The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Sunday, declared Gov. Hope Uzodinma of the APC the winner of Imo governorship election.
Declaring the result of the Saturday’s off-cycle election, the State Returning Officer, Prof. Abayomi Fasina, said that Uzodinma polled 540,308 votes to defeat 17 other candidates.
Fasina, who is the Vice Chancellor, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, said that the PDP Governorship Candidate, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu, polled 71,503 votes.
He also said that Sen. Athan Achonu of the Labour Party, came third with 64,081 votes, while Mr Anthony Ejiogu of APGA scored 6,392 votes to occupy the fourth position.
In a reaction, the APC State Collation Officer and Attorney-General of the state, Mr Cyprian Akaolisa, commended INEC and security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the poll.
“It is clear that INEC did their best to ensure a free and fair election, from the distribution of election materials to the conduct of the election, it was peaceful.
“Security agencies did their utmost best to ensure that the process was smooth and we had a credible, free and fair election.
“This victory is victory for Imo people.
“It is a victory for the continuation of the development the governor is providing for the people,” Akaolisa said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Also, the State Collation Officer for the Young Progressives Party, Mr Kingsley Nwahiri, expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the poll.
“The result of the governorship election that was declared today (Sunday) is a result of the vote buying,” he said.
Nwahiri said that the decision on the next line of action would be taken by the national leadership of the party.
Earlier, Anyanwu called for the cancellation of the election over alleged ballot box-snatching and violence.
He further claimed that security agencies assisted officials of INEC to ensure victory for the APC governor.
However, INEC’s Head of Voter Education, Mrs Emmanuella Opara, dismissed the allegation as unfounded.
Opara said in an interviiew that the commission had yet to receive any official reports on vote buying, ballot-box snatching or any other malpractice.
Labour Party rejects results
The Governorship Candidate of the LP in Imo, Sen. Athan Achonu, has however rejected the result of Saturday’s election, saying he will seek redress in Court.
Achonu said this on Sunday, while addressing newsmen in his Umulomo country home in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of the state.
He alleged that the election was “marred by irregularities, including vote buying and physical assaults of LP agents, and thus deserving of outright cancellation”.
He further alleged that voting in many locations was done without BVAS accreditation, contrary to the assurances by INEC before the election.
Achonu also alleged compromise on the part of security personnel, adding that “recorded evidences abound, such as that of a police officer who was beaten by voters for attempting to snatch a ballot box”.
He commended LP supporters for their steadfastness in the face of provocation and assured them that they would get justice through the courts.
“Our democracy was raped in the full glare of security personnel, whose salaries we pay from our commonwealth.
“Collation was suddenly moved from the ward to LG centres, and only APC agents were allowed to enter, while agents of other parties were locked out.
“And to you my supporters, thank you for your doggedness and steadfastness, you fought hard and I am proud of you all.
“I have not lost hope in the judiciary, there are so many men of integrity therein, and we shall reclaim our mandate,” Achonu said.
He condemned the assault and detention of the LP Chairman in Imo, Mr Callistus Ihejiagwa, at the state collation centre, and called for the immediate arrest of those who manhandled him.
“My party chairman was beaten up at the collation centre, as it is evident in a widely circulated video.
“And instead of arresting those who beat him, the police arrested and detained him.
“Let’s save the drift into anarchy, let’s save our country and her democracy.
“There was no election yesterday and we call on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to cancel the purported results,“ Achonu said.