Opposition political parties yesterday praised the re-election of Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, saying it held hopes for the country’s democracy.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) said: “We commend INEC for maintaining proven fairness and impartiality all through the process and the declaration of Chief Willie Obiano as the duly elected governor of the state.”
The Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, also hailed the conduct of the election and the performance of INEC and security agencies, saying it was a sign the electoral umpire was listening to the cries of Nigerians for credible polls.
He congratulated Obiano, stressing that the results showed that connection with the people was key to winning.
His spokesman, Lere Olayinka, said: “Even though there were reports of malfunctioning of card readers, number of votes exceeding number of accredited voters, and pockets of violence, as well as buying of votes, the election was better than others conducted by INEC under the present government of the APC.”
He however added: “By now, INEC ought to have resolved all issues on card readers. It does not augur well for the electoral process and INEC if we are still being faced with failure of card readers on election day.”
A statement by CNPP secretary general, Chief Willy Ezugwu, urged INEC to sustain the “level-playing field it ensured in Anambra State up till 2019 and beyond”.
Ezugwu said: “For us, the people have spoken and the voice of the people is loud and clear in Anambra State. We urge the candidates to continue to embrace themselves, even now that the election is over.
“We rejoice with Governor Willie Obiano on his re-election for a second tenure. We urge him to use this opportunity to build lasting bridges and extend a warm hand of fellowship to his brothers and sisters who contested against him. This is with a view to harmonising the huge human and material resources in the state maximally in his next four years, in order to do more for Anambra people.
The CNPP commended all security agencies for maintaining law and order and for non-interference, advising them to “extend the same neutrality to the 2019 general election, to deepen democracy in the country”.
It added: “There is hope for all political parties ahead of the 2019 election, if the security agencies can maintain the level of maturity and professionalism displayed.”
Awka, the Anambra State capital, erupted in wild jubilation yesterday as news broke that the incumbent, Willie Obiano, had won Saturday’s governorship election.
Results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showed that Obiano, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), beat his closet rivals, Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Oseloka Obaze of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by wide margins.
INEC’s returning officer and vice chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu, disclosed that APGA secured a total of about 234,071 votes to beat the APC, which had 98,752 and PDP 70,293. He stated that 422,314 votes were valid while 26,457 were rejected. Total votes cast were 448,771.
Results from INEC’s collation officers also showed that Obiano won in the 21 local government councils of the state.
“Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is hereby elected as governor of Anambra state,” said Akpagu.
The returning officer had barely completed the sentence when members of APGA at the venue began to dance in celebration.
APGA national chairman, Victor Oye, exclaimed: “This is the sign of what will come in 2019. APGA will go beyond this in 2019. This is an act of God and we were not distracted by those who felt that our leadership should not be. Obiano will take Anambra to the next level. He has made the best promise to take Anambra to where it rightly belongs.”
Results declared by INEC’s returning officer last night include Njikoka local government: APC 5756, PDP 3477, APGA 15,944; Dunukofia local government: PDP 1530, APC 7016, APGA 8575; Awka South: APGA 18957, PDP 5354, APC 6167; Anyamelum: APGA 14,593, APC 5412, PDP 2323; Anaocha: APGA 11,237, APC 5297, PDP 6554; Orumba South: APC 3808, APGA 8125, PDP 2412; Ekwusigo: APGA 8515, APC 5412, PDP 3856; Aguata: APGA 13167, APC 5807, PDP 4073.
Others are Onitsha North: APGA 10,138, PDP 4143, APC 3808; Ogbaru: APGA 6615, APC 3415, PDP 4416; Idemili: South: APGA 5742, APC 4063, PDP 2629; Oyi: APGA 11,840, APC 5085, PDP 129; Orumba North: APGA 8766, PDP 3865, APC 3451; Awka North: APGA 7162, APC 3727 and PDP 3347.
In spite of threats by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the election was devoid of killings, ballot snatching or intimidation. Many who witnessed the process commended the level of security, and maturity of the electorate.
Results had started trickling in as early as 2 p.m. from polling units and wards, as people voted immediately after accreditation. Signs that Obiano was coasting to victory began to show early in the day with results at polling units indicating he either had won or was first runner-up.
Speaking shortly after the declaration, Chief Victor Umeh, who was APGA chief agent in the election, commended the federal government for allowing the poll to hold without manipulation. He dispelled concerns that the process was rigged, describing it as the best ever in the state.
He said: “There was tension that the results would be doctored. But today all the local government results were the same as declared by INEC official. This is what we wish for the country, an electoral process where the people will choose their leaders by their votes. It’s a great day for politicians and the country.”
He also commended INEC for conducting a credible poll, and security agents for maintaining the peace.
Also reacting to the victory, Senator Annie Okonkwo, whose Agunechemba Support Group campaigned vigorously for Obiano, noted: “This clean sweep is beautiful, outstanding and remarkable because Anambra State, as the light of the nation, is set for a higher altitude from a new attitude.”