Professor Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has swept to victory in the Anambra governorship elections, winning 19 of the 21 local government areas of the state.
“That Charles Chukwuma Soludo of APGA, having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” said the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Chief Returning Officer for the poll, Professor Florence Obi, in announcing the outcome on Wednesday morning.
Candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (Mr Valentine Ozigbo) and Young Progressives Party (Senator Ifeanyi Ubah) each won a local government. But the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Andy Uba, was unable to win any local government in the election.
Soludo, 61, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, secured 112,229 votes, twice more than his closes rival – PDP’s Ozigbo to be returned as winner of the election.
Ozigbo had 53,807 votes while the other two frontline contenders – Uba and Ubah scored 43,285 and 21,261 votes respectively. Soludo’s victory comes on the heels of a toughly contested election that spilled into a supplementary poll over security concerns in one of the 21 local government areas – Ihiala.
As the usual practice, election results were trickling in a day after the election and those from 20 local government areas were collated, except Ihiala. Party agents, reporters, and observers, among others, had waited until the early hours of the third day (Monday) for a winner to be declared before events took a different turn.
Rather than declaring a winner, Professor Obi announced the suspension of the collation exercise despite announcing the total votes scored by the contenders in the 20 LGAs collated so far.
She went on to announce that a supplementary election should be conducted in the 326 polling units across Ihiala, saying this was in line with the provisions of the Constitution.
The former banker was elected as the next Chief Executive of Anambra on his second race to govern the state. He first contested in 2009 on the platform of the PDP. The build-up to the election was characterised by serious campaigning in an atmosphere filled with security concerns and uncertainty.
Amid these concerns, the Federal Government considered declaring a state of emergency in the state to ensure the poll would proceed as scheduled. It took the deployment of some 43,000 police officers and hundreds of other security agents, including soldiers for the election to be held.
Soludo’s victory means he will be succeeding Willie Obiano who is in the final months of his second term and that APGA will be retaining power in the state, which it has governed since 2006.
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