The Anambra State Governorship Election gets interesting today as supplementary election holds in the Ihiala Local Government Area of the South-East state to determine the next governor of the state.
Anambra has 21 local government areas and elections were held in 20 LGAs over the weekend.
INEC Chief Returning Officer for the election, Prof Florence Obi, had said the Commission was not able to deploy electoral officers to Ihiala due to the volatile security situation in the area.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar had subsequently declared the governorship poll inconclusive and said that a supplementary election would hold in 362 polling units in Ihiala LGA today, November 9.
Out of the 20 local governments declared, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Charles Soludo, was declared winner in 18; the candidate of the Young Progressive Party, Ifeanyi Ubah, won in one; while the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Valentine Ozigbo, took the other one. The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Andy Uba, had yet to win any LGA.
According to the Director, Voter Education and Publicity, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Victor Aluko, there are 148,407 voters in Ihiala.
Aluko, who spoke on a television programme on Monday, said though the APGA candidate, Soludo, won 18 of the 20 LGAs where election were held, he cannot be declared winner yet because the total votes in Ihiala were more than the margin of votes by the ex-Central Bank of Nigeria governor.
“Currently, the margin of lead is 52,624 votes between the candidate of APGA and the PDP. The candidate of APGA scored 103,146 votes while the candidate of PDP scored 51,322 votes. The margin of lead is 52,624. The total votes in Ihiala is 148,407. Mathematically, the margin of lead is lower than the outstanding votes in Ihiala. So, to be fair, we need to conclude that election Ihiala before we can move forward,” he said.
An APGA chieftain, Uche Nworah, in a chat with our correspondent on Tuesday, however, expressed confidence that Soludo would emerge winner, adding that though there are 148,407 in Ihiala, only about 40,000 voters have voters’ cards.
Nworah also said going by the voting pattern in the 20 local governments, victory was sure for his party.
Efforts to get the comments of an aide to the PDP candidate, Aziza Uko, proved abortive.
Election materials arrive in Ihiala
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee), Festus Okoye, in a statement on Monday, said voting would commence in Ihiala from 10am and end by 4pm today.
However, our correspondent gathered that voting had yet to commence in Ihiala as of 12pm when this report was filed on Tuesday, even as election materials have begun to arrive in the area.
According to INEC, over 2.5 million registered voters were eligible to participate in the governorship election in Anambra with a population of about five million people but fears of the worsening security situation in the South-East state and threats by the proscribed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, over the detention of its embattled leader, Nnamdi Kanu, have been said to be responsible for the low voters’ turn out during the November 6 governorship election.