President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday received Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, who paid him a thank you visit for ensuring fair and credible election during the September 19 governorship election in the state.
Obaseki won the election with 307,955 votes to defeat the closest rival and the All Progressives Congress candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who scored 223,619
NAN also reports that the governor was accompanied by his wife and the state Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting with the President, Obaseki lauded Buhari’s stance before, during and after the election, saying such position would further deepen democracy in the country.
He said: “This morning, we came to visit the President, essentially to express the gratitude of Edo people, my Deputy and myself, for the role he played in the conduct of our gubernatorial election in Edo State.
“He insisted that Nigeria should have proper, credible, free and fair elections and that is what happened.
“So, this morning we are here in the Villa to express our profound gratitude and appreciation for this act, which on the surface will look normal but the implications are very far reaching.
“This is a sitting president whose party was contesting in an election and he insisted that the right thing be done and a level playing field be created for all contestants.
“That singular action has deepened our democracy far beyond what we can understand and imagine today.”
Obaseki noted that during this visit, the President said he wanted to leave a democracy that was built on integrity, accountability and hard work, adding: “Those were his words and I subscribe totally to them.”
According to the governor, the President restated his position that he is the leader of all Nigerians and congratulated him for emerging successful at the poll.
He said: “The President in his characteristic humorous manner, said he reluctantly congratulated me for beating his party.
“He pointed out also that his role first and foremost as president of Nigeria is to be president of all Nigerians, regardless of your party, tribe or creed and we couldn’t ask for more from him.
“He really played the role of a statesman.”
On whether he plans to become the next godfather in Edo politics, Obaseki said he would not.
According to him, the concept of godfather is inimical to democratic values.
He said: “In the case of godfathers in our politics, I have said in several fora that the whole concept of godfather is very dangerous to our democracy and that is why when we came into the political fray in 2006, the mantra then was to get rid of godfathers in our political life.
“The reason is simple: The godfather acts outside of the constitution and he now controls people who are constitutional players.
“So, if we allow that to continue, it will be worst than the military rule.
“So, God forbid, if I become a godfather, I should be dealt with accordingly because it will be dangerous to the concept of democracy.”
Obaseki, who also dismissed the assertion that he might defect back to his former political party, APC, pledged to consolidate on the achievements of first term of office in sectors like agriculture, health, education and economy.