Candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and incumbent Governor of Anambra State Willie Obiano has succeeded in his re-election bid after securing a landslide victory over 36 others gunning for his position.
The Chief Returning Officer for Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra, Professor Zanna Akpagu, declared the governor winner of the poll, after confirming that he met all the requisite requirements.
Mr Obiano swept to victory by polling 234,071 votes, more than double the votes of his closest rival, Mr Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress, according to results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Mr Nwoye, who flew the APC’s flag in its quest to strengthen its presence in the South East where it has only one governor, polled 98,752 votes.
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Oseloka Obaze, got the third highest number of votes with 70,293 votes.
Former Minister of Aviation and candidate of the United Progressive Party, Mr Osita Chidoka, who condemned ‘godfatherism’ and money politics in his campaigns, trailed far behind the three leading candidates with 7,903 votes to his name.
An Early Lead
Governor Obiano raced into an early lead when the final collation of results started at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s situation room in Awka, the state capital.
It started just before 10 am with Njikoka LGA, the first of the results to be collated. There, the APGA candidate got 16,944 votes, APC polled 5,756, while PDP and UPP secured 3,477 and 108 votes, respectively.
Around 11:18 am, with the results for seven of the 21 LGAs collated, Mr Obiano had opened up a 48,158 lead on his closest rival.
He would sustain the lead, winning in all the 21 LGAs of the state.
Slow, Difficult Start
Saturday’s governorship election had started slowly with logistic challenges popping up in the early stages.
In many polling units, electoral materials were delayed while card readers failed in some instance.
INEC’s National Commissioner and its Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Solomon Soyebi, blamed the delay in the arrival of electoral materials on corps members, some of who he said did not want to go to certain areas.
One of those affected by the delay in the arrival of electoral materials was the candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, Mr Godwin Ezeemo. Electoral materials got to his polling unit five hours behind schedule.
For him, the delay could be described as a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise his people.
UPP’s Chidoka and former APGA National Chairman, Victor Umeh, were among those that faulted the logistic challenges faced.
Challenges aside, the elections went on to hold, and occurred smoothly in many parts of the state visited by our correspondents.
Also, many voters shunned the threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra to distrupt the exercise.
Convener of the Situation Room, Mr Clement Nwankwo, described the election as relatively peaceful. He, however, accused politicians of openly paying people to vote for them, a development he said had to be addressed.
On Saturday evening, the Police Service Commission issues a statement commending the police for their role in maintaining law and order during the election.
Claiming the day
Mr Obiano boasted throughout the campaign that he would win the election by a landslide and on Saturday, after voting, he restated his claim.
Despite his sweeping victory, the election was not a stroll in the part for him and the buildup to it the poll, however, had its intrigues with 36 others joining the race and the governor having to face former allies.
When the governor got elected in 2013 and now, former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, along with Mr Obaze, supported and campaigned for him and the latter would serve as Secretary to the State Government under him for more than a year before resigning.
Both Mr Obi and Mr Obaze eventually defected to the People’s Democratic Party and were on opposing sides this time around.
In 2015, the APC swept to power at the Federal level and in many states across the nation but with no little luck in the South East, where it has just one governor as a member.
Ahead of Saturday’s election, the party’s campaign for its candidate, Nwoye, included an appearance by President Muhammadu Buhari at his mega rally in the state.