The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has explained that the visa ban threat by the United States of America and the United Kingdom contributed to the free and fair September 19 governorship polls experienced in Edo State.
Prior to the election day, there had been worries about possible election violence and massive rigging marring the 2020 Edo State governorship election.
The Oba of Benin also expressed his fears and even held a peace meeting between the two leading candidates, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
After the election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Obaseki winner of the election after he polled 307,955 votes to defeat all other candidates including Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC who polled 223,619 votes.
INEC’s Returning Officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh declared Obaseki winner of the election.
The election has been adjudged as free and fair by many observers including local observers, NGOs, CSOs, and the international community.
Speaking after the conclusion of the whole exercise, Governor Wike, who was the Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council for the Edo election attributed the free and fair process witnessed to the threat of visa ban recently made by the US and UK ahead of the polls.
The US government had last week Monday, announced the ban on some political stakeholders in Nigeria whom it accused of undermining the country’s democracy by involving in election rigging.
Wike, who appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, said, “They were out to win at all cost but I think that one thing that played out which I noticed was that take for example, the US, the UK came to say, ‘look, there will be a visa ban if anybody tries anything in terms of violence, in terms of rigging …so everyone was just careful… ‘look, I don’t want to have a problem. I don’t want my family to have problem. We all go to UK every time.”