By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA—THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, winner of Saturday, Anambra Central Senatorial re-run.
Umeh, a former national chairman of APGA, beat 13 other candidates, whose party logos appeared on the ballot paper.
Although, voters turnout was very low, the conduct of the election was generally peaceful, with security operatives virtually having nothing to worry about.
With the outcome of the election, Umeh has become the first APGA senator from Anambra State since 1999.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress, APC, whose party logo was also on the ballot paper, had before the commencement of the polls issued a statement that he was not participating in the election.
According to him: “For the information of the General Public and voters as well as my numerous supporters in Anambra Central Senatorial District, I’m not participating in the said election which can be described as a charade. I have since by a letter dated 11th January 2016 withdrawn from this re-run Election when it was earlier scheduled for March 2016 in accordance with the provisions of sections 33 & 35 of the Electoral Act 2010 for personal & Family reasons.”
However, INEC returning officer for the re-run, Professor Charles Esimone said Umeh polled 64, 878 votes or 95.6 per cent of the votes cast to defeat others.
Esimone, who is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka said the total number of registered voters in the seven local government areasthat made up the zone was 745, 828 out of which only 67, 872 (9.1 per cent) were accredited.
The result showed that APC came second with 975 votes, while Progressive Peoples’ Alliance, PPA, came third with 116 votes.
Other parties that got votes were the Mega Progressive Peoples Party, MPPP, 111 votes; Labour Party, LP, 95; National Conscience Party, NCP, 72; Alliance for Democratic Congress, ADC, 57; United Progressives Party, UPP, 55; Green Party of Nigeria, GPN, 48 and Action Congress for Democrats, ACD, 33.
The court had earlier barred the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, whose candidate; Mrs. Uche Ekwunife was declared winner in March 2015, from fielding a candidate in the re-run.
The re-run was conducted in seven local government areas, which are Njikoka, Awka North, Idemili South, Dunukofia, Awka South, Anaocha and Idemili North. The APGA candidate won in all the seven areas.
Votes were cancelled in four polling units in Awka South local government area where there were alleged cases of over-voting. There was also cancellation in Agulu, Anaocha local government area where people were accredited manually, as well as in Idemili South where over-voting was recorded in two polling units.