News / Africa

Nigerians Celebrate Governor’s Victory in Peaceful Election

Incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomohole (L) speaks during a political rally at Emu in Edo State, June 13, 2012. Incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomohole (L) speaks during a political rally at Emu in Edo State, June 13, 2012.
Incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomohole (L) speaks during a political rally at Emu in Edo State, June 13, 2012.
Incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomohole (L) speaks during a political rally at Emu in Edo State, June 13, 2012.
Heather Murdock
ABUJA — After a tumultuous campaign marked with accusations of fraud and violence, people in Nigeria’s Edo State are dancing in the streets. Election officials say current governor Adams Oshiomhole won a landslide victory at the polls. Analysts say this opposition victory in the heart of the ruling party’s traditional support base does not bode well for President Goodluck Jonathan. 

Military helicopters circled above polling stations on Saturday in anticipation of election violence. Thousands of soldiers patrolled election centers across the state.  However, no major election-related violence was reported.

On Sunday morning, after the results of the gubernatorial elections were announced, people poured onto the streets, dancing in the rain.

Nigeria’s election commission says Governor Oshiomhole’s Action Congress of Nigeria won with 73.7 percent of the vote while the People’s Democratic Party, the nation’s ruling party, took only 22.3 percent of the ballots cast. The remaining 4 percent was split among five other parties.

Emmanuel Igbinedon is a farmer who grows yams and cassava in the countryside. At a community center in the village of Okada, he said that the election is a turning point for Edo State.

“It was the most peaceful election we have ever had," said Igbinedon. "And this election has taught us a lesson that you don’t buy your votes.”

In the run-up to the elections, both main parties accused the other of plotting fraud and violence, including political assassinations. Even as the ballots were being cast, the governor accused the electoral commission of intentionally delivering voting materials late and removing names from voter roles in collaboration with the ruling party.

The Policy and Legal Advocacy Center in Abuja says it coordinated with thousands of on-the-scene observers and judged the elections to have been successful and fair, despite some organizational problems.

But executive director Clement Nwankwo says the results are a blow to the ruling party on a national level because Edo State is in the “South-South” geopolitical zone, where the president is from and traditionally enjoys the most support.

“The victory of the ACN candidate was quite overwhelming and it certainly served to underscore the waning popularity of President Jonathan,” says Nwankwo.

Opposition party officials say the victory is partially due to coordination between previously competing parties, and they have promised to join forces to defeat the ruling party in the 2015 presidential election.

Nigeria has a history of election violence, with 800 people being killed in the north after the 2011 presidential election.

President Jonathan declared the Edo State elections “free and fair” and a victory for democracy in Nigeria. He praised the Edo State governor for “focused, purposeful and dynamic leadership.”

Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from Edo State.

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Comment Sorting
by: Ed Osas from: Benin, Nigeria
July 16, 2012 1:45 AM
This is a victory for us in Edo, Oshiomole is a detribalise governor even when the PDP candidate was ethnic bais, Oshiomole was steadfast in his One Edo Agenda. He has proven that Anenih cannot rule and dictate the governance of Edo from his bedroom. Edo has witness a disastrous leadership from PDP, resulting in assasinations, underdevelopment, lawlessness, and every evil one can imagine. Oshiomole deserves this opportunity.

All i pray is that he helps build more cities in Auchi, Uromi which is Anenih's home town, since he has brought setback to his people, Ekpoma, Fugar and Owan so that we can make progress and invest in our local communities where food crops are produced in large quantities, but are destroyed due inability too convey them to towns for sales. For instance, my mum's village at Ugbiyokho in Urhumode LGA, and other villages in Esan land produce food crops, there are no access roads to these communities. So the Governor should do his best for us again this time of his second mandate to govern with the fear of God as he has always done. Congratulations Oshiomole, Our Governor.
Omo N'Oba ghatokpere, Isee. God Bless The Oba of Bini Kingdom, Oba Erediawa.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 15, 2012 12:12 PM
Congratulations to gov. Oshiomole, this was a vote in the right direction and should have been a mirror to reflect the Nigerian political scene if people did not erroneously vote Jonathan on the premise that he was coming from the most sensitive quarters of the Nigerian equation - representing South-South and the academia. Though the president has been a big disappointment, he deserves some credit in allowing this election result which his predecessors would have seen as Juggernaut, even though we know also that Nigerians are disillusioned to the ruling party's pranks.
In Response

by: David from: Canada
July 15, 2012 3:17 PM
What is so disappointing about Jonathan? There's none born of woman that can rule the country Nigeria with all the disturbances from the Northern Nigeria. Babangida, Ciroma and Atiku promised making the country ungovernable if they fail the election, remember? They did fail the election and now they are making good that threat. Don't blame Jonathan, what is happening in that country is far deeper than meets the eye. I congratulate Oshiomole who, I think, deserves the re-election. I also congratulate the federal Government for a beautiful election in Edo State. Politics has never been so quiet and smooth sailing in Nigeria.

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