Last week’s declaration and the subsequent issuance of the certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to Professor Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as the winner of the November 6, governorship election in Anambra state has put to rest the hyped apprehension of bloodshed in the hotbed of the South-east politics.
Soludo polled a total of112,229 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 53, 807 to emerge second. Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) got a total of 43,285 votes to place third.
Prof. Florence Obi, Returning Officer for 2021 Anambra governorship election, announced this in the early hours of Wednesday at INEC headquarters, Awka, the state capital. INEC had suspended collation of results penultimate Sunday night and declared the exercise inconclusive following non-conduct of election in Ihiala local government area. The commission, however, fixed Tuesday, November 9, for supplementary election in Ihiala.
Announcing the final result, Obi noted that after adding up the results collated from Ihiala, Soludo continued his lead in the election. She said that Soludo won in 19 out of the 21 local government areas of the state. Obi listed the areas where Soludo won to include; Dunukofia, Awka South, Oyi, Anaocha, Ayamelum, Anambra East, Idemili South and Onitsha South.
She stated that the APGA candidate also won in Njikoka, Orumba South, Onitsha North, Idemili North, Ekwusigo, Aguata, and Nnewi South, Orumba North and Ihiala local government areas. The PDP candidate won in Ogbaru with 3,445 votes, APGA scored second while APC came third in the same council. Senator Ifeanyi Uba of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) won in his home local government area, Nnewi North, in spite of coming a distant fourth in the overall score card with 21,261 votes.
The returning officer, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, said: “Prof. Chukwuma Soludo having scored the highest number of valid votes is declared winner of the election”.
Soludo, a onetime governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, was born on July 28, 1960. He hails from Isuofia, Aguata local government area of Anambra state. The governor-elect obtained a first degree in economics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN. He worked in many national and international organisations including the World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for West Africa and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Already, INEC has issued a certificate of return to Soludo, governor-elect of Anambra state, amidst encomiums from independent election monitors. In its assessment, Yiaga Africa said the results announced by the commission reflected the ballots cast on November 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election.
Addressing a press conference on the election, Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, said that Yiaga Africa deployed 500 observers and 27 mobile observers to monitor the election. He added that Yiaga Africa, through the Watching The Vote Citizens Movement, deployed the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to verify the official governorship results as announced by INEC.
The PVT is an advanced election observation methodology that employs well-established statistical principles and sophisticated information technologies in elections. This is in providing timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting and counting, and it independently verifies the official governorship results as announced by the INEC.
He urged INEC to work on its logistics to curb further hitches and technological failure at elections as well as distribute voters evenly at polling units. This, he said, was to decongest the overcrowded ones while adding to other units with scanty voters to balance, adding that this was because the newly created polling units had few voters while some units were over crowded.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, board member, Yiaga Africa, said that the group noted some observations, having monitored the election. Nwagwu said that in spite of the establishment of Super Registration Area Centers (RACs) close to the polling units to avert logistical hiccups, late deployment of election materials and personnel delayed the opening of polling units.
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa observers reported incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence towards women voters, polling officials, security, party agents or observers at some polling units observed. He added that Yiaga Africa also noted that in 26 per cent of polling units observed, there were no female polling officials and female presiding officers were sighted in only 38 per cent of polling units.
She urged security agencies to maintain nonpartisan and professional conduct in the November 9, 2021, supplementary election and investigate all its personnel involved in misconduct. She called on the National Assembly to, without further delay, conclude the amendment to the Electoral Act and transmit the electoral bill to Mr President for assent.
Blueprint commends INEC and the security agencies for their resilience, doggedness and impartiality in the conduct of the November 6, Anambra state governorship election and its supplementary on November 9.
The Professor Yakubu Mahmoud led INEC has, indeed, proven to be Nigeria’s flagship agency for daring all odds, provocations and threat including the torching of its facilities and sensitive materials by the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to conduct an election that has been widely adjudged to be free, fair, credible and acceptable.
We hope INEC will replicate this feat in the 2023 general elections.