Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for governor of Ekiti State in the June 18 election, and Mrs. Monisade Afuye, his running mate, both got their certificates of return yesterday, which show that they won the election.
At the event, Oyebanji called the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) a “game-changer” in the country’s election process and said that the credibility of the Ekiti poll depended on the new technology.
Engr Segun Oni, who ran for the Social Democratic Party and got 82,211 votes, was Oyebanji’s closest competitor. He got a total of 187,057 votes, which was enough to beat him.
Oyebanji spoke as he and Mrs. Afuye got the certificate at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s office in Ado Ekiti. He promised the people of Ekiti that he wouldn’t betray them in his work for them.
In the same way, Hon. Oyewole Fatoba, who won the House of Assembly bye-election in Ekiti East Constituency 2 on the same day as the governorship election, also got his certificate from the commission.
When he spoke to the crowd of party supporters and admirers, Oyebanji said that the victory wasn’t about him, but about God and the people of the state. He also promised that he would work hard to carry out his 6-point plan to help Ekiti move forward and develop.
“I’d like to thank the INEC for making sure that everyone in this election had the same chances of winning. I couldn’t agree more with the INEC that the BVAS changed the way our election went.
“No one ever thought that what happened on Saturday could happen. Some people still didn’t believe that election rigging was over, but the election in Ekiti really proved it.
“Thanks to the state’s security agencies and people for trusting APC.
“The people put a lot of faith in us because of how well Governor Kayode Fayemi did his job, and I will build on that. What happened on Saturday was a vote of confidence in the work of the APC-led government.
As governor, Oyebanji said he would work with INEC to strengthen the voting process and do his best not to let down the people of Ekiti, who voted for him by a large majority.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti State, Dr. Adeniran Tella, spoke to the recipients and said that the certificates were given in accordance with Section 72(1) of the Electoral Act, which says that the commission should give certificates to the governor and deputy within 14 days of being elected.
Tella asked everyone involved to work with INEC to make the process even more democratic by doing good things during the campaigning.
“On behalf of the commission, I’d like to congratulate you and your running mate on being chosen by the voters. INEC wants to make democracy stronger, and that’s why they introduced BVAS. This was a turning point in the country’s election process.
“The number of hijackings went down because all election materials were made to look different. Tella said, “All stakeholders, especially political parties and security agencies, should help INEC bring in technology to improve our voting process and reduce the number of people who break the rules.”
The National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo, and Lagos, Mr. Sam Olumekun, also said that the commission was ready to strengthen democracy. He said that INEC was able to hold a free, fair, and credible election in Ekiti despite all the odds because of good planning.
“The BVAS made a big difference in our voting process. I want to tell the winner that while he is celebrating, he should think about how to understand the problems of the people and how to solve them in the best way.
“We’re giving these certificates to the candidate today because he got the most votes and met the constitutional requirement that his votes be spread across all 16 local governments.”