Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Charles Soludo Wins Anambra Governorship Election

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.

Breakdown of votes by the four frontline parties according to LGAs

2ANAMBRA EAST2,0349,7461,380559APGA
3ANAMBRA WEST1,2331,9181,401357APGA
5AWKA NORTH7551,908840381APGA
6AWKA SOUTH2,59512,8915,498919APGA
10IDEMILI NORTH2,2915,3582,312902APGA
11IDEMILI SOUTH1,0392,3122,016752APGA
14NNEWI NORTH1,2783,3691,5116,485YPP
15NNEWI SOUTH1,3073,2432,2261,327APGA
17ONITSHA NORTH3,9095,5873,781682APGA
18ONITSHA SOUTH2,0504,2812,253271APGA
19ORUMBA NORTH2,6724,7871,847655APGA
20ORUMBA SOUTH2,0604,3941,672887APGA
TOTAL21 LGAs43,285112,22953,80721,261APGA
Total Registered Voters2,466,638
Total Accredited Voters253,388
Total Valid Votes241,523
Total Rejected Votes8,108
Total Votes Cast249,631

No Retreat

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.

Breakdown of votes by all 18 political parties

7APGA112,229 (WINNER)
Total Registered Voters2,466,638
Total Accredited Voters253,388
Total Valid Votes241,523
Total Rejected Votes8,108
Total Votes Cast249,631

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.

A policeman wields a gun at a polling unit on November 6, 2021.

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.

Threats Defied

After weeks of uncertainty and mounting tension, the election held peacefully as the electorate went to their respective polling units to vote for the candidates of their choice, defying security threats.

Observers monitoring the election, however, reported incidents of vote-buying and failure of accreditation devices – Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), among others.

The device failure was also experienced at the governor-elect’s polling unit in Aguata Local Government where he waited for over five hours before he could vote.

A combination of photos capturing the election at different polling units.

This initially sparked tension at the polling station as just one person out of the 717 registered voters was able to vote, about one and half hours into the election.

Elsewhere, the other frontline candidates voted without any glitch recorded.

Uneasy Quest

In events that led to the election, it was an uneasy quest for Soludo in his journey to succeed Obiano as the next governor of the state.

Following a series of drama accompanied by the crisis within APGA and conflicting judgements resulting from the party’s primary, INEC finally recognised Soludo as APGA candidate and Ibezim Onyekachukwu Gilbert as his running mate on August 19.

This followed a judgement of the Court of Appeal in Kano which set aside the judgement of the Jigawa State High Court on the party’s leadership and nomination of candidates.

More than a month later, APGA officially flagged off its campaign for the election, and Soludo was presented the party’s flag to officially recognise him as its candidate – bringing an end to all disputes relating to the party’s candidacy.

At the event held six weeks before the election, Soludo began his acceptance speech with a song titled ‘Who Can Battle With The Lord?’ after which he thanked the party leaders and members for their support all through the events that led to his emergence as the party’s candidate.

“The next thing that should happen in Anambra will be to consolidate the wonderful works that are ongoing, especially under the 16 years of APGA in Anambra State,” he promised.

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