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The outcome of the Edo State governorship election has elicited hope in Nigeria that indeed, democracy can be sustained if every one plays according to the rules the game. Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in a keenly contested election. We agree with all democratic forces that Edo’s election was a victory for democracy, and indeed, victory for the people of Edo and Nigeria in general.

Releasing the results of the poll, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, said that Obaseki polled 307,955 votes to defeat his closest rival, Ize-Iyamu, who got 223,619 votes.
Perhaps, for the first time, many Nigerians would agree with President Muhammadu Buhari who, while congratulating Governor Obaseki after he was announced winner of the election, stated that his administration was committed to sustaining Nigeria’s democracy through free and fair election.
According to him, “My commitment to free and fair elections is firm, because without free and fair elections, the foundation of our political and moral authority will be weak. I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order. Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with”, he stated.
It is equally interesting that the national secretariat of the federal-controlled APC did not only accept the result of the poll but went ahead to congratulate the PDP and Governor Obaseki. The national chairman of the party, Mai Mala Buni, took a cue from Mr. President’s political maturity  and did not waste time by congratulating Mr. Obaseki.

The party stated that “As a party, we join our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to affirm our ‘commitment to free and fair elections’ in order to strengthen ‘the foundation for our political and moral authority’. We commend INEC, our security agencies and all political parties that contested the election for the successful conduct of the election…

“In the face of all the challenges, we collectively remained faithful and worked tirelessly during the campaigns. We appeal to all our members to be strengthened by the outcome of the election and unite in order to correct all the problems that worked against our party and our candidate in the just-concluded election. Let us unite to move our democracy forward. We must put an end to the era when the electoral contest become warfare. We urge our candidate and all our members to join us in congratulating Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the PDP, being the declared winner of the election”, the party maintained.

For the first time since 2015, we see an election with less partisanship among security agencies, electoral officials and election monitors. We see voters, the people of Edo, fully ready to fight and defend their votes and for this purpose they largely rejected vote buying. There were no reports of violence, ballot box snatching incidents by thugs, yet, election was conducted peacefully and credibly. This is democracy in action. But the question is that as we approach Ondo’s election, can this success be sustained by the Buhari administration?
Do we expect this kind of outcome in a presidential election in 2023? Will the various conflicts of political interests and temperature that determined Edo’s election be the same?

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