From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The governor-elect of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji, Monday said that as far as they are concerned, neither he nor his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), was involved in the widespread vote-buying alleged to have taken place during last Saturday’s election that he won.
Oyebanji secured 187,057 votes, defeating his two closest challengers — Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who polled 82,211 votes, and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 67,457 votes.
He won 15 out of the 16 LGAs in the state.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after being presented to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential, Abuja, he said he did not witness any vote-buying in the polling unit where he voted.
Oyebanji said he won the poll based on the performance of the outgoing administration in the state in which he played a prominent role.
The former Secretary to State Government (SGF) said he canvased for votes using the record of performance of the administration and what he had to offer the people going forward.
Also speaking, the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, affirmed that the allegation of vote-buying was raised by elements who were losing at the poll.
“I just want to add a word or two in the response of our Governor-elect on the issue of vote-buying. As a patriotic Nigerian that is privileged to lead the ruling party in this country today, I want to only appeal to the media. Please don’t partake in portraying negative attitudes in our processes. If you do so, you are compromising I’m sorry to say so. You’re compromising the integrity of our process as a country,” he said.
“I would have preferred if the person who asked that question, saying, Look, in America this is what they do in democracy in respect to the subject matter. In the United Kingdom or France, this is what they do. This is what you are doing differently. And please let us not be too much in the space of speculation.”
Asked what the party will do should the running mate in holding position, Kabiru Masari, refuse to be replaced as in the case of Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Godswill Akpabio, the party chairman said: “Thank you very much. We are not in the speculative world. We are governed by the laws of the land. There’s nothing our presidential candidate has done with regards to returning his forms that is not within the confines of the law of the land. Everything we’ve done so far we have done very carefully with legal consultation and we are cocksure, we’re not going to have the kind of speculation that you are professing at this point in time. We’re very comfortable with what we have done. It is still pessimism. However, not in that school of thought yet. We don’t have to be there.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, received the Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Oyebanji, in an audience led by the Chairman of the ruling party Adamu, Governors Kayode Fayemi, Atiku Bagudu, and Badaru Abubakar of Ekiti, Kebbi, and Jigawa States, respectively.
President Buhari said he keenly followed the polls held on Saturday, June 18, and was delighted with the orderly conduct, and the way the electorate and security agencies comported themselves.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari told Oyebanji: “I loved how the APC Governors mobilized and supported you. I think the party is very lucky, and things are getting better. I congratulate the Chairman, and I pray you sustain it.”
Adamu in the meeting with the President ascribed all the glory for the election victory to God and pledged that same would be replicated in Osun State next month.
In his capacity as Chairman of the Campaign Council for Ekiti, Gov Badaru congratulated President Buhari on the successful outing, saying; “Your unending effort to reposition the party is paying off. If we combine the votes of the candidates that came second and third, our candidate still beat them by a wide margin. APC is being daily endeared to Nigerians. Our gratitude goes to you, Mr President.”
The Governor-elect, while appreciating the President said the election was a referendum on the party, “and a clear, positive signal to the election in Osun, and the National one next year. APC is still the party of choice.”
Oyebanji lauded the President “for the leadership and the level playing field you provided,” adding that he would be magnanimous in victory, as earlier advised by President Buhari.