By Ononye VC /Bureau reports
Citizens of Anambra State and all concerned stakeholders heaved a big sigh of relief when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Prof Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) the winner of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
Mr Soludo polled a total of112,229 votes to defeat his closest rival, Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 53, 807 to emerge second.
Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate got a total of 43,285 votes to emerge the third position.
Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) came fourth with 21,261 votes. Mr Ubah also won in one local government, same as Mr Ozigbo, with Mr Soludo winning in the remaining 19 local governments.
The Returning Officer for 2021 Anambra governorship election, Florence Obi, announced this in the early hours of Wednesday at INEC headquarters, Awka.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that INEC suspended collation of results late 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, Ms Obi noted that after adding up the results collated from Ihiala, Mr Soludo continued his lead in the election.
She said that Mr Soludo won in 19 of the 21 local government areas of the state.
Ms Obi listed the areas where Mr Soludo won to include; Dunukofia, Awka South, Oyi, Anaocha, Ayamelum, Anambra East, Idemili South and Onitsha South.
She also 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.
Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) won in his home local government, 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 was declared winner of the election.”
Ms Obi said that total number of valid votes was 241,523, while 8,108 were void.
The returning officer had earlier stated that Anambra with a total number of 2,466,638 registered voters only had a total of 253, 388 accredited voters for the election which began on November 6 and was extended to November 9, 2021.
Mr Soludo is expected to be sworn in, in March 2022, when the tenure of the outgoing governor, Willie Obiano, expires.
The Battle at Ihiala…
Meanwhile, owing to the inconclusiveness of the election over Ihiala local government non election on the 6th,but was shifted to the 9th, tension mounted in the state with various reports of violence and brigandage.
The former national chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the party’s agent for the governorship poll, Senator Victor Umeh was turned back at the Ihiala local government Secretariat by the security operatives.
Umeh, who arrived the secretariat around 10:30am in company of some party members was turned back by a senior military officer.
Umeh had explained that he was at the secretariat to monitor the distribution of materials to ensure that things went well.
The military officer told the former lawmaker that he had no business being at the secretariat because he was only the state agent at the collation centre.
Independent Observers flee…
Many of the independent observers accredited to observe the Ihiala supplementary election fled the area for fear of the unknown.
There were gory details of harassments and intimidation as reported by observers from the Situation Room observers.
Some were said to have escaped death by the whiskers.
Anambra: Unknown gunmen in shootout with security operatives at Ihiala
Vanguard reported that unknown gunmen, suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, this afternoon engaged security operatives in a shootout for about three hours at the border town of Orsumoghu town.
The town is about two kilometres from Orsu Local Government Area in Imo State.
At the Mbosi Orsumoghu/Azia junction, a group of journalists monitoring the supplementary election in Ihiala local government ran into the security personnel comprising soldiers, police, civil defense, among others, who asked them to turn back immediately because IPOB was operating in the area.
One of them told Vanguard that they have been exchanging fire with IPOB.
He added that following the superior fire power of security operatives, the suspected secessionists ran into the bush.
The unknown gunmen were suspected to be going to the Ihiala local government headquarters, where collation of the supplementary election would take place later in the day.
“For your own safety, just turn back to Ihiala and drive through Onitsha to Awka.
“If you pass through this place, those people may attack you,” he advised.
At the Ihiala Divisional Polite Station, a convoy of reinforcement with over 20 truck-load of heavily armed personnel was seen heading to the area.