By Miftaudeen Raji
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has declared Alex Otti, the candidate of the Labour Party winner of the March 18 governorship poll in Abia state.
Otti polled a total of 175, 467 votes to defeat his closest rival, Chief Okey Ahiwe of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party who scored 88,529 votes.
Enyinnaya Nwafor of the Young Peoples Party, YPP, came third with 28,972 votes.
Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO, Professor Nnenna Oti declared Otti the Governor-elect having polled the highest number of votes and satisfied all necessary conditions.
Otti’s eventual victory comes after days of political logjam and anxiety, which saw suspension of collation of results in the state.
Labour Party prior to Otti’s victory
Prior Otti’s emergence as the winner of the poll, Vanguard had reported that Labour Party had yet to secure a single state of Tuesday (22nd March), when INEC had declared official results in 24 out of the 28 states where governorship elections were held.
Going by the results declared as of Tuesday by INEC, the ruling party, APC and the PDP had dominated the wins by clinching 15 and 8 states respectively, while the NNPP won only in Kano state.
But, Abia was one of the state where hopes were still high for the Obidients, as well as Enugu, where collation of results was also suspended.
States won by APC, PDP, NNPP
Results declared by INEC so far, indicated that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC won the governorship polls in 15 states including Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Gombe, Lagos, Kwara, Niger, Yobe, Nasarawa, C’River, Ebonyi, Ogun, Benue, Kaduna and Borno.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP trail the APC with eight state, which include: Plateau, Zamfara, Bauchi, Taraba, Oyo, Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, while the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP won in Kano.
But, surprisingly, Labour Party has yet to secure one state across the 28 states where INEC conducted governorship elections.
Labour Party, PDP now battle for Enugu
The results of the election in Enugu state had witnessed delay due to dispute between the Labour Party and the PDP over the results from some local government areas.
As part of efforts to resolve the issues, INEC suspended further collation of the governorship election results pending a review of the process of the contentious balloting in parts of the two states.
INEC had on Sunday, declared Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo, PDP) Dapo Abiodun (Ogun, APC), Muhammadu Yahaya (Gombe, APC), Babatunde Sanwo-Olu (Lagos, APC), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe, APC) and Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara, APC) the winners of the governorship election.
Also, the PDP candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno and Dr Dikko Radda of the APC in Katsina also emerged as the governors-elect.
The APC candidate in Sokoto State, Ahmed Sokoto, and his counterpart in Jigawa State, Namadi Dammodi, were declared governors-elect.
Otti’s win to boost Labour Party’s spread
The emergence of Otti in Abia has further demonstrated Labour Party’s show of dexterity in the 2023 general elections. Labour Party now has a full control of a state in the South-East, and it can further build on the momentum to build the party and galvanize its spread to more states in other regions of the country.
How AD, AC built on such momentum
Recall that what now becomes the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC today started with the defunct Alliance for Democracy, AD with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu a two-term governor of Lagos between 1999 – 2007.
The party, after years of building on its success in Lagos, metamorphosed into Action Congress, AC and later Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
The Party had strong presence in the South West (5 Governors, 15 Senators and 6 State Houses), Mid-West (1 Governor) and North Central Regions (3 Senators). Lagos, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo, Bauchi, Plateau, Niger, Adamawa, Oyo and Osun states by far accounts for majority of the party’s presence and formidable power base.
In February 2013 the party merged with the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA to form the All Progressives Congress, APC.
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