The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Prof Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as winner of the Anambra State governorship election.
INEC made the declaration at exactly 1:51am.
The returning officer for the election and vice chancellor of University of Calabar, Prof Florence Obi, formally announced Soludo’s victory, following the collation and announcement of the results of the supplementary poll held in Ihiala local government area.
She said “Charles Chukwuma Soludo of APGA, having satisfied the requirement of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected. This is stated by me on this day, November 10.”
Obi declared that Soludo garnered a total of 112,229 votes to emerge winner.
He defeated PDP’s Valentine Ozigbo who polled a total of 53,807 to emerge first runner up, and APC’s Sen Andy Uba, who polled 43,285 to clinch the third place. The YPP candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Uba polled 21,261.
She further added that total valid votes for the election were 241,523; the rejected votes were 8108, while the total votes cast were 249,631.
She added that the total number of registered voters was 2,466,638 while the number of accredited voters was 253,388.
By this declaration, Soludo won in 19 out of the 21 local government areas in the state, while PDP and YPP won one each.
Earlier, the electoral officer for the Ihiala local government election announced that APGA polled 8,283; PDP-2,485 and APC-343.
Out of the 323 polling units, with a total of registered voters of 148,361, accredited voters were 12,298.
While the total valid votes in Ihiala suppplementary poll were 12,002, while the rejected votes were 267. The total votes were 12,269.
Meanwhile, INEC could not deploy electoral materials in six communities in Ihiala LGA during the supplementary election held in the area yesterday due to security challenges.
The deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations, Anambra State police command, DCP Remi Adeoye, who spoke to newsmen at Mary De Queen voting centre, Uzoakwa Ward 3, at about 2:47pm during the election, explained that during security mapping in preparations ahead of the poll, it was found out that members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Eastern Security Network, ESN, had built their camps in the communities, and that virtually all the residents had deserted the areas.
DCP Adeoye, however, stated that elections were going on “greatly peaceful in no fewer than 15 of the 20 wards in Ihiala local government, and we are confident that the results of the election in these areas are enough to enable the INEC conclude the governorship election and declare a winner.”
The communities where the commission could not deploy materials, as confirmed by the police operations boss, are Azia, Osumuoghu, Mbosi, Ubuluisiuzo, Lilu and Isseke.
DCP Adeoye also stated that there were other communities in the local government where the hoodlums initially took over, but that the command had recovered them.
“We deliberately do not want to deploy force; we rather deployed diplomacy in order not to scare residents of the local government from coming out to vote in this election, but I can assure you that after this election, we are going to flush out the hoodlums and recover the communities for the residents. Anambra people are peaceful and they want the state to be peaceful.”
Apart from the non-deployment of electoral materials in the six communities, voter accreditation started late in virtually all the polling units.
by 12:58pm, electoral officers were still moving out from Ihiala local government headquarters to the various polling units.
A polling officer at Polling unit 004 Odoata Central school, Uzoakwa ward 19, Arolahun Jeremiah, told LEADERSHIP at about 1:14pm that they were still setting up tables to start accreditation.
“Our vehicle just dropped us now because they have to drop others before dropping us,” he said.
An agent of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Jude Onuchukwu lamented that several voters had waited since 9am, and had left because some complained of hunger, while some left disenchanted.
PDP agent, and former aspirant for the patty’s ticket for the governorship election, Chief Ugochukwu Okeke, attributed the late commencement of the poll to pressure on INEC.
“Ihiala has become the cynosure of all eyes, because the election has become what will determine who will become the eventual winner of the governorship election,” he said.
At 11:55am, several voters, including aged men and mothers, were at Community Primary School, Umuohi-Okija polling units 009 and 013, waiting for electoral officers.One of the registered voters, Prof. Dennis Abajue, lamented the absence of INEC staff to conduct the poll.
“We heard in the news that this election will commence at 10am and end at 4pm. Many of us have been here since 9am, but till now we have not seen any INEC official or security person. This is how they treated us last Saturday. We were here but nobody came to conduct the election for us. We have decided to remain here until the end of the voting period at 4pm, because we want to vote for the person we want to be our governor.”
At about 12:58pm, an electoral officer in polling unit 011 at Holy Ghost Juniorate, Amamu ward 1, Mary Tijiani said only six voters have been accredited.
Meanwhile, agents of the Labour Party, LP, Jonny Mbanugo, his APGA, and, PDP counterparts, Ugochukwu Asoegbu and Igboaka Ethelbert respectively expressed optimism that the poll would be conducted without any hitches, especially malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voting Accreditation Systems (BVASs). They, however, complained that the exercise started late.
Meanwhile, there was heavy deployment of security personnel, including police, soldiers, operatives of the NSCDC and Immigration Service, etc., and the environment in virtually all the polling centres visited was peaceful; only non-arms carrying police personnel were seen in the polling centres.
Meanwhile, a team of INEC-accredited observers, including officials of International Leadership Initiative (ILI), Citizen’s Right for Peace and Non-violence Initiative and Global Hope and Justice for the Less Privileged, have commended the efforts of INEC in not only making adequate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the Anambra governorship poll, but for making sure that the registered voters were not disenfranchised.
A trustee of ILI, Stafford Jedidiah Bisong, and the executive director, Organisation of Justice for Equity Sustenance, Tunde Bafunsho, however, complained that several electoral malpractices, which include vote buying, ballot box snatching, intimidation of electoral officers by political thugs characterised the governorship election last Saturday.
As at the time of filing this report, collaboration of the results of the Supplementary election was still being awaited to start at the state headquarters of INEC, Awka.
Security operatives under the joint security task force on Tuesday engaged in a gun battle with suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Ihiala, Anambra state where the governorship supplementary election took place.
The gun battle took place at Mbosi-Osumohu junction, which is a boundary between Anambra and lmo State and lasted for about three hours.
Ihiala Local council area which has boundary with Imo State has been notorious for insecurity a reason that contributed to the poll shift.
Journalists who ran into the operatives which comprises the army, police, immigration and other security operatives were asked to turn back for their safety.
One of their leaders who did not want his name mentioned disclosed, “We have been here for the past three hours exchanging fire with them. You better reverse and take a safer route,” forcing the journalists to turn back.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that the election was due to begin by 10am voting materials still arrived late coupled with malfunctioning of election equipment such that election did not begin in some polling stations early.
Meanwhile, Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the Anambra governorship election Dr. Obinna Uzor has alleged disenfranchisement of many electorates who wanted to vote.
Uzo stated this shortly after casting his vote in at Umunnamehi community school 3, PU024 ward1.
He said he was very much in the race and just like in a football match, noting is over until it’s over.
“You can see certain Local Government Areas where a particular party won with less than 2000 votes,” he said.
Describing Ihiala as peaceful, Uzor prayed the next Governor of the state would reach out to stakeholders in order to ensure peace, prosperity and development in the state.
He added, “Ihala has been a peaceful community with a neighboring town of Iseke in Imo. I understand the flash point is not in Ihiala where people easily get scared”.
“Security operatives have done well but we don’t need the entire security in Nigeria to conduct election. We pray a good leader emerges who will be able to reach out to stakeholders so we can ensure peace, prosperity and development in the state.”
Also, Chief Ugochukwu Okeke, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decried late deployment of electoral officials and materials to the various polling units in Tuesday’s supplementary.
Ugochukwu who spoke shortly after casting his vote at PU 20, Odoata Central School, Uzoakwa, in Ihiala LGA about 2 pm regretted that four hours was lost to deployment of logistics for the exercise which was supposed to commence at 10.am
The chieftain who is a former gubernatorial aspirant under the the platform of the PDP said he was happy that the BVAS captured him in less than three minutes while expressing hope the efficiency of the machine would keep improving.
He commended security agencies for the relative peace in thea area but expressed concern about six communities including Mbosi, Azia,Iseke, Orsumoghu, Ubuluisiuzo and Lilu which had been identified as hotspots and were yet to get deployment of men and material.
Ugochukwu who is the Secretary of the PDP Campaign Council in Anambra state called on INEC to ensure that every eligible voter in those areas votes in every part of Ihiala.
He urged the electoral body to consider extending the period of voting beyond four pm to make up for the lost time before the exercise started
“As you can see I have just cast my vote and this is about ten minutes after two and I was the third person to vote in my polling unit , the process of verification was fast but there were delays in some cases. I am calling on INEC to improve on the technology.
“INEC told us that they will be here as early as possible but you can see the delay we experienced, I am calling on them to ensure every eligible voter in Ihiala cast his or her vote, and am sure that, that way, PDP will spring surprises,” he said.
On his part, the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment C. Don Adinuba expressed confidence that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) will extend its lead at the end of the Ihiala election.
Adinuba blamed the late deployment of electoral officials and materials on traffic congestion and peculiar security situation in the area.
He said Ihiala remained a stronghold of APGA and that they party was expecting about 90 per cent share of total votes cast.