The Concerned Indigenes of Edo State in the UK have lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring a free, fair and credible gubernatorial election in Edo State.
Speaking to TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) correspondent in London, the spokesperson for the group, Deacon Henry Olovba recounted how they feared for the lives of their loved ones in Edo State who would have been the victims of any use of force by security agencies in the course of the election.
“We were worried for our friends and families in Edo who have threatened to resist any attempt by security agencies to disenfranchise them from exercising their civic rights.
“As you know, the gun is only a friend to the one who holds it and presses the trigger facing a target. We knew that, if push comes to shove, the security agencies might deploy the use of force against any resistance.
“This concern necessitated our raising a petition to the British Prime Minister who we know enjoys a good relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, to help us appeal to him to ensure that no external interference by security agencies, that ordinarily should not be on ground in Edo State on Election Day.
“You will recall that on Thursday 10 September, our group went to the Nigeria High Commission here in London to hand a copy of our petition to the Ambassador for onward transmission to President Buhari. This was after submitting the master copy to the British Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson.
“I made a press statement outside the Nigeria High Commission on behalf of the group, appealing to our Prime Minister and other world leaders to help us appeal to our President on the subject matter.
“Barely 2 days after that appeal, the United States of America made some strong statements regarding election riggers and placing travel ban on some un-named people.
“Within 24 hours of the US statement, the British Government warned of consequences for anyone who engages in electoral malpractices and violence in the Edo and Ondo States’ elections.
“Few days to the election, President Buhari reassured Nigerians and Edo indigenes of his commitment to a free and fair election as part of his resolve to strengthen our democratic process,” Olovba said.
Deacon Olovba noted that, their appeal yielded the needed outcome. He said the 2020 Edo guber election which held on Saturday 19 September has been adjudged as one of the most credible elections in Nigeria in recent times.
He expressed his appreciation, on behalf of the group, to President Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for doing their due diligence in ensuring a peaceful election.
He also thanked Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Donald Trump for lending their voices to the call for a violence-free election in Edo State.
He commended the electorates for coming out in their numbers to cast their votes and assured them that, with this template set by this election, future elections would see more participation.
Deacon Olovba used the opportunity to call on Governor Godwin Obaseki to be magnanimous in victory, and work for all Edos across party divide and provide dividends of democracy to the electorates who gave him the overwhelming support.
He said, election is over, now its time for governance.