The Ekiti State governor-elect, Biodun Oyebanji, and deputy governor-elect, Mrs Monisade Afuye, on Wednesday, received their certificates of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The INEC’s National Commissioner supervising Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos States, Mr. Sam Olumekun, presented the certificates to the duo at the state headquarters of the commission in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
Olumekun said INEC was able to surmount all the odds through proper planning to conduct a free, fair and credible governorship election in Ekiti state.
Speaking while receiving his certificate alongside Mrs Afuye, Oyebanji pledged to execute his six-point agenda zealously to usher a new dawn of progress and development in Ekiti.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate polled a total of 187, 057 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Engr. Segun Oni, who polled 82,211 votes, among other contenders.
Addressing party supporters and admirers, Oyebanji who said the victory was not about him, but was made possible by God and the people of the state, also promised not to betray Ekiti people in his service to them.
Similarly, the winner of the Saturday’s House of Assembly bye-election conducted simultaneously with the governorship poll in Ekiti East Constituency 2, Hon. Oyewole Fatoba, also got his certificate from the commission.
The governor-elect said, “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 happended on Saturday could ever happen. Some people still did not believe that the rigging of 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 is on that I will build on. What happened on Saturday was a referendum and validation that the APC-led government has performed.”
He stated that he would partner INEC as a governor to fortify the electoral process, while striving hard not to disappoint Ekiti people who overwhelmingly elected him.
Addressing the recipients, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti State, Dr Adeniran Tella, said the presentation of certificates was in line with Section 72(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which stipulated that the commission should present certificates to governor-elect and deputy-elect within 14 days of being elected.
Tella urged 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,” Tella stated.
According to Olumekun added, “The BVAS introduction was a game changer in our electoral prlocess. 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.”