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Ihiala as the last straw

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THE build up to the November 6, 2021 Anambra Gubernatorial election generated many talking points in the polity as never before in the history of the state. The question of who takes over the mantle of leadership from incumbent Governor Willie Obiano dominated public discourse. 

  The gladiators of contenders showcased personalities of intellectuals, erudite scholars, seasoned politicians, and business moguls’ men of proven worth in their various fields all with the vision of transforming Anambra State into a picturesque 21st century state. One of the contenders promised to turn Anambra into African Dubai.

  The incumbent Gov. Obiano’s administrative achievements are well acknowledged by the people but thirst for a candidate that will take the state to another level. A prayer that Gov. Obiano has often voiced in major fora to ndi Anambra as a bequeathing legacy to the state.

  The election with the tag ‘Anambra Decides’ has a total of 18 political parties jostling for the coveted seat. The election had seven leading contenders, Ifeanyi Ubah – Young Progressive Party (YPP), Valentine Ozigbo – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Godwin Maduka – Accord Party, Akachukwu Nwankpo – African Democratic Congress, Andy Uba – All Progressives Congress, All Progressive Grand Alliance – Chukwuma Soludo, Obiora  Dikeora – Zenith Labour Party.

  As against the apprehension of the election holding in the state given the security concerns compounded by the threats by secessionist groups such as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the general politics of the state. Anambra ‘Light of the Nation’ as the state is called had one of the most peaceful, free and fair elections ever recorded in the history of the nation. 

  After collating results for 20 out of 21 local government areas, the provincial result of the election indicated the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chukwuma Soludo, in command lead of 17 local governments of the 21 LGAs.

  The  result for Ihiala Local Government Area wasn’t announced, because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could not deploy electoral materials to the LGA.

  The electoral umpire based on constitutional considerations, provisions of the Electoral Act and the Revised Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections announced a supplementary election for Ihiala Local Government Area before the final result could be announced.

  According to INEC, ”First, Section 179 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides that to be declared the winner of the Governorship election, a candidate must secure both the highest number of votes cast and 25 per cent of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of the local government areas of the state. Therefore, it is important to complete the election in Ihiala Local Government Area in order to make that determination.”

  ”Similarly, Section 179 (3) of the Constitution provides that a run-off election shall take place if no candidate meets the requirements of Sub-section 2 of that Section. Such a run-off 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 local government areas in the state. This further underscores the importance of conducting election in all the local government areas before a declaration can be made.”

  ”Secondly, Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) envisages the postponement of an election where there is a cogent and verifiable reason to do so, especially threat of breach of the peace. One major reason for not deploying for election in Ihiala on Saturday, 6th November 2021, is security threat which led to staffing and transportation constraints, among others.

  The battle for the soul of Anambra shifted to Ihiala. The Anambra Decides 2021 to produce the next governor of the state soon embroiled in dramatic turn as ‘Ihiala Decides.’ The three leading contenders, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) of Chukwuma Soludo, Valentine Ozigbo of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) threw their arsenal to the battlefield believing they would capture Ihiala.

  Eventually when the 9th November supplementary results were announced, the outcome captured the anticipation of most ndi Anambra that APGA will emerge victorious erasing any hope of other political party hopes.

  Truly, it was a battle for the best material to govern the state affairs. The bone of contention was not based on monetary standards, rather ndi Anambra taking the decisions to choose their leader in an objective manner.

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