OBIANO RE-ELECTED AS OBAZE AND EZEMO REJECTS THE RESULT
Mr. Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has been declared winner of the 2017 Governorship Election in Anambra State.
Announcing the result, the Chief Returning Officer for the election and Vice Chancellor University of Calabar, Professor Zanna Akpagu said the incumbent Governor won majority vote in all the 21 Local Government Areas of the State.
According to the Returning Officer, Mr. Obiano garnered a total of 234,071(two hundred and thirty-four thousand, seventy-one) votes to win the election.
His closest rival, Mr. Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress, APC, secured 98,752 (ninety-eight thousand, seven hundred and fifty-two) votes while the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Candidate, Mr. Oseloka Obaze got 77,293 (seventy thousand, two hundred and ninety-three) votes to come third.
Chief Osita Chidioka of the United Progressive Party, UPP came fourth with a total of 7,903 (seven thousand and nine hundred and three) votes while a business mogul and newspaper publisher, Mr. Godwin Ezemo came fifth with 32 other contestants trailing very far behind.
Professor Akpagu said that the total valid votes cast at the poll was 422,314; the total number of rejected votes was 26,457 while the total votes cast stood at 448,771.
While declaring the results, the Returning Officer, Professor Akagu, noted that there were irregularities and malpractices during the poll.
These included issues of over voting and complicity of electoral officers in some polling units, which led to the cancellation of some of the results.
Results of the Governorship election were announced at the INEC State Headquarters, in Awka amidst heavy security presence.
Reacting to his victory, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and the incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano commended President Muhammadu Buhari for providing a level playing grand in the conduct of the poll.
Governor Obiano had earlier in a broadcast expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering the reinstatement of his security paraphernalia which was withdrawn a few days to the election by the Police High Command.
Chief Obiano used the forum to extend a hand of fellowship to his fellow contestants in order to make Anambra State great.
“Umu nnem, the victory we savour today belongs neither to Willie Obiano nor to our great party, APGA. No! This sweet victory belongs to Ndi Anambra!
“It belongs to the wheel barrow pushers and the Okada riders who have clearly seen in our recent political experience, a glimmer of light in the horizon. It belongs to farmers in Ayamelum, Onono, Ogbaru, Omasi and Ufuma who have now realized that agrictlture is the future of Nigeria.
“It belongs to teachers and civil servants who have seen that a motivated workforce is the greatest asset of any government and have rewarded our faith in them with an overwhelming verdicts at the polls.
“So I reach out a hand of brotherhood to my fellow contestants Oseloka, Tony, Osita, Godwin and others whose names I cannot easily recall here. And I say to you my brothers, we have all fought a good fight and Anambra State is the winner! The interest of Anambra State is bigger than the private ambitions of anyone of us. Therefore, I pray you to join hands with me and build a better place for Ndi Anambra! Our beloved state needs our talent and time. The time to build a better place is now.”
In his own reaction, the candidate of the United Progressive Party, UPP, Chief Osita Chidoka, commended those that voted for him but attributed his loss to money politics.
He claimed that he tohave refused paying the electorate to vote for him as he alleged was the case with other candidates.
“On November 18, our people announced strongly their rejection of politicians. They traded their votes because they doubted we would truly represent their interest. While our message resonated with the people, they doubted that the political class cared about them. They voted for the highest bidder.
“When, by Thursday, a large percentage of our supporters insisted that they will not vote unless we paid, I insisted we will not pay for votes. The decision not to pay ended our good run. We accept the voters’ decision. We also heard our people, by their turnout and transactional approach, as they took sides with our Party’s considered view that the issue of justice, equity and fairness should be canvassed within Nigeria.
“In all, we hold our heads high; high because we did not lose the poll due to paucity of ideas or lack of “structure.” We lost to superior financial fire power. As Democrats, we concede to the voters’ choices. The true hallmark of democracy is the respect for the voice of the ballot as that of the majority.
“But the inner truth is that we won! We won at the most important place; in the hearts of people; our people who saw us toil and push in the arena against all odds; who saw the sincerity of our mission and gave all in support of our quest for collective good. We salute you for your support and personal sacrifices to the campaign.”
Also, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Tony Nwoye, congratulated Chief Obiano on his victory.
Comrade Nwoye, who alleged that his supporters and agents were injured and harassed by APGA supporters said that he had handed everything in the hands of God.
Dr. Nwoye indicated that he would not go to court but that his party if they so wished, might decide to approach the court based on the evidence before it.
In the meantime, two major candidates in November 18, Anambra gubernatorial election, Mr. Oseloka Obaze of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Mr. Godwin Ezemo of the Peoples Progressives Alliance, PPA, have rejected the result of the poll as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The two contestants, (Obaze and Ezemo) described the result as laden with malpractice and not a true reflection of the people’s vote and what happened in the field.
In a statement, Mr. Obaze said, “the over voting and inconsistencies between the counted ballots and card reader data remains exceedingly worrisome.
“The uniformity of the incumbent governor wining twenty-one local governments is a political aberration in the context of Anambra politics.
“The election results as reported, shows that nothing matters to the Anambra electorate. The people have spoken. They have taken a cursory long term view of what they wish for Anambra State.”
To the PPA Governorship candidate, Mr. Ezeemo, he was not comfortable with the outcome of the election.
Addressing journalists at his business park in Umuchu, Ezemo said his team was still studying the documents on their table and would make a categorical statement after they had come to a conclusion.
“I will not give any reaction to what is going on at the moment. I have to look at what I have on my table with my team to decide what will happen. This is based on the fact that a lot of things went wrong all over the state,” he said.
In the meantime, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has scored itself high in the conduct of the Anambra gubernatorial poll.
INEC Public Relations Officer in the State, Mrs. Nneka Eluogo described the election as one of the best in recent times.
She expressed the hope that the outcome of the election would be accepted by all those concerned.
In a related development, a Chieftain of APC and Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu has commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for providing a level playing ground for all involved in the Anambra State Governorship election.
Reacting to the result of the election, Mr. Okechuwku advised Chief Willie Obiano to endeavour to do more for the people of Anambra State in appreciation of his re-election for a second term in office.
Meanwhile, representatives of some Political Parties in the Anambra State Governorship election have called on INEC to address some of the challenges witnessed during the poll in subsequent elections.
Speaking with Radio Nigeria, a UPP Agent, Mr. Frank Arumgbo, said though the exercise was relatively peaceful, INEC should address cases of malfunctioning of card readers, alleged snatching of ballot boxes and over voting.
The State Chairman of APC, Mr. Chukwuma Agufugo, said that the party would analyse certain things that happened during the election.
A former APGA National Chairman and head of the Obiano Campaign Organisation, Chief Victor Umeh condemned the attitude of some politicians who engaged in campaign of calumny.
Though the Anambra gubernatorial election was largely peaceful, the exercise witnessed low turnout of voters.
The major places where there was appreciable number of voters were in towns and communities where major contestants came from.
Also late arrival of electoral materials and INEC Staff affected the early commencement of the election while there was improvement on the functionality of the card reader when compared to the 2015 general election.
Some international and local Observers interviewed also expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the election.
NNADOZIE OSHIGBO, IFEOMA AMUTA, OBINNA OGBUKA & CHUKWUBUIKE MADU