain steadfast to its ideals in conducting the Edo governorship election.
“Nigerians and the international community expect so much from us. They are watching. It is important that we all remain above board in the performance of our respective duties,” Professor Yakubu said in a message to the staff of the commission on the eve of the election.
“We must ensure that no political party or candidate is accorded any advantage over the other. We must be neutral at all times and stick strictly to our Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality to which we have all subscribed.”
By playing their parts and delivering a free, fair, and credible election, the INEC boss believes the commission would have helped to better the country.
“For, at the end of the day, we would have all contributed to the sustenance of democracy and a strong electoral process that all Nigerians can trust,” he said.
Professor Yakubu, who said all is set for the much-anticipated poll, promised his colleagues and other officials of the commission that their welfare and condition of service will be given priority during the election.
He is also confident that they will rise to the occasion.
“I have no doubt that our staff members will rise to the occasion. We have done it several times before and we can do it again,” he said.
“The Commission deeply appreciates the never-ending sacrifices made by our staff at all times, often beyond the call of duty, to ensure that we carry out our mandate. The management will continue to improve the welfare and conditions of service of staff within the available resources.”
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Friday alleged a siege to his hotel in Benin City by the police, restricting his movement ahead of the governorship elections in the state.
The governor, who spoke exclusively to Channels TV says he is in the state to monitor the election on behalf of his party and insists he won’t leave the state.
He said, “As the Chairman of the National Campaign Council (of the PDP), I came in here with some of my colleagues; I was in the hotel. Around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the IG (Inspector General of Police) called.
“I think they called my orderly; I don’t know how they got his number and then I spoke with the IG and he said I must leave Edo State. I said ‘for what?’ He said because my being here may cause a crisis. I said how will it cause crisis? He said because I made a statement that is inflammatory. I said ‘which statement did I make? That we should be extra vigilant? That people should protect their votes?’ So, ‘what is the inflammatory statement I made?’”
Maintaining that he had done no wrong, the governor told the IGP, he won’t leave the state.
According to him, about 10 minutes after he refused to leave the state, over 300 policemen had surrounded his hotel.
Governor Wike said regardless of the siege, he won’t leave the state because he is Chairman of the PDP national campaign council and is not the only governor in Edo for the election.
“The governor of Kano is here, the governor of Imo is here, the Deputy Senate President is here,” he said. “So why will you tell me to leave?” All three men Governor Wike mentioned are members of the All Progressives Congress.
The governor decried the said call by the IGP, describing it as “the highest level of impunity”.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, told Channels TV that the police are making sure that there is peace in the state and will resist any act of violence.
He said, “The police don’t have to lay siege on anyone, but the situation is that no matter the status of the citizen of Nigeria in Nigeria, we will ensure that we do all within our capacity to create a conducive atmosphere for free, fair, credible elections.
“People having no business within Edo State cannot be moving from one point to another. Movement is restricted. For the purpose of this election, movement is restricted. The restriction commences from midnight to 18:00 hours tomorrow when we believe that election would have been concluded. Nobody is empowered to move about, whether you are a governor or not.”
All is set for the Edo state Governorship election, despite a pandemic that threatened to ground activities across the world. But who will carry the day? Here is a list of the 14 candidates vying for the state’s top leadership position.
Edemakhiota Godwin Osaimiamia
Party: Action Alliance
The AA candidate, Edemakhiota Godwin Osaimiamia is a 35-year-old man who holds a Senior School Certificate. He is also the youngest of all the 14 candidates battling to be the Governor of Edo State for the next four years.
Mabel Akomu Oboh Party: African Democratic Congress (ADC) Aspirant
The ADC female candidate, is a 56-year-old TV Presenter and Movie Producer who possesses a Diploma. She attended the Buckinghamshire new University in England. Mabel has worked as a Broadcaster with the Federal Government-owned television station, NTA. Currently, she also runs a Non-Governmental Organization named Mabel Oboh Centre for Save Our Stars (MOCSOS). Mabel is the second female candidate that will be jostling for the governorship race.
Party: Action Democratic Party (ADP)
Obio Emmanuel who is the youngest candidate for the Edo State Governorship election holds the West School Certificate.
The 36-year-old business/ financial analyst says he has worked in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Office under the present Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
Emmanuel’s was born in Okomu-Udo, Ovia South-West.
Areloegbe Amos Osalumese
Party: Action Peoples Party (APP)
Born in Ughelli, Delta State, the APP flag bearer, studied at the Ambrose Alli University where he bagged a BSc in Accounting.
Areloegbe is re-contesting after a failed attempt at winning the governorship poll in 2016.
Party: All Progressives Congress (APC)
The legal practitioner and graduate of the University of Benin, Benin City, hails from Iguododo in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
During the 2016 governorship election in Edo State, Ize-Iyamu was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He had also worked as the Director General of Adams Oshiomhole’s 2nd term Campaign Organisation and was the Coordinator of the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation.
Party: All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Lucky, an agriculturist, studied Public Administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State and hails from Uhunmwonde Local Government, is one of the candidates looking to defy the odds and secure a seat at Osadebay Avenue.
Party: Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM)
Age: 42 years
Igbineweka was born at Benin City in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area and is a graduate of the Ambrose Alli University, according to his Form 1 on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) website.
The businessman is promising to revamp Edo State’s economy and create jobs for the teeming masses.
Osifo Uhun-Ekpenma Isaiah
Party: Labour Party (LP)
Osifo is a lecturer and is also into farming. The PhD holder attended the University of Benin and is a part-time lecturer at the Benson Igbinedion University, also in Benin, the Edo State capital.
Party: National Rescue Movement (NRM) Candidate
The candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) is 53-year-old Ozono Stevie Nash, an IT Professional. Having attended the South Bank University in London, Stevie owns a UK based record label and music publishing company. Ozone who had his Higher Education in Business and Finance in 1999 and graduated with BSc Hons in Business Information Technology in 2002. Considering his wealth of financial and management experience, the NRM candidate hopes to better the economic and financial status of the state if elected as the state governor.
Agol Ebun Tracy
Party: New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP)
She is the only female contestant in the election and is aiming to become the first woman to serve as the Governor of the South-South State.
Agol is a trader by profession and believes her experience in business will help in the transformation of the State if elected on September 19th. She is also promising to be financially prudent if given the chance to lead.
Obaseki Godwin Nogheghase
Party: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Age: 61 years
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and incumbent governor is 63-year-old Obaseki Godwin Nogheghase of Edo state. Obaseki, who was elected in 2016 under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, decamped to the PDP after he was disqualified from the party’s primary election. He had his early education in St. Matthews Anglican Primary School Benin City and Eghosa Anglican Grammar School, Benin City, before proceeding to the University of Ibadan where he bagged a BA in Classics. Obaseki moved to Columbia University and Pace University in New York to obtain MBA in Finance and International Business. The governor is also a Fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers, Nigeria, and an alumnus of the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Program and was nominated a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) by the World Economic Forum in 2001.
Obayangbon Felix Izekor Party: Social Democratic Party (SDP) Candidate
Age: 65 SDP Candidate, Obayangbon Felix Izekor is a 65-year-old farmer who possesses a Senior School Certificate. Obayangbon who was born in Igudnazuwa Ovia SouthWest Local Government Area believes in the progress of the good people of the state. While jostling with the other 13 candidates for the state’s top job, the SDP candidate might be looking to bask on the popularity of the party and support from farmers in the state.
Young Progressive Party (YPP)
Age: 52 Osagionare Jones is the YPP candidate in the Edo State governorship election. The 52-year-old hopeful is a clergyman who possesses the West Africa Senior School Certificate. The YPP candidate claims to have spent 17 years of his life conducting trainings and educating the youths on positive character and mentality through his NGO, Network on the Reduction of Violence in Nigeria (NEREVIN). Osagionare promises to do more in the area of reduction of violence in the state if he eventually succeeds at the Edo state Governorship elections scheduled to hold tomorrow.
Party: Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)
Age: 39 The ZLP candidate, Akhalamhe Amiemenoghena is one of the youngest candidates that will be contesting at the Edo State governorship election. The 39-year-old politician is a public servant and currently holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Benin where he studied Accounting. With the wealth of experience he gained as a public servant and an accounting graduate, the ZLP flag bearer promises to turn around the state’s economic fortunes to the benefits of the people.
With the Edo State governorship election barely 48 hours from now, Governor Godwin Obaseki has listed the achievements of his administration since assuming office in November 2016.
Speaking during a state-wide broadcast at the Government House in Benin on Thursday, Obaseki said the state government has made giant strides in rewriting the development narrative of Edo.
“Since November 2016, we have made giant strides in rewriting the development narrative of our dear state. We have revamped our primary healthcare system through deep-rooted reforms.
“We have reformed our basic education to be more responsive to the needs of the 21st century by training teachers and introducing technology to our schools.
“We have rebuilt critical physical and digital infrastructure across the state; strengthened our security architecture; enacted civil service and pension reforms for productivity and sustainability and have created thousands of opportunities for our young people to be employed and empowered,” he said.
The governor also said he is confident that the election will be free from violence owing to the security arrangements put in place by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
READ BELOW HIS FULL STATEMENT AT THE STATE-WIDE BROADCAST:
My dear good people of Edo State, as you are already aware, the Edo State Governorship election will take place on Saturday, September 19, 2020. I am sure that you are also aware that I am seeking re-election as governor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
My campaigns have taken me through every local government in Edo State. The ward-to-ward campaign offered me the opportunity to meet with thousands of people including farmers, teachers, traders, pensioners, civil servants and every other actor in the different spheres of life in Edo State.
Undoubtedly, the 2020 governorship election will be a watershed in the democratization process in our dear state and Nigeria at large. I assure you that at the end of this exercise, we would all be proud to be part of this history-making event.
My campaign across the 192 wards in the state offered me the opportunity to show the achievements recorded by my administration, including the over 2000 projects that dot the nooks and crannies of the state.
My party and I have ensured that my people-centred approach to politics, which is driven by our commitment to work for our people at the bottom of society is fostering development and participation in our politics.
From the hills of Kukuruku to the rice farms of Ilushi, through the maize fields at Sobe, to the lush forest in Urohi-Ojogba, and the forests and waters of the Ovia River, we have met with leaders of our traditional institutions, conversed with traders, journeyed with transporters, and met with pensioners and public servants who appreciate the work we have done in the last four years.
Since November 2016, we have made giant strides in rewriting the development narrative of our dear state. We have revamped our primary healthcare system through deep-rooted reforms. We have reformed our basic education to be more responsive to the needs of the 21st century by training teachers and introducing technology to our schools. We have rebuilt critical physical and digital infrastructure across the state; strengthened our security architecture; enacted civil service and pension reforms for productivity and sustainability and have created thousands of opportunities for our young people to be employed and empowered.
Some of our reforms have included energy projects such as the 55MW Ossiomo Independent Power Plant (IPP), which is completed and ready for commissioning, and the 6000bpd Edo Modular Refinery. We also have the Emotan Gardens, in which the first phase is completed.
With the critical physical and social infrastructure which we have started building, we have laid the foundation for the next four years and the future.
As we enter a post-COVID world, in the next four years, we will be focusing on our programmes to make Edo great again. Under our Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) manifesto, we will emphasis deeper governance reforms, including rebuilding the public service and emplacing a citizen-centric leadership through which we will continue to transform our social services and infrastructure. We will reposition the government as an enabler to consolidate and enhance our signature projects, such as Edo Jobs, Creative and Innovative Hubs, and industrialization projects.
The future will be driven by technology and data and Edo State will be repositioned to participate in the fourth industrial revolution.
Part of our plan to develop a large, local, sustainable economy will include accelerating our current initiatives in human capacity development, agribusiness, energy, and mining. Our legacy will be to leave for future administrations, a 30-year regional, urban, social and economic master-plan based on which Edo will regain its greatness.
We are very optimistic that Edo will be able to take advantage of the post-coronavirus world economy to achieve more in the second term than we did in our first term.
I implore you all to come out and re-elect me and my deputy, Philip Shaibu, by voting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the 19th of September, 2020.
We are trusting God Almighty that election day will be violent-free because of the preparations which have been made by security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the electoral body is committed to conducting free, fair and credible election in Edo State.
Speaking during a Peace Accord organised by the National Peace Committee on Tuesday in Benin, the INEC boss said the commission remains neutral, adding that the choice of Edo voters will be respected in the election.
“I wish to assure you of INEC’s commitment to credible elections. The votes will count. The people of Edo State will determine who becomes their next governor. Their choice will be upheld.
“Let me also reassure you and the voters in Edo State of the commission’s neutrality. I call on all political parties and their candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the peace accord,” he said.
Speaking further, Yakubu asked political candidates to allow the signed Peace Accord serve as a covenant with the people of the state.
In doing this, he wants them to maintain peace before, during and after the September 19 election to avoid bloodshed.
His remarks come 24 hours after he reiterated the commission’s readiness to smoothly conduct the election.
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, says Nigeria’s democracy is sitting on a keg of gunpowder over what he describes as the rigging of elections in the country.
Secondus said this on Tuesday during a PDP mega rally which held in Benin City, just four days to the Edo State governorship election where Governor Godwin Obaseki is seeking re-election under the party’s platform.
The PDP Chairman who was visibly angry explained that the United States government in its efforts to discourage people from participating in rigging had imposed restrictions on some politicians.
He also called on the European Union, as well as the United Kingdom, to follow the US example to avoid the possibility of rigging the polls in the country.
“Nigeria’s democracy is on the keg of gunpowder because of rigging. Rigging must stop here in Edo. If not, it will be difficult to carry on with elections in Nigeria. Rigging must stop,” he stressed.
The United Kingdom on Tuesday said it will not hesitate to take actions against individuals it identifies as causing violence in the imminent elections in Edo and Ondo states.
According to a statement tweeted via the British High Commission, the UK sees the elections as another opportunity to strengthen Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
“As a friend and partner of Nigeria we are closely following the lead up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively,” the statement said.
“These elections are important, both as an essential element of effective governance within both states and an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions.”
The UK’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has met with leaders of two main political parties, APC and PDP, as part of efforts to ensure the elections are held peacefully.
As we all rebuild from #COVID19, countries must continue to embrace the tenets of #Democracy – Transparency, responsiveness & Accountability. We look forward to seeing peaceful #Edo and #Ondo states elections, where the mandate of the people is respected and protected. pic.twitter.com/qfK1a4xnCh
“The discussions focused on the need for the parties’ leaders to prevail on supporters to avoid violence before and after the elections,” the statement added.
The UK also said it welcomed the signing of a peace accord agreed to by major political parties and their candidates in Edo state earlier on Tuesday.
“We will be deploying observation missions to both the Edo and Ondo elections and supporting civil society led observation,” the statement continued.
“The UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and, just as we did in the general election in 2019, will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during the elections. This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK based assets or prosecution under International law.
“The UK will continue to provide support and engagement as we move towards these elections. We urge INEC, the police and all other agencies involved to work toegether to deliver free, fair and credible elections.”
With the Edo State governorship election less than a week from now, the fear of violence and tension can now be doused following the signing of a peace pact by political parties and their candidates.
The signing organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) took place on Tuesday in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
During the programme, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki embraced his main rival and contender in the poll, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The duo beaming with smiles warmly hugged each other, an indication that they have decided to toe the line of peace and avoid unnecessary bloodshed in the election.
Spirit Of The Pact
On his part, Obaseki promised that he, as a PDP candidate, will live by the letters and spirit of the peace pact.
He, however, asked the NPC to reach out to some political actors whom he said wield much influence and are interested in the election.
The governor explained that the move is necessary in order not to let the exercise to end in futility, adding that, “I want to commit publicly once again that I will live by the letter and spirit of the accord that has just been signed.
“Before leaving the stage, I want to appeal to the National Peace Committee not to end their work with the signing of this accord.
“There are other actors in the political space who will have and exercise influence in the political space and also elections to reach out to them to persuade them about the importance of this accord we have just signed,” he said.
Talk To Our Supporters
In furtherance of the peaceful conduct of the election, Pastor Ize-Iyamu promised that the APC will conduct itself peacefully.
The APC candidate pledged that the party will talk to its supporters to eschew violence before, during and after the polls.
He also commended the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare for his efforts in ensuring that the exercise holds in a manner free from bloodshed.
“Let me reaffirm to our commitment to what has been signed and to reassure Nigerians that and particularly our people in Edo State that we will talk to all our supporters.
“We will conduct ourselves peacefully. We will do all our best to ensure that the election is peaceful,” he said.
With the Edo State governorship election barely four days away, candidates of political parties today signed a Peace Accord.
The deal which was organised by the National Peace Committee was held in Benin City, the state capital.
In attendance is the Chairman, National Peace Committee and former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar, member of the committee and Catholic Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah among others.
Also, members of the political, traditional, and religious circles were there to witness the signing, to pave way for the smooth conduct of the exercise.
Speaking to Channels Television, a member of YIAGA Africa’s board, Ezenwa Nwagu, said the accord is necessary following the previous narrative that suggests the drums of war in the election.
According to him, YIAGA in collaboration with the National Peace Committee organised the event to douse tension in some quarters and avoid bloodshed on Saturday.
“The Peace Committee led by General Abubakar, Mathew Kukah, and the rest of them have moral weight and authority.
“So YIAGA Africa, working with the peace committee, decided to source that moral weight to bring it to bear on political actors in Edo State to ensure they understand that this election is about the Edo people and their livelihood,” he said.
He is however optimistic that the poll would be commended smoothly with a governor emerging to govern the state for the next four years.