The Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sunday thanked the people of the state for voting for him and promised to work with the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in developing the state.
Fayose spoke at a maiden news conference in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, shortly after Fayemi conceded defeat and congratulated the winner of Saturday’s gubernatorial election.
The governor-elect recorded a resounding victory with a total vote haul of 203,090 out of the 350,256 votes cast.
Fayose, who called on other candidates to support his administration, warned his supporters against making disparaging remarks, which may promote violence.
He particularly warned against attacks on the personality of Fayemi, saying: “We must respect each other so as to allow peace to reign in our dear state.
“Governor Fayemi has called to congratulate me and I am determined to reciprocate this humble and kind gesture.”
Fayose also pledged to work with Fayemi and Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele of the Labour Party (LP) in order to draw from their wealth of experience.
The governor-elect also said indigenes of the state would benefit from award of contracts, adding that this would boost the local economy and create employment.
Fayose further promised to assist all victims of the political violence during the election without consideration for party affiliation.
He also pleaded with the police to grant unconditional release to whoever that was detained as a result of the political crises during the electioneering in the state.
He also assured the people that his government would not abandon any project yet to be completed by the Fayemi-led government, saying: “As a leader, we must learn how to embrace continuity because playing politics with the lives of the people can destroy any country, but love can keep us together forever as a nation.”
Fayemi, in a rare display of sportsmanship, also accepted his defeat in Saturday’s election in the state, stating that he had called Fayose and congratulated him on his victory at the election.
In a state broadcast yesterday, the outgoing governor said: “Yesterday, Ekiti State decided. Following the gubernatorial election held in the Land of Honour, Ekiti State, Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially returned the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the election.
“If indeed this is the will of the Ekiti people, I stand in deference to your will. If the result of the election is an expression of the voice of our people, we must all heed your voice.
“I have just spoken with my brother, Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, congratulating him on his victory. In a few hours from now, I would be meeting the governor-elect to discuss the future of our dear state and how we would work together to institute a smooth transition programme.”
The governor acknowledged that the election was hard fought, observing that in the course of the campaigns, there were unsavory episodes as the candidates toured the nooks and crannies of the state to sell themselves to the people.
“Elections tend to be highly divisive affairs that often see brother rising against brother. Despite our diverse party affiliations, and regardless of which way we voted on Saturday, we must remember that we are all sons and daughters of Ekiti State. Ekiti is ours to build together.
“On our part, over the course of the campaigns, we presented our scorecards before the people of Ekiti State. We never at any point took your support for granted. We campaigned, we canvassed and we traversed the nooks and crannies of this state.
“Our performance and achievements in office will remain the backdrop against which the next government and indeed future governments will be assessed.
“We are proud that with the support of Ekiti people, we have raised the bar of excellence in governance. In all, we gave our best, for conscience and for posterity.
“Indeed a new sociology of the Ekiti people may have evolved. However, the task of understanding how the outcome of this election has defined us as a people will be that of scholars. For us as an administration and a cadre of political leaders in Ekiti State, we have fought a good fight, we have kept faith,” he said.
He thanked members of APC, his campaign team and all Ekiti people who defied the siege to the state to cast their votes for him, stating: “I salute your exemplary courage and doggedness in the face of harassment.
“Thank you for staying the course. The incidences of brazen harassment, intimidation and allied infractions on fundamental human rights, which many of you suffered in the hands of agents of the state, would be documented and communicated to the appropriate authorities, for the records.”
Also, Bamidele expressed appreciation to the Ekiti people for their support for him during the gubernatorial election.
He said as a mature politician, he considered the conduct of the election by INEC as a true reflection of true democracy.
Bamidele, in a statement signed by Ahmed Salami, his media aide, also hailed INEC and all security agencies involved in the entire process for their roles and for allowing Ekiti people to be involved in the nation's democratic process.
He especially thanked those from Iyin Ekiti, his hometown, for staying by him throughout his campaign rallies and the election, which assisted him to be victorious over other political parties in the town.
Bamidele, who got 18,125 votes, came a distant third out of the 18 political parties, which participated in the election.
Reacting to Fayose’s victory, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday congratulated the governor-elect, Fayose.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan equally commended INEC, the security services and the people of the state for the successful and peaceful conduct of the election.
He said the successful and peaceful conduct of the election, was in tandem with his administration’s avowed commitment to ensuring that elections in all parts of Nigeria are progressively freer, fairer and more credible.
“As Mr. Fayose readies himself to assume office in fulfillment of the clearly expressed wish of his people, President Jonathan urges him to be humble and magnanimous in victory and commit himself to forming an administration that will work for the advancement of the interests of all Ekiti people irrespective of their political affiliations or loyalties.
“President Jonathan calls on Mr. Fayose to regard his second chance to serve as Governor of Ekiti State as a sacred mandate from God Almighty and his people which he must discharge with immense dedication, wisdom and vigour to achieve a much more rapid pace of socio-economic development in Ekiti State for the benefit of its people who resoundingly reaffirmed their trust in his leadership by voting overwhelmingly for his election yesterday (Saturday).
“The president assures Mr. Fayose that the Federal Government will give all the necessary support and assistance to his incoming administration and cooperate fully with him in furtherance of the present administration’s objective of significantly improving the living conditions of Nigerians in all parts of the country.
“He wishes Mr. Fayose continued good health and a very successful second tenure as governor of Ekiti State,” the statement concluded.
Similarly, the ruling PDP has congratulated the Ekiti State governor-elect, stating that the victory of the party in Saturday’s election was an indication that PDP is the preferred party in Nigeria.
In a statement by the National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Muazu, he said he expressed hope that the outcome of the governorship victory would be a forerunner of further victories for the PDP in subsequent elections.
In describing the Ekiti State governorship election as credible, free and fair, he also asked the main opposition APC to concede defeat.
“I wish to dedicate the victory of Ayo Fayose to all our supporters and President Goodluck Jonathan for his steadfastness and commitment to free and fair elections. This victory is particularly possible because of our unity in Ekiti State and I wish we replicate this in all elections,” he said.
In another statement, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, in the congratulatory message to Fayose, said the victory of the party’s candidate and indeed PDP was well deserved.
Metuh also described the Ekiti governorship poll as credible, free and fair, adding that it was an unequivocal statement on the preference of the PDP by the entire people of Ekiti State, nay Nigeria, “a victory indeed for democracy”.
“We are particularly elated that the will of the people of Ekiti State prevailed and we sincerely congratulate them for realising their yearnings for a truly democratically elected administration in their dear state.
“The outcome of this election confirms the popularity and acceptability of the PDP and its candidate, the governor-elect of Ekiti State. It brings to the front burner, the genuineness of the crowd that throng our rallies across the country, especially in Ekiti State,” the party said.
The PDP also attributed the victory to its “strict adherence to the principles of internal democracy, the kernel of transparency in the conduct of our governorship primary which produced a popular candidate through the overwhelming choice of party members.”
Thanking the people of Ekiti for their support, the PDP urged the governor-elect to ensure an all-inclusive administration that would revamp and reposition the state in line with the manifesto and ideology of the PDP and move it from APC’s valleys of poverty, stagnation and ruin.
Also, the Ndigbo Cultural Society of Nigeria (NCSN) congratulated Fayose and PDP for their victory at the governorship race.
In a statement signed by the President of the Igbo group, Chief Udoka Udeogaranye, the group said: “We believe that this landslide and resounding victory came handily, mainly because of the ultra high performance of President Goodluck Jonathan, whose extraordinary leadership qualities have given Nigerians the right to choose their leaders through the ballot box as stipulated in the President Goodluck Jonathan's one man, one vote policy.”
However, there were indications yesterday that the APC, unlike Fayemi, would not concede defeat as it dropped the hint that it might call for forensic examination of the ballots cast during the election in the state.
THISDAY gathered that though Fayemi had accepted the outcome of the election, the leadership of APC was still considering several options last night.
One of the options that was being considered is to subject the ballots used for the gubernatorial poll to forensic scrutiny.
A top party source told THISDAY that the party leaders met in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday to weigh the options available to them, adding that the party hopes to make its final position on the matter known to the public in the days ahead.
“We are yet to come to terms with the tsunami that befell us last Saturday. The truth is that we have not entirely accepted the outcome of election. What we are considering is to compel the entire exercise to forensic investigation. Our party would meet and come up with a decision on that soon,” he said.