Although the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State has come and gone, the Governor-Elect, Professor Charles Soludo has given an insight as to why outgoing Governor Willie Obiano supported him.
Addressing a gathering in the Aguleri country home of Obiano on Monday, Soludo said the governor endorsed his governorship ambition five years ago without any strings attached.
The reason Obiano was resolute in backing him, Soludo stated, was because he was the best of all the candidates that had indicated an interest in Anambra’s top job.
“Consistently all through the period, he kept insisting that the reason he was resolutely supporting me was that he believed by his own judgement, that I was the best of all the people that had shown up,” Soludo said.
“Many of these political conversations mostly come with a litany of conditions and so on and so forth. I want to tell you publicly today that not one second was there any such.”
In appreciation of this gesture, Professor Soludo and the entire old Aguata Union presented a plaque in gratitude and an ancient traditional royal sword to the governor.
The items signify a conqueror who keeps his word no matter what may be involved.
The highly elated governor insisted that Professor Soludo would do better than him in the seat of power because of his pedigree.
“I was convinced that he is a very good material, I had never had a doubt,” the governor said. “I kept urging people during the election that he would do better than myself.”
“I have watched him when we were in the banking industry; I saw the type of things he was able to put together. Things that appeared impossible to some people, he was able to do it. I’m sure he also will do wonders in this assignment.”
Soludo was accompanied by the Deputy Governor-Elect, Gilbert Ibezim, other political and socio-cultural groups.
Eight people have died in an accident involving three vehicles on Agulu Lake Bridge by Awka-Ekwulobia Road in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The Director, Anambra State Fire Service, Engr. Martin Agbili, confirmed the incident on Tuesday via a statement made available to Channels Television, adding that the accident happened on Sunday.
According to the Fire chief, the accident was caused by wrongful overtaking and speed.
It was gathered that the crash involved a Mack truck with no registration number and a Mitsubishi L300 bus marked XA 857 UMN, carrying 14 passengers.
“At about 1627hrs (4.27 pm) of Sunday 26-12-2021, we (Anambra State Fire Service, Awka, Nigeria) received a distress call of fire incident at the Agulu Lake bridge.
“The fire outbreak was a result of head-on collision (road crash) involving a trailer (a full load of chipping), a Shuttle and a Mitsubishi Bus (all carrying a full load of passengers) due to wrong overtaking of one of the vehicles.
“Our fire truck and Firefighters were deployed to the fire incident scene immediately. About eight (8) passengers were confirmed dead while some others were rushed to the hospital,” he said.
Senator Victor Umeh has explained how the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was able to pacify some aggrieved youths not to disrupt the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
Prior to the build-up of the election, there was a palpable fear of the crucial poll not holding due to the palpable insecurity in the south-eastern state.
In addition, security formations have been attacked with operatives killed, as well as many innocent residents of Anambra State, notably Dr Chike Akunyili, the husband of the late boss of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dora Akunyili,
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, the former APGA National Chairman said the party, traditional rulers and religious leaders reached out to the youths to ensure that the poll was held smoothly.
He equally commended President Muhammadu Buhari for dominating the state with more security operatives to erase the fears that gripped the electorates.
“Through negotiations, on November 4, the IPOB declared openly that people should go and vote in the election and the sit-at-home order which they had issued for one week beginning from November 5, the order was lifted,” he said.
“The greater commendation will go to our traditional rulers and traditional leaders. We had to resort to reaching out to our young people, the people who have been threatening that there won’t be an election in Anambra State.”
While noting that the young people had every reason to be aggrieved, the APGA chieftain explained that the several appeals paid off as they conveyed the message to their people to take things easy.
This is even as he noted that the issues of marginalisation of the Igbos will be properly addressed in the Nigerian polity through dialogue and persuasion.
Nigeria was a major topic of interest in the passing week, even as the gubernatorial election was held in Anambra State.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s attendance at the Paris Peace Forum also added to keep the nation in the news, as key issues which affect the country as a whole were discussed.
Most deliberations around Nigeria within the passing week have dwelt on polity, the protection of democracy, and the growth of the nation.
Here are the top quotes that give us a sense of what transpired within the passing week and give us a heads up for what to anticipate in the coming days:
1. “Nigerians are all over the place, very competitive. And the competitiveness starts from home, where they have acquired good education, gone into businesses, and then take all that abroad.”
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians all over the world are very competitive, noting that they acquired the trait from home where the citizens have been properly educated and immersed in business rudiments.
2. “We as governors, I don’t think anybody is afraid of direct primaries. No governor, not APC, PDP, or APGA – At least these are the parties that we have today,” Governor Bello said.
4. “I’m here to tell Nigerians that I’m taking this to the international tribunal. It is clear that the Nigerian courts are compromised.”
Bruce Fein, a lawyer to leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, laments after he was ‘locked out’ as Kanu’s trial resumed at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
5. “If I know that my return will depend on some few men, I may care about you. But if I know that my return will depend on my accountability and representation to the people, I will do the right thing.”
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, explains why he pushed for direct primaries as the only method through which political parties should elect candidates to stand for elections.
6. “The outcome of this gubernatorial election presents hope and a new beginning for our dear state.”
Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, describes the governorship election as one that presents hope and a new beginning for the South-Eastern state.
7. “Let’s take Anambra to the moon.”
The Governor-elect of Anambra State, Charles Soludo, extends a hand of fellowship to other contestants in the gubernatorial race, asking them to come together to keep the “spirit of Anambra alive and strong”.
8. “In his second phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in as many days, Putin spoke in favour of restoring contacts between EU states and Belarus in order to resolve this problem.”
The Kremlin discloses that Russian President Vladimir Putin told the European Union it needs to start talks with Belarus if it hopes to resolve a crisis over hundreds of migrants trapped on the border with Poland.
9. “We are warming Europe, and they are threatening us.”
10. “Our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of attempting to rehash what it undertook back in 2014 when it amassed forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory, and did so claiming falsely that it was provoked.”
The United States warns Russia against making another “serious mistake” on Ukraine as it sought clarity about troop movements near the border.
11. “I strongly condemn the terrorist attack targeting the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadhemi.”
US President Joe Biden condemns the attack that targeted Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi and said his administration would help Iraqi security forces identify those responsible.
12. “With all the competent, high level professionals and capable human resources available at the disposal of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, it only takes the imagination of the evil minds to assume or think that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice will descend so low to engaging a quack or fake police officer to serve as his consultant.”
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, distances himself from a suspect arrested over the siege of Justice Mary Odili’s home.
13. “The entire criminal operation has no authorization of any known Security Agency or Federal Government Ministry/Department.”
Police spokesman Frank Mba speaks following the arrest of 14 persons linked with the siege on Justice Odili’s home.
14. “Anambra election was generally peaceful but widespread vote buying prevailed.”
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo, has received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) following his victory in the just-concluded guber election in Anambra State.
Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), received the Certificate of Return in a ceremony on Friday in Awka.
The Deputy Governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim, also got his Certificate of Return.
Friday’s event followed an election that saw Soludo sweep to victory in an emphatic style. The Isuofia-born banker won 19 of the 21 local government areas of the state to clinch the position.
The 61-year-old polled 112,229 votes, twice higher than his closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Valentine Ozigbo who had 53,807 votes.
“That Charles Chukwuma Soludo of APGA, having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” the returning officer for the election, Professor Florence Obi, said while pronouncing him as the winner.
Congratulatory Messages Pour In
A flurry of congratulatory messages – including those from his opponents – have continued to pour in since his electoral victory.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was among the first to congratulate Soludo on his feat, described the election as a reflection of the people’s will and said he looks forward to working with him.
“President Buhari enjoins Prof. Soludo, member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Committee, to rally other stakeholders to tackle the enormous challenges confronting the State and the Southeast in general,” presidential aide, Femi Adesina, said in a statement.
“The President looks forward to working with the incoming governor for the peace, security, and development of not only Anambra State but the entire country. ”
Soludo had, in the wake of his win, thanked the people of Anambra State for giving him the mandate.
He equally extended the olive branch to other contestants, asking them to keep the “spirit of Anambra alive and strong” and “take our homeland to the moon”.
The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has sent a message of congratulations to the governor-elect of Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Soludo on his victory at the just concluded governorship election in the State.
Governor Ikpeazu in a statement by his spokesperson, Onyebuchi Ememanka, noted that with the pedigree of Professor Soludo, the governor-elect has all it takes to provide effective and strong leadership to the people of Anambra State and urged him to give his best in this service.
The governor was particularly impressed with the magnanimous approach by the governor-elect, especially to his opponents at the last election, and urged them to work together for the good of the people of Anambra State.
Governor Ikpeazu, who is the Deputy Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council for the Anambra State elections also commended the maturity and tenacity of the PDP candidate in the election, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, describing him as a cerebral young man whose conduct and performance in the election are exemplary.
Ikpeazu assured Ozigbo that in the nearest future, the seeds he has planted in the hearts of the people of Anambra State will “bear big fruits”.
The governor was of the firm belief that the place of Mr Ozigbo in the future leadership of Anambra State is assured and is only a matter of time.
Governor Ikpeazu said that he is proud to have led the campaign of the PDP in the last election and is even more proud of the performance of the party and their candidate in the election.
He commended all members of the PDP in the state for their cooperation, especially former Governor Peter Obi, the Chair of the State Campaign Council, Senator Uche Ekwunife, and all who worked tirelessly in the campaigns.
Ikpeazu was particularly grateful to the Deputy Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for his wholehearted support as well as other PDP Governors.
The Abia governor also thanked INEC and the various security agencies for the great work they did and charged them to build on the Anambra election and seek ways of consistently improving the quality of our elections across the country.
Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has described the election as one that presents hope and a new beginning for the South-Eastern state.
Addressing the people of Anambra on Wednesday in his country home of Aguleri, Governor Obiano said the governorship election has enabled, once again, the continuation of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) government for the next four years with Professor Soludo as the governor-elect.
He commended the people for taking a decision to be on the side of progress.
“The outcome of this gubernatorial election presents hope and a new beginning for our dear state,” Governor Obiano said.
“For the second time in the last four years, Ndi Anambra boldly chose to stand on the side of positive history. People who thought 21 over 21 was a fluke have seen history repeat itself in a most memorable way.
“19 over 21 is a massive repeat of history, the difference is just two. Against intimidating odds, we stood tall and reclaimed the dignity of our people.”
Professor Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance had on Wednesday swept to victory in the Anambra governorship elections, winning 19 of the 21 local government areas of the state.
He secured 112,229 votes, twice more than his closest rival – Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be returned as winner of the election.
Governor Obiano dedicated the victory to the people of Anambra State, especially the people of Ebenebe who ‘rejected the sale of their conscience’ and “stuck to what they believed in”.
He equally expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and to the security agencies for maximum support towards the conduct of what he described as free, fair, and credible polls.
He, however, noted that the victory of the election is not a ‘winner takes all’ situation, but the party’s principle of being their brothers’ and sisters’ keeper will apply as arms are wide open to receive and welcome those who are willing.
Governor Samuel Ortom, on behalf of the government and people of Benue State, has congratulated Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on his victory at the November 6, 2021, Anambra State governorship election.
Ortom’s felicitation was contained in a statement on Wednesday by Benue’s Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.
He described Prof. Soludo’s victory as a true reflection of the wishes of the people of Anambra and not the machinations of some individuals or groups outside the state.
Governor Ortom commended the dogged determination of the Anambra people – from the beginning of the campaign till the declaration of results – to overcome “intimidation, coercive threats of force and uphold their wishes and express their franchise by freely electing their choice”.
He also commended security agencies deployed in the state for maintaining law and order, before, during, and after the conduct of the polls with no known cases of violence.
The governor equally congratulated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and said they also deserve commendation for the credible conduct of the polls “without yielding to external pressure to frustrate the will of the people of Anambra State”.
He said the outcome of the election in Anambra is a pointer that democracy will flourish when all agencies and participants play according to the dictates of the process guiding the democratic principles.
Governor Ortom prayed that God will guide the Anambra State governor-elect to enable him to serve the people faithfully and to actualize his vision for the State.
According to Okoye, the move followed the suspension of collation of results in respect of governorship election as announced yesterday by the State Collation/Returning Officer and the decision of the Commission to hold an election in Ihiala Local Government Area on Tuesday.
“This decision, which will be strictly complied with, has been taken following a careful review of the prevailing situation in Anambra state and is being widely shared with the stakeholders including security agencies,” the statement read.
“We urge political parties, voters, election duty officials, election observers, the media and the general public to note this slight modification. We also appeal to citizens to conduct themselves in an orderly manner to ensure that the election is brought to a peaceful conclusion.”
Over 1,000 police officials will be deployed for the supplementary election in Anambra State scheduled to hold in Ihiala Local Government Area on Tuesday, the State Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, has said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had suspended the collation of results for the Anambra State governorship election after elections did not hold in Ihiala on Saturday.
Speaking on the police’s preparedness for Tuesday’s election on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Echeng said all hands are on deck.
“We are deploying more than a thousand to the polling booths. This makes an average of 3, 4, they are going to be complemented by other security agencies,” the commissioner said.
“All the tactical teams, Police Mobile Force (PMF) teams, we have pushed enough into Ihiala because we want to make sure that at every point that we anticipate a problem, we dominate the area. For whoever wants to come out tomorrow will have his own story to tell.”
As part of measures to avoid glitches in the election, the police boss said the Force would impose curfew across Ihiala Local Government Area to avoid mayhem.
According to him, the restriction of movement would commence by 11:55 pm on Monday and end at 11:55 pm on Tuesday.
He stated, “The firm standard applies to Ihiala, we are going to shut down from 11:55 pm today and open up at 11:55 pm tomorrow.
“There were reasons why that shut down had to be. It had to take care of entry and exit points, people not being allowed to come in and cause any problem. So we are going to do what exactly we did with the whole state, this time around restricted to Ihiala alone.”
The police commissioner also reacted to the claim by INEC that inadequate security prevented electoral officials from conducting polls in Ihiala.
While insisting that there was enough presence of security officials in the local council, Echeng noted that additional operatives have already been deployed to the affected local government.
When asked what makes Ihiala so much of a hotbed that is scary to people, he didn’t directly reply question.
“INEC should answer that question, not the police. I still say emphatically that we are on the ground with other security agencies and as far as we are concerned, elections were supposed to be (held) there. So if INEC said there was a threat, they should answer that question,” he said.
The highly anticipated gubernatorial election in Anambra State was held on Saturday, as scheduled. However, the electoral process has not ended and a governor-elect has not been announced.
For those who might be wondering what went down over the weekend and why a winner has not emerged yet, here are eight key things we are certain of so far and what next to expect as regards the exercise in Anambra:
1. The election was generally peaceful
According to election observers, while the polls were conducted peacefully, there were pockets of trouble. On a general scale, however, the process went smoothly
2. Voter Turnout Was Good
The election on Saturday saw a good turnout of voters as citizens came out to exercise their franchise, contrary to the initial fears that trailed the electioneering process.
Though election monitors say there were no large crowds of voters, they agreed that it was a relief to see citizens come out eventually to exercise their rights.
Also, the media did a fantastic job of following the process without fear, even though prior to the polls, the atmosphere was tense
3. Adequate security presence
With the massive deployment of men and officers – police officers, army personnel, and other security agents – the presence of security officials were noticeable at most of the polling units. Monitoring teams reported that the operatives were relatively civil in their conduct within and outside polling units.
However, some of the security personnel stated that they had not received their allowances for election duty which was contrary to the pronouncement by police authorities, suggesting that security agents on election duty had been remunerated.
While the election was adjudged peaceful, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) agreed that there was widespread vote buying in various polling units across the state.
The Situation Room in its report on Sunday gave some specific instances of vote buying to include the sale of votes for amounts ranging from N1,000 and N6,000 at various locations.
The organization, however, noted that this was being carried out very discreetly in some polling units while in others, the vote buying was done in full glare without interference from the security personnel.
5. Resistance, disruptions, and malfunctions
The entire electoral exercise had its flaws. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said there was resistance and disruptions to the process.
The commission also admitted that some of its accreditation devices had malfunctioned while others were not successfully deployed to certain areas within the state.
Earlier, the Situation Room had reported that INEC ad-hoc staff and election materials arrived late in 67% of the polling units (PU). The group further disclosed that polls commenced between 10:00 am and 12:30 pm in 53.5% of the voting locations they observed. This, they say, was due to the late arrival of officials and materials.
Also, although the Bimodal Verification Accreditation System (BVAS) had been used in the Isoko South constituency 1 bye-elections, the Anambra guber election was the first major exercise where INEC deployed the BVAS.
Reports from observers indicated widespread malfunction of this technology as it failed to authenticate voters’ fingerprints and detect faces. According to the Situation Room, this was the case in 59% of the polling units observed with a minimum of five minutes to accredit one voter in 65.8% of the polling units they monitored.
Furthermore, some of the ad-hoc staff experienced difficulties in operating the machines. In some locations, they were slow and took as long as 10 minutes or more to accredit a single voter. This, the monitoring agency says, severely stalled the accreditation and voting process.
6. INEC Ad-hoc staff absconded with result sheets
An INEC ad-hoc staff reportedly absconded with 41 result sheets in Oba 2, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The Collation Officer for the council, Gabriel Odoh, while presenting the LG’s result on Sunday, stated that the ad-hoc staff carted away 41 result sheets out of the 42, leading to no elections in the area.
Although Mr Odoh did not give the name of the ad-hoc staff, he disclosed that the staff member was the Supervising Polling officer. He also explained that violence and ballot box snatching were recorded in Oba 1.
7. Soludo wins 18 of 20 LGAs declared
There are 21 local governments in Anambra State and as of Sunday, 7th November, INEC had collated and declared results for 20 of the councils whose outcome had been accurately determined.
Following the collation of results, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo, won 18 of the 20 LGAs.
Similarly, candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Valentine Ozigbo, and Young Progressives Party (YPP), Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, won a local government each
But the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Andy Uba, was unable to win any local government in the election.
The collation was, however, suspended due to an outstanding result for Ihiala Local Government Area, where for various reasons, INEC could not deploy materials.
With this pending, a winner cannot be declared until a supplementary election is conducted for Ihiala LGA.
8. Ihiala supplementary election holds on Tuesday
Having established that a supplementary poll would be required for Ihiala, INEC has slated Tuesday, November 9 for the exercise.
The Returning Officer for Saturday’s polls, Professor Florence Obi, while disclosing this, noted that the commission failed to hold an election in Ihiala due to security challenges.
She explained that this made it impossible for the electoral body to deploy materials and personnel in the LGA.
Clause 47 of the Revised Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections provides that supplementary elections shall be conducted where the commission, due to logistic challenges, is unable to deploy on election day.
Upon this premise, Professor Obi emphasized that it was imperative to bring Ihiala at par with the other 20 local government areas in the election before INEC can make a valid declaration of the winner or take any further action based on the extant laws.
Authorities have urged the Anambra people to remain calm and law-abiding as the election runs its full course.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation officer for the Anambra governorship election in Ihiala Local Government Area of the state on Sunday said elections did not hold in the LGA.
Ahmadu Umar said this while making a presentation after the result for Aguata LGA was declared.
He, however, didn’t state why there was no election in Ihiala LGA.
He gave the number of registered voters in the LGA as 148,407, insisting that the poll did not take place in Ihiala.