The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has described the November 16th guber elections in Bayelsa State as the most peaceful since 1999.
Oshiomhole said this after he was joined by Chairman All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship campaign Mohammed Badaru, Governor of Kebbi State and Chairman APC Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Silver, to present Bayelsa Governor-elect David Lyon to President Muhammadu Buhari, at the State House, Abuja.
Lyon, staged an upset to defeat the PDP’s Duoye Diri in the Bayelsa governorship election.
The party chairman while commending President Buhari’s role and other party members said: “We thanked the president for his fatherly role and he insisting that we must ensure that while we are determined to win the election, that we must play by the rule and ensure that the process is transparent. And above all the president has always been concern about peaceful election and we were proud to inform him that besides very isolated cases of ballot box snatching, the election in Bayelsa can be described as the most peaceful.
“I believe since 1999, you as very seasoned journalists who have covered elections in Bayelsa in the past, you will agree that this is the only time we can say the election is truly transparent and peaceful.”
Oshiomhole who commended former President Goodluck Jonathan, who in line with his character of humane, simplicity and commitment, warmly received the delegation of APC governorship campaign for Bayelsa state,noted that the governor-elect was easy to sell because he is a good product.
He said: “We went to present the governor-elect, governor David Lyon to President Muhammadu Buhari. As the President and our father, he has a brand new baby boy who will be sworn- in on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020, as governor of Bayelsa State. Again, our candidate attract supports across the political divide when you see from territories and communities where his victory was being celebrated, you will agree that not only did he have the support of the APC family, he had support beyond the APC family.
And of course, the president was very happy that we had a peaceful election in Bayelsa state.
“Overall, we are grateful to Almighty God for making this election successful, we appreciate the people of Bayelsa State who have reposed confidence in our party and on our candidate.
“For the governor-elect, this is a call to selfless service, the more support you get the more the expectations. As they say, to whom much is given, much is expected.
“When he takes over office in February Bayelsans will see the difference between his government and that of outgoing governor Serieke Dickson.”
Lyon, on his part assured that he will not disappoint the people of Bayelsa, promising to keep his pledge of tackling insecurity and providing unprecedented development.
He said: “Today, is one of my greatest day in my life. A great day because the great people of Bayelsa have spoken their minds by taking time to vote for our great party, APC.
“It is indeed a welcome development because at our campaigns we promised that when elected and sworn in, security and development will be our key agenda and with the support of Bayelsans they have made this possible.
“Today, on behalf of my APC leaders, I promise Bayelsans that, we will serve them and not them to serve us. We also promise to respect leadership which is key for us. Today, their vote has been counted and the people of Bayelsa will be respected.
“I am sincerely grateful to our father, the president of this country, for his fatherly advise this afternoon. As one of his sons in APC, we want to say we Bayelsans will not disappoint APC. We will consult with our leaders, traditional rulers and I believe there will be a serious positive change in Bayelsa State.
“This incoming administration will make Bayelsans to see positive developments and that is key to us. Thank you so much for having me here today as governor elect of Bayelsa state.”
Bagudu of Kebbi State, his part said the election was not only free and fair but former President Jonathan was happy with the victory of the party’s candidate, Lyon, in last weekend’s gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State.
Jonathan was President on the platform of the now opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before he lost the 2015 presidential poll to the APC.
Bagudu said: “Many people worked hard in making this happen, most importantly, Mr. President, who has always shown the party that win or lose we should aim for free, transparent and fair elections. Because, that is what will guarantee peace, confer legitimacy and support for elected persons to proudly execute the mandate that they are given. And in Bayelsa we have seen a demonstration of that.
“Everyone is talking about how free, transparent and fair the elections were. We were in Bayelsa for over 72 hours we didn’t see a tyre burning, we didn’t see people running, we didn’t hear a gunshot, everyone was celebrating in all the areas we passed, which shows the acceptance of our candidate, our party and the process itself.
“It is equally note worthy that Bayelsa is a home of a former president of Nigeria and this election won by a party different from the one he belongs, has been accepted by all including around him and so far, from what we hear and what we are, he also is happy with the outcome irrespective of the difference in the party, which is an indication of the transparency of the process.
“This is a victory for Nigeria because it shows that parts of the country that has been under another political party, can in a free, fair election make their democratic choice and vote for another party with the right candidate.”
Badaru declared that the elections were substantially peaceful and reflected the wishes of the people, saying, “We want to thank Baylesans, they are remarkable. They know what they want, they know when they are frustrated how to act and they have acted right.
“I want to thank the leader of our party in Bayelsa State, the Minister of State of Petroleum, who digging out the right candidate. So the success of this election is in our being able to come up with the man of the people.
“I have been there, I have seen where he lives, I have seen the crowd that comes to him and I have seen how he engages with them. He is a technical man of the people and that is why he has been rewarded with so much heavy votes. He is a man that is always with his community and he is a man that always supports his community, and that made the job of the election very easy and simple.
“We were on ground there, like the chairman said earlier, we have history of elections in Bayelsa what it use to be and you have seen what happens there.
“For the three days of voting and counting, not a single soul to my knowledge was killed. Of course, there were pockets of violence, ballot box snatching which results to a council but when you look at the magnitude, there are so few compared to what use to happen in Bayelsa. I will credit this also to the right choice of the candidate, which means most of the people are with him and hence no need to create any trouble. And that translated to the vote that we got. Because it shows the number of people that came out to vote for him indicated that, opposition cannot even try to make trouble and that was why we had a very peaceful, transparent election.
“Of course, I thank Baba Buhari for his guide, support and for his concern for elections being peaceful, free and fair.
“We had a court order disqualifying our candidate, one on Tuesday, second one Thursday but because this is what the PDP saw and wanted to take advantage of the court to run away with what the people want, but God willing we got stay in the two judgements and run for the election and showed them what Bayelsans actually want.”
In his remarks, Sylva said the victory of the APC was made even easier by the party’s choice of acceptable candidate and the mis-governance of the outgoing governor, Seriake Dickson of the PDP.
He noted that the victory now gives the APC more national look, with a footprint in the Niger Delta, which is very vital to strength of the ruling party.
Sylva said: “It’s been a very hectic week but I will like to bring in this Eritrean proverb, that if you marry a wife very well, you will be blessed with another wife. Governor Dickson, unfortunately made our job very easy because he married the wife very badly. Of course this proverb pre-supposes that if you marry a wife badly, you will not get another wife. So he did not marry the state very well, so the state roundly rejected him.
“Like it’s been said earlier, we had a good candidate and when you have a good product it’s very easy to sell it. So we went round and sold this good to Bayelsans and the result was an overwhelming success.
“We are happy with this victory because for us it is very significant. This gives our party a footprint in the Niger Delta, which is very key to us. It gives us more of a national outlook, we have always been a national party but this gives us even a bigger national outlook.
“I have always said that if our party doesn’t have this much of a footprint in the bread basket of the country, it was not too good for us. But now we have it and I want to assure you that from a small seed, the biggest tree will grow. From here we will gradually grow the party in the south south and the south east. APC is a good product just like our governor and we intend to sell that good product in the whole of the south south and the south east.”