The incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who is also the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance coasted home with a landslide victory in Saturday’s Anambra governorship election.
Obiano, who won in all the 21 local government areas of the state, floored his arch rivals, Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress (Anambra East) and Oseloka Obaze of the Peoples Democratic Party (Ogbaru) in their hometowns.
The Independent National Electoral Commission through the Returning Officer, Prof. Zanna Akpago, had declared Obiano the winner of the November 18, 2017 governorship election at the commission’s office in Awka on Sunday.
A native of Uga in the Aguata Local Government Area, Obiano polled 234,071 votes to beat Nwoye (APC), who came a distant second with 98,752 votes.
The PDP governorship candidate (Obaze), who lost in Ogbaru, his local government area to Obiano, came third in the November 18 contest with 70,293 votes.
The candidate of the United Progressive Party and former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Osita Chidoka, came fourth with 7,903 votes.
While Obiano polled 6,615 votes in Ogbaru LGA, Obaze garnered 4,416 votes with Nwoye of the APC getting 3,415 votes.
In Aguata, where a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Charles Soludo, hails from, Obiano got 13,167 as against Nwoye’s 5,807 and Obaze’s 4,073, a result that reflected Soludo’s support for the incumbent governor.
Obiano surprisingly won in former governor Peter Obi’s local government area, Anaocha as he (Obiano) garnered 11,237 votes, while the PDP (Obi’s party) with Obaze polled 6,554. APC’s Nwoye got 5,297.
It was, however, in Anambra East, Nwoye’s local government area, that the incumbent governor’s prediction of a landslide victory for himself and his party manifested as he took a large chunk of the votes in the area.
Obiano got 20,510 votes in Anambra East, where a son of the soil, Nwoye, polled 5,248 votes and Obaze got 1,132 votes.
But the candidate of the PDP in the Anambra State governorship election, Obaze, has rejected the result of the poll.
Obaze, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone, described the outcome of the election as pre-determined.
According to him, the results of the local governments did not reflect the voting pattern.
When asked if he was satisfied with the exercise, the PDP candidate said, “No, not quite. This seems to be a pre-determined result because it is not consistent with the voters’ turnout and the pattern.
“It has never happened in Anambra politics that the winner wins 21 local governments. So, we need to look closely at what happened, why the incumbent governor is coming out top consistently.
“That questions whether the other candidates have no stronghold as individuals and their respective parties. There is a certain dubious consistency that, just on the face of it, is an aberration.”
Obaze said that the electoral commission had a case to answer in explaining how it arrived at the decision bordering on over-voting in some areas when accreditation and voting were done simultaneously.
He said, “INEC has to give an account on why there was over-voting, why there was inconsistency between what was uploaded and what was actually voted. If you have a higher number on the chart and there were no issues where people were fully accredited and left, then how did you have higher figures in the card readers than the voting itself?”
He also expressed concern over the delay in the announcement of the local government results.
“Because we did not do consecutive accreditation and voting, it was simultaneous, it should have saved an enormous amount of time. If you do accreditation and then voting later, it consumes more time. But that was not the case.
When one of our correspondents asked if he would challenge the result at the tribunal, Obaze stated, “Well, I am still consulting my people and I am still waiting.”
Meanwhile, Obiano has said that his electoral victory does not belong to him or his party but to the people of the state.
The governor, who made this remark in his acceptance speech, which he personally signed, added that the victory belonged to farmers, commercial motorcycle riders and wheelbarrow pushers and others, who now believed that agriculture remained the future of the country.
He said, “With utmost humility, I stand before you to accept the historic mandate you have bestowed on me today. Umu nnem (my brothers and sisters), the victory we savour today belongs neither to Willie Obiano nor to our great party, APGA. No! This sweet victory belongs to Ndi Anambra.
“It (victory) belongs to the wheelbarrow pushers and the Okada riders who have clearly seen in our recent political experience, a glimmer of light in the horizon. It belongs to the farmers in Ayamelum, Onono, Ogbaru, Omasi, Omor and Ufuma who have now realized that Agriculture is the future of Nigeria.
“It belongs to the teachers and civil servants, who have seen that a motivated workforce is the greatest asset of any government and have rewarded our faith in them with an overwhelming verdict at the poll.
“It belongs to the illustrious sons and daughters of Anambra State, who have seen the star of this great state rise in the eastern skies and have answered our call for Aku luo uno; bringing home their naira and dollars to put our dear state on the investment map!
“This victory belongs to all of us! Umu nnem, this victory is not a winner-takes-it-all; for in the New Anambra of my dream, everyone is a winner.”
The governor called on other candidates in the election, including Obaze and Nwoye to join hands with him and build a better place for Anambra people, adding that the state was bigger than any individual’s ambition.
He stressed, “So, I reach out a hand of brotherhood to my fellow contestants…Oseloka, Tony, Osita, Godwin and others whose names I cannot easily recall here. And I say to you; my brothers, we have all fought a good fight.
“But Anambra State is the winner! The interest of Anambra State is bigger than the private ambitions of anyone of us. Therefore, I pray you to join hands with me and build a better place for Ndi Anambra! Our beloved state needs our talent and our time. The time to build a better place is now!
“Indeed, this victory is a referendum on the solid resolve of Ndi Anambra to rise above average in all we do. We have demonstrated that we are indeed capable of taking charge of our lives and making difficult decisions that will brighten the future of our children. I have no doubt in my mind that we shall continue to lay the building blocks for a prosperous tomorrow for all.
“Ndi Anambra, this mandate is dear to my heart. I see it as a historic call to inspire my people to greatness. I see it as a call to deny myself sleep that my people may sleep better. Umu nnem, I will not give myself rest until our beloved state has fully assumed the status of the model state of Nigeria. This is my promise to you all.”
He, however, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for proving to Ndi Anambra that under his watch, democracy would sink deeper roots in the Nigerian soil.
“Mr. President promised us a free and fair election. Today, we can all see that he has kept his promise. Thank you so much Mr. President!
“I must also thank the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting what has been widely adjudged a transparent election in Anambra State. With this election, INEC has shown that it has fully braced itself for the 2019 elections. Thank you so much.”
A member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Chris Uba, on Sunday, condemned what he called the perennial loss of elections in Anambra State by the PDP.
Speaking at a press conference in Awka, Uba blamed a former governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi, for the PDP’s loss in the poll, calling on the party to avoid impunity and do introspection over its ordeal.
He said the candidate of the PDP in Saturday’s election, Obaze was not known to the founding members of the party in the state, adding that Obi brought him and foisted him on everybody.
Uba said, “It’s because of this impunity that Obiano won this election. My heart is bleeding that we lost this election again. Anambra State is a PDP state, yet each time we will lose to “strangers.”
“How is it that each time, a party somebody is nurturing will be hijacked by strangers some months to the election? Obi has not won any election without my input. Why did he bring a foreigner to represent us in this election? That is the cause of this loss.”
Uba alleged that Obi was one of the people who caused the loss of the party in the 2015 general elections.
“He caused us that problem and (Goodluck) Jonathan lost that election. PDP should stop this impunity. Some of those governors that came here to campaign for the PDP here could not have been governors without my input. Why didn’t they ask after me when they came here to campaign?
He said Obi must apologise to the PDP members in Anambra State for leading them into an inglorious outing at the poll.
Uba added, “Obi doesn’t have the capacity to make Obaze or anybody a governor without my input. Obi has killed this party. This is an election we would have won with a wide margin. Obi carried what he could not control.
“My heart is bleeding. We lost this election by coming distant third. In such a large party, you don’t use it to settle scores. Obi came into the PDP to settle scores with Obiano, his former ally. That was our bane in this election.
“Obi should apologise to the PDP in five national dailies for this disappointment he caused us. Failure to apologise; I know what to do.
“In 2003, I helped the PDP to produce Dr. Chris Ngige as governor; we produced three senators and 11 House of Representatives members in that election. That was the last victory PDP enjoyed in this state,” Uba recalled.
Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has congratulated Obiano on his victory in the election.
In a statement issued on Sunday by Uche Anichukwu, his Special Adviser on Media, Ekweremadu also commended the people of Anambra, INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders for the peaceful conduct of the election.
He said, “But, above all, I believe that the process matters more than the outcome. I commend the good people of Anambra State, INEC, security agencies, media, civil society organisations, election monitors, among numerous others, for making the election peaceful.”
While commending the major political stakeholders in the election for their sportsmanship, the Deputy Senate President however enjoined those who had issues with the outcome of the poll “to toe the path of constitutionalism in seeking redress.”
Ekweremadu called on Obiano to reach out to his political opponents and recruit the best hands to move the state forward, irrespective of their political leanings.
The agent of the APC, Mr. Chukwuma Agufugo, said his party would meet and review the processes of the poll before coming up with a statement.
He said, “My party and the candidate will meet and analyse the things that happened on the field, and we will definitely come up with a position.”
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the APC is waiting to be officially briefed about the just-concluded election before taking a position.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Sunday.
He said, “To react to the outcome of an election is not something that I as a spokesperson can give my opinion on.
“The National Working Committee has to sit, agree and take a position after it has been briefed. The candidate who participated in the election will also take a position; it is not something that I can do on my own.”
However, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Chief Osita Okechukwu, says the outcome of the Anambra election shows APC’s commitment to free and fair elections in Nigeria.
Okechukwu disclosed this on Sunday in Enugu while reacting to the outcome of the Anambra governorship election.
Okechukwu, who is a chieftain of the APC, said, “Governor Willie Obiano benefitted handsomely from President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to free, fair and transparent elections. This is a case of a democracy convert, who behaved better than old democrats.”