INEC declares Anambra governorship election inconclusive

A supplementary election has been slated for November 9.

Returning Officer for Anambra Governorship election Florence Obi (TheCable)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the collation and announcement of results for the Anambra governorship election, while declaring the vote "inconclusive."

The results from 20, out of 21 local governments, have been announced, with Ihiala the outstanding local government.

The electoral umpire says election did not hold in Ihiala due to logistic challenges and insecurity.

Of the 20 out of 21 LGAs announced on Sunday, November 7, Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) secured 103,946 votes, followed by Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 51,322 votes.

Andy Ubah of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has gained 42,942 votes.

Soludo won in 18 of the 20 LGAs declared so far.

The margin between Soludo and Ozigbo currently stands at 52,624.

According to the collation officer for Ihiala, there are 148,407 registered voters in the LGA.

Returning Officer for the election, Florence Obi, cited relevant constitutional sections, before declaring the election inconclusive.

A supplementary election will hold in Ihiala on Tuesday, November 9.

Ahmadu Umar, who is the collation officer for Ihiala LGA, had submitted that there was no election in the entire LGA.

Returning Officer Obi says: “The outstanding result is for Ihiala LGA, where for various reasons, the commission could not deploy materials yesterday. Consequently, based on constitutional considerations and provisions of the Electoral Act, as well as revised regulations and guidelines for the conduct of election issued by the commission, supplementary election is indicated for Ihiala local government area.

“First, section 179(2) of the constitution provides for a candidate to secure both the highest number of votes cast and 25 percent of the votes cast in at least two-third of the LGAs in the state to be declared the winner of the governorship election.

"Therefore, it is important to complete the election in Ihiala LGA to make this determination.

“Also, section 179(3) of the constitution provides that a runoff election shall take place if no candidate meets the requirement of subsection 2 of the section.

"Such a runoff shall be between the candidate with the highest number of votes and one among the remaining candidates who secured a majority of votes in the highest number of LGAs in the state. This further underscores the importance of conducting election in Ihiala LGA so that we shall cover all the LGAs to make the declaration.

“Secondly, section 26 of the Electoral Act envisages the postponement of an election where there is a cogent and verifiable reason to do so, especially threat of breach of the team. One major reason for not deploying for election in Ihiala on Saturday, 6th November, is due to security threats which led to staffing and transportation constraints, among others.

“Finally, clause 47 of the revised regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections provides that supplementary election shall be conducted when the commission, due to logistical challenges, is unable to deploy on election day.

“Given the foregoing, it becomes imperative to bring Ihiala LGA at par with the other 20 LGAs in this election before we can make a valid declaration or take any further action based on the extant law.

“Therefore, I, professor Florence Banku Obi, in my capacity as returning officer for this election, hereby announce the suspension of the process of collation of results and declaration of a winner until a supplementary election is held in the 326 polling units in Ihiala LGA of the state.”

The election had been relatively peaceful across the state, with instances of vote buying--a recurring theme in Nigeria's elections these days--recorded as well.

There were also pockets of violence in some districts. For instance, the Returning Officer for Orumba North LGA, Dr Michael Otu, said he almost got killed when thugs attacked the Local Government collation centre.

Orumba said he was forced to sign a fake, mutilated result sheet, amid teargas fumes.

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