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US commends Edo election, tasks INEC, stakeholders on credible polls in Ondo

THE United States embassy in Nigeria has commended the outcome of Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State.

In a statement on Wednesday, the US commended the various roles played by stakeholders and the statesmanship displayed by the two major contestants and their supporters during and after the election.

“Congratulations to the people of Edo State on a credible and peaceful governorship election. We thank the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian security services on the positive role they played in the election and commend their work in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy.

“We recognize the critical role that Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu played in promoting peace.  We also thank our civil society partners for their invaluable work in upholding democracy and accountability in this election,” it said.

It however expressed concern with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election, and reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers.

While calling on INEC, the security forces and other stakeholders for an improved outcome in the forthcoming Ondo election, the US expresses commitment to work with Nigeria to achieve goals of peace and prosperity for both countries.

“We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services, to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election.

“As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.”

There is a general belief among Nigerians on social media that the peaceful and credible outcome of the Edo polls was due to an earlier announcement of sanctions by the US on those who have in one way or another undermined elections in Nigeria.

In a statement last week, the US announced that it has imposed visa restrictions on those whose actions undermined the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections, and also on those who will undermine the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.

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Obaseki defeated Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), to claim a landslide victory in the keenly contested election.

He polled 307,955 votes against Ize-Iyamu’s 223,619 votes, according to the final results announced on Sunday in Benin City, capital of Edo State by the INEC.

The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and Civil Societies Organization in elections monitoring have judged the polls to be free, fair and credible.

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