From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Governor-elect and candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Biodun Oyebanji, and his deputy, Monisade Afuye, yesterday, received their certificates of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the same vein, winner of last Saturday’s House of Assembly by-election conducted simultaneously with the governorship poll in Ekiti East Constituency 2, Oyewole Fatoba, also got his certificate of return from the electoral umpire.
The governor-elect while hailing INEC on the conduct of the poll, described the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) as a game changer in the country’s electioneering process.
Oyebanji was declared winner having polled 187, 057 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Segun Oni, who polled 82,211 votes, while candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bisi Kolawole, scored 67, 457 votes, among other 13 contenders.
Oyebanji, while receiving the certificate alongside Afuye at INEC’s office in Ado Ekiti, promised not to betray Ekiti people in his service to them.
Addressing party supporters and admirers, Oyebanji said: “Let me thank the INEC for providing a level playing ground for the contenders in this election. I can’t agree less with INEC that BVAS was a game changer in our election. Nobody ever believed what happened on Saturday could ever happen. Some people still don’t believe that the rigging of election was over, but Ekiti election really convinced us.”
He also thanked security agencies for maintaining the peace and the people of the state for having trust in APC.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, 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 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 said.
National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos, Sam Olumekun, who noted that the commission was ready to fortify democracy, said INEC was able to surmount all the odds through proper planning to conduct a free, fair and credible election in Ekiti.