Sunday, 14 January 2018

Why APGA/Victor Umeh swept 13 parties on Anambra Central Senatorial Rerun

By Okechukwu Onuegbu
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The Former National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh was on Sunday declared winner of Anambra Central Senatorial re-run held last Saturday January 13, 2018 with a total of 64,879 votes.

Umeh defeated 13 other political parties which participated on the poll including Sen. Chris Ngige of All Progressives Congress (APC), who garnered 975 votes even though he earlier withdrew from the race. recalled that the Minister of Labour and Employment distancing himself from the Anambra Central Senatorial rerun, noting that even though he contested the senatorial seat in the 2015 general elections, his supporters should shun “the charade” as he had in 2016 written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that he was no longer interested in the race.

Ngige also threatened to drag INEC to court if the commission should publish his name as a candidate on the ballot paper for the poll as his party (APC) and INEC were in the Court of Appeal Abuja, which had fixed 23rd of January to decide if it was lawful for the commission not to accept another candidate for the party.

Meanwhile, the returning officer for the 2018 senatorial rerun, Prof. Charles Esemone, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, enumerated that other contestants on the race and their scores as Igwilo Michael C. of Progressives People’s Alliance (PPA) – 116, Ekweozo C. Nkem of Mega Progressive’s Peoples Party (MPPP) – 111, Kingsley Chukwuma Nwofor of Labour Party (LP) – 95, Ubakamma J. Ikenna of National Conscience Party (NCP) – 72, Chief Anayo A. Nweke of Alliance for Democratic Congress (ADC) – 57.

Others were Ikechukwu F. Obiekwe of United Progressive’s Party (UPP) – 55, Christopher A. Chukwendu of Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) – 48, Oyeh Mercy Uche of ACCORD (A)– 35, Hon. Oby Kate Okafor of Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD)-33, Okafor Ikechukwu of Independent Democrats (ID)– 14, Chief Denis Oguguo of KOWA Party (KP)-12, and Rev. Charles O. Ekwueme of People for Democratic Change (PDC) – 5 votes.

According to Esemone, Umeh won in all the seven local government areas of Anambra Central namely, Anaocha (12,245), Awka North (7,575), Awka South (12,384), Dunukofia (7,307), Idemili North (9,218), Idemili South (4,647), and Njikoka (11,506) votes.
He noted that a total number of registered voters in the seven council areas was 745,828, while total number of accredited voters for the election was 67872, even as total votes cast stood at 67,710.

He also disclosed that some votes were cancelled in four polling units in Awka South following cases of over voting, and in Agulu, Anaocha council where people were accredited manually, while there were cases of over voting recorded in Idemili South.

On his part, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, commended all stakeholders including the electorate, poll officials, observers and journalists for contributing to the success and peaceful conduct of the election.

Expressing happiness over the outcome of the poll, the winner and candidate of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh vowed not to disappoint his constituents at the red chamber., however, reported that the election witnessed low turnout of eligible voters, and card reader malfunctioning which led to the adoption of manual voting at some polling booths, by the commission and late commencement of voting.

According to Chief Ben Obi, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Inter-party affairs, who was affected by the Card Reader issue, the anomaly forced some of the eligible voters not to exercise their franchise.

It would be recalled that the rerun was conducted following the Appeal Court annulment of March 28, 2015 Anambra Central election, where INEC declared Uche Ekwunife of PDP winner with 101, 548 votes over Umeh of APGA (77, 129 votes).

Umeh took the matter to the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, where he lost out as well but that was after the votes were recounted and the tribunal found out that he (Umeh) actually scored a total of 85, 898 votes while Ekwunife scored 93, 300 votes.

But Umeh’s 85,000 votes in the 2015 election if compared to 64,000 votes on the rerun lost 21,000 votes even though some political analysts see him as an unopposed candidate on the rerun considering the exception of PDP and APC from the race.



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