By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Ekiti State Governor-elect, Biodun Oyebanji, has denied allegations of vote buying during Saturday’s governorship election.
Oyebanji, who garnered 187,057 votes to defeat his two closest challengers, Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, on Monday.
The former Secretary to the Ekiti State Government said neither he nor his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), was involved in vote buying that allegedly took place during the election.
Speaking shortly after being presented to Buhari, Oyebanji said he did not witness any vote buying in the polling unit where he voted.
Oyebanji said he canvassed for votes based on the Dr Kayode Fayemi-led administration’s record.
The governor-elect, while appreciating the President, said the election was a referendum on the party “and a clear, positive signal to the election in Osun, and the national one next year. APC is still the party of choice.”
Oyebanji lauded the President “for the leadership and the level playing field you provided,” adding that he would be magnanimous in victory, as earlier advised by Buhari.
The APC National Chairman, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, also dismissed the vote buying allegations, calling it a last-minute instrument by the opposition parties who did not garner enough votes to win the election.
Adamu ascribed all the glory for the election victory to God, and pledged that same would be replicated in Osun State next month.
Earlier, the President, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said he keenly followed the polls and was delighted with the orderly conduct the electorate and security agencies comported themselves.
“I loved how the APC governors mobilised, and supported you.
“I think the party is very lucky, and things are getting better. I congratulate the Chairman, and I pray you sustain it,” Buhari said.
The chairman of the Ekiti State Campaign Council and Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, congratulated Buhari on the successful outing, saying: “Your unending effort to reposition the party is paying off. If we combine the votes of the candidates that came second and third, our candidate still beat them by a wide margin. APC is being daily endeared to Nigerians. Our gratitude goes to you, Mr President.”
Oyebanji was led to the event by Adamu, Governors Kayode Fayemi, Atiku Bagudu, and Abubakar Badaru of Ekiti, Kebbi, and Jigawa States.