By Okechukwu Onuegbu with Agency report
The ruling party candidate won in all the 21 local government areas of the state with a total of about 234,071 votes to beat his closest rival, Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 98,752.
The INEC Returning Officer (RO) and Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Zana Akpagu, while declaring Obiano winner of the poll, noted that he won in the 21 local government areas of the state.
The candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Oseloka Obaze scored 70,293; Osita Chidoka of United Progressive Party (UPP) got 7446 while Godwin Ezeemo of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) polled 2,787.
Though marred by irregularities, malfunctioning of data capturing machine, near disenfranchisement of the Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA) candidate and late arrival of voting materials, the election was consid- ered peaceful, free and fair by inter- national observers.
In a swift reaction, the flagbearer for Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, said that he is not comfortable with the outcome of the just concluded gubernatorial election, insisting that he and his team are still studying the documents on their table and will make a categorical statement after they are done with evidences of irregularities before them.
Speaking to the press at his business park in Umuchu, just as the final result of the election was being released, Ezeemo said, “I will not give any reaction to what is going on at the moment. I have to look at what I have on my table with my team to decide what will happen. This is based on the fact that a lot of things went wrong all over the state.
In his reaction, Chief Osita Chidoka, United Progressive Party (UPP) governorship candidate, accepted defeat even before INEC’s final declaration of the winner.
The former Minister of Aviation, accepted the defeat in a statement entitled “Politics Anambra election: Why I lost polls” in Awka on Sunday.
“I have accepted defeat in the Anambra governorship election even as result is still being an- nounced by the INEC,” he said.
Chidoka said that he lost because he would not play the usual money politics.
“Our campaign attracted the fin- est and brightest of Anambra.
“The bold and the courageous were with us as we exerted our best in running the most robust is- sue-based and technology-driven campaign in the history of our dear state. We attempted to change the course of events and chart a new beginning for our state.
“We believed and we dared; we engaged with all patriotic vigour as we held strongly that the long-awaited time for our people to experience a new opportunity had come and we laboured for it.
“In all, our focus was the people; the forgotten, the poor and the disadvantaged.
“They were the prime impetus for our involvement. We beheld their agony and we strived to redirect and vent that energy through a genuine political process.”
He said the UPP heard the complaints of the people and worked to redirect them from the streets to the ballot box.
Chidoka said the he rejected god-fatherism and money politics and made personal sacrifices with small donations and goodwill of a few good men and women.
He said his campaign remained issues based, adding that he did not attack anybody before, during and after the campaigns.
“But from the ballots, we heard the voice of our people. We heard it loud and clear. On November 18 our people announced strongly their rejection of politicians. They traded their votes because they doubted we would truly represent their inter- est. While our message resonated with the people they doubted that the political class cared about them. They voted for the highest bidder,” he stated.
Chidoka said that as at Thursday, a large percentage of his supporters insisted that they would not vote unless he brought money.
According to him, “I insisted we will not pay for votes. The decision not to pay ended our good run. We accept the voters’ decision. We also heard our people by their turnout and transactional approach.
“In all, we hold our heads high; high because we did not lose the poll due to paucity of ideas or lack of “structure”. We lost to superior financial firepower. As democrats, we concede to the voters’ choices.
“The true hallmark of democracy is the respect for the voice of the bal- lot as that of the majority,” Chidoka said.
In a related development, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Chief Osita Okechukwu, said the outcome of the Anambra election was fallout of the APC’s commitment to free and fair elections in Nigeria.
Okechukwu, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said: “Gov. Willie Obiano benefited handsomely from President Muhammadu Buhari’s commit- ment to free, fair and transparent elections. This is a case of a democracy convert, who behaved better than old democrats.”
Chief Tony Nnacheta, Anambra commissioner for information and strategic plan- ning, in his reaction, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for good performance in the Nov.18 Anambra governorship election.
The commissioner, who said INEC had shown that it was capable of advancing the country’s electoral process to enviable level, urged the commission to keep the feat and enhance the tempo in subsequent elections.
According to him, the electoral body has also reassured the electorate in the state that it is unbiased and ready to give level playing ground to contestants in an election in line with the principle of democracy.
“We are happy because our votes are now counting, the era of manipulation of peoples’ votes has gone, we are grateful to God,” he said.