Ekiti Governor-elect Biodun Oyebanji, and the Deputy Governor-elect, Chief (Mrs) Christiana Monisade Afuye, have received their certificates of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The certificates were issued to Oyebanji and Afuye by National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos Mr. Sam Olumekun on Wednesday at the state headquarters of the Commission in Ado-Ekiti.
The winner of the bye-election in Ekiti East Constituency II conducted simultaneously with the governorship election Oyewole Fatoba also got his certificate from INEC.
INEC on Sunday declared Oyebanji of the All Progressive Congress (APC) winner of the last Saturday’s governorship poll after polling 187, 057 votes to defeat 15 other contestants including Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who scored 82, 211 votes.
Olumekun said that the issuance of the certificates was in line with Section 72 (1) of the Electoral Act, which stipulated that INEC should present certificates to the Governor and Deputy within 14 days of being elected.
The National Commissioner said that the commission had done its best to deliver a credible poll, assuring that it would audit the conduct of the exercise and utilise the lesson to improve on the coming July 16 Osun governorship poll and 2023 general elections.
He added that the Commission was able to surmount all the odds and conduct a transparent election that adhered strictly with best international practices through proper planning and commitment.
“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”.
The Resident electoral Commissioner, Ekiti Dr Adeniran Tella, congratulated the governor-elect and his deputy, urging 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”, he said.
Speaking after receiving the certificate, Oyebanji commended the INEC and the security agencies for conducting a free, fair and credible election without fear or favour.
He predicated the credibility of Ekiti poll on the introduction of Bimodal Voters Authentication System, describing the machine as an ‘indisputable game changer’ in the nation’s electioneering process.
Oyebanji said his victory was not only for himself or his party but for the people of State who stood solidly by him at the poll, promising that he would execute his 6-point agenda zealously to usher 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 happened on Saturday could ever happen. Some people still not believed that the rigging of the 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”.