The Ekiti State governor-elect and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the June 18 governorship election, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, and his Deputy, Mrs Monisade Afuye, yesterday, got their certificates of return indicating their victory in the just concluded poll.
Oyebanji at the event described the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) as a game changer in the country’s electioneering process, and predicated the credibility of Ekiti poll on the technological innovation.
Oyebanji garnered a total of 187, 057 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Engr Segun Oni, who polled 82,211 votes, among other contenders.
Oyebanji, who spoke while receiving the certificate alongside Mrs Afuye at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s office in Ado Ekiti, promised not to betray Ekiti people in his service to them.
Similarly, the winner of Saturday’s House of Assembly bye-election conducted simultaneously with the governorship poll in Ekiti East Constituency 2, Hon Oyewole Fatoba, also got his certificate from the commission.
Addressing the crowd of party supporters and admirers, Oyebanji said the victory was not about him, but was made possible by God and the people of the state, promising that he would execute his 6-point agenda zealously to usher a new dawn of progress and development in Ekiti.
“Let me thank the INEC for providing a level playing ground for the contenders in this election. I can’t agree with the INEC less that the BVAS was a game changer in our election.
“Nobody ever believed what happended on Saturday could ever happen. Some people still not believed that the rigging of election was over, but Ekiti election really convinced us.
“Thanks to the security agencies and the people of the state for having trust in APC.
“The people committed such huge trust in us because of the stellar performance of Governor Kayode Fayemi, and it was that I will build on. What happened on Saturday was a referendum and validation that the APC-led government has performed,”
Oyebanji stated that he would partner INEC as a governor to fortify the electoral process, while striving hard not to disappoint Ekiti people who overwhelmingly elected him.
Addressing the recipients, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti State, Dr Adeniran Tella, said the presentation of certificates was in line with Section 72(1) of the Electoral Act, which stipulated that the commission should present certificates to governor and deputy within 14 days of being elected.
Tella urged all the stakeholders to cooperate with INEC to further democratise the process, by playing positive roles in electioneering process.
“Let me on behalf of the commission congratulate you and your deputy for being the one chosen by the electorate. INEC is committed to deepen democracy and that influenced the introduction of BVAS, and this was a watershed in the country’s electioneering process.
“The customisation of all election materials reduced the incidences of hijack. All stakeholders, particularly the political parties and security agencies should support INEC in the introduction of technology to enhance our electoral process and reduce the number of electoral offenders”, Tella stated.
Also lending his voice to the commission’s readiness to fortify democracy, National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos, Mr. Sam Olumekun, said INEC was able to surmount all the odds through proper planning to conduct a free, fair and credible election in Ekiti.
“The BVAS introduction was a game changer in our electoral process. I want to advise the winner that while celebrating, he must think of how to understand the problems of the citizens, and how best to resolve them.
“We are presenting these certificates today because the candidate scored the highest number of votes and he met the constitutional required spread across all the 16 local governments”.