By Lateef Adegbite And Elizabeth Chukwuma
At long last, Florence Banku Obi, a Professor and Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, and who incidentally was the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, appointed Returning Officer, in the Anambra state governorship elections on Saturday, November 6, 2021, has finally declared Charles Chukwuma Soludo, a professor, and a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and as the governor- elect of Anambra state after four days of completion of the election. Soludo is the Candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, a party, founded by Late Odimegwu Ojukwu, a warlord.
Although, the election was a mere formality to avoid giving room, to the failed Politicians, in the state who might want to take advantage of the no election in the Ihiala Local government Area to challenge Soludo,the APGA, Candidate who had won the election at the first instance in Court.
Out of the 20 Local government Areas elections results that were initially announced on Sunday by Obi, the INEC, appointed Returning Officer, before suspending the exercise, Soludo, the APGA Candidate, had won in 18 LGAs with a total votes of 103,946 votes which should have encouraged the Returning Officer to declare him as the Anambra statae-governor-elect but she failed to do so blaming it on the violence on the violence on the IHIALA LGA election.
Giving the violence that had disrupted at the Ihiala LGA, on Saturday, 6, 2021, which the security operatives were unable to put under effective control, may have informed why Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, had deployed over 1,000 heavily armed officers to the LGA on Tuesday, Novemeber 9, 2021, to ensure security in the conduct of the supplementary election in the 126 polling booths in the LGA to avoid a repeat of the Saturday incident.
That much was confirmed by Echeng Echeng, the state Commissioner of Police. The CP, who had said that the more than 1000, police officers, will be deployed to the 126, polling booths in the LGA, to forestall trouble. A security source informed The Value News that an average of three to four armed policemen were deployed to each of the pooling booths in the LGA. They were said to have been complemented by other security agencies personnel, particular, the Army.
The tight security mounted in the Local government Area may have sent a sent a signal to the political jobbers and their Independent People of Biafra, IPOB and the Eastern Security Network, ESN, Collaborators that the security operatives were fully prepared for them this time around as ‘’all the Tactical Teams and Police Mobile Force, PMF, Teams, PMF, were deployed to the LGA.
‘’We want to make sure that at every point we anticipate a problem, we dominate the area’’, the CP had said. The Police Authorities may have been proactive in their action as they were said to have also imposed a curfew across the Ihiala LGA, to forestall any attack on voters by hoodlums. There was equally restrictions of movement in the LGA, which was said to have been implemented between 11.55Pm, on Monday, November 8, 2021 to 11.55Pm, on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.
Aware that it was only in one LGA that , the supplementary election will hold in the state may have informed why the Electoral umpire had made some slight adjustment to the Commencement and closing time of the election in line with extant rules and regulations for such elections. The Ihiala LGA, governorship election, was said to have started around 10 Mam and closed 4 Pm. Those who had expected to take the Ihiala supplementary elections to cause trouble in the state in order to declare it as inconclusive were disappointed because of the tight security as the election was conducted without any trouble. Soludo, the APGA , Candidate, had scored 8,283 votes to Senator Uba, the APC , Candidate votes of 343 while Ezigbo of the PDP, secured 2,483 votes.
With the successful conduct of the Ihiala LGA, election, Prof. Obi, the Anambra state , governorship Returning Officer, have no option but to declare Soludo, the APGA Candidate as the winner.
In announcing the winner, of the Anambra state governorship election, she had said that Charles Chukwuma Soludo, of APGA, had’ ‘satisfied the requirements of the Law ’’. Going by the final Collation of results after the Ihiala LGA Supplementary elections, Soludo, 61, and the former CBN, governor had secured 112,229 votes, which political analysts had said was twice more than the votes of his closest rival PDP’s Ezigbo, who scored 53,807.
The Ihiala supplementary elections had exposed Senator Uba, the APC, Candidate, in the just concluded Anambra state governorship election as a political feather weight in Anambra state. This is because, the votes secured at the election did not make any much difference to the votes that was secured when the 20 LGA results were announced on Sunday, November 7, 2021. Senator Uba, according to Prof. Obi, the Returning Officer had, secured 43,285 votes while the YPP Candidate, Ubah, scored a total votes of 21,261.
The Anambra governorship election, according political Observers, has clearly shown that APG, is in total control of the politics of the state , with the other rival parties, particular, the PDP and APC, still struggling to find their bearing, notwithstanding the powers behind these frontline parties in the state. Take for instance, Peter Obi, a former APGA, governor of the state, who had decamped to the PDP, to contest the 2019 election as the running mate of AtikuAbubakar, a former Vice President, and the party Presidential Candidate, had worked effortlessly to sway the people’s votes in favour of Ezigbo, the party’s governorship but that was how far he could go.
Chris Ngige, a one- time governor of the state and minister of Labour and Employment, on his part, was said to have used his political clout at the Federal Level, to turn the heart of the people against the ruling APGA,in the state to reject Soludo, the party Candidate, in the Saturday, November 6, 2021, governorship in state and vote for Senator Uba, the APC governorship Candidate, in order to maintain his position as a Kingmaker in the state but got it wrong.
In his acceptance speech as the governor –elect of the south east state on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, shortly after he was declared the winner of the keenly contested governorship election, an elated Soludo, described the feat as the will of God. ‘’Let me say that with utmost humility and gratitude to God, I accept the result of the 2021 Anambra state governorship election, as declared by INEC’’, he had remarked. The erudite scholar and Administrator, who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’the election reflected the supreme will of the Almighty God and overwhelming sacred mandate of the people’’.
He had said that his victory in the election was a ‘’result of his perseverance in the last 12 years’’. He may have singled out Willie Obiano, the state governor and the Leadership of the party, as well as the people of the state for their ‘’support all through the events that led to his victory in the pool’’.
In the spirit of sportsmanship, he was said to have extended a hand of fellowship to Ezigbo of the PDP, Senator Uba of the APC, Ubah, the YPP Candidate and the other co-contestants in the election to join hands with him ‘’to move the state forward’’. Many had expected that such a gesture coming from the governor-elect, the trio of Ezigbo, Senator Uba and The YPP Candidate, Ubah, ought to have accepted defeat in the polls and congratulate Soludo, the APGA Candidate for his victory. But they have kept Nigerians waiting despite signing a peace accord initiated by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired army General and former Head of State to accept the results. ‘’Bad losers’’, a political analyst, remarked.