The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it will go to court to challenge the conduct of last weekend’s supplementary election that gave the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Chief Willie Obiano, victory in the Anambra governorship election.
But this did not stop Obiano, who was congratulated by President Goodluck Jonathan, from celebrating his victory yesterday, describing it as the expressed will of the Anambra people.
With the result of last Saturday's supplementary election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Obiano winner of the governorship contest having polled a total of 180,178 votes to PDP's Tony Nwoye who came second with 97,200 votes. APC's Senator Chris Ngige came third with 95,963 votes, while Labour Party’s (LP's) Ifeanyi Uba polled 37,495 votes.
However, in it’s reaction to the final results, APC's interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, told THISDAY in a telephone interview that the party would go to court to cancel the supplementary election, describing it as an illegality.
“This election is an illegality. Under the Electoral Act as amended, there is no provision for a supplementary election and we are going to challenge it in court,” he said.
APC had while rejecting the outcome of the first ballot in the governorship poll raised several allegations of electoral malpractices, disenfranchisement and bias against INEC and demanded the outright cancellation of the Anambra election.
The opposition party had claimed in a petition it submitted to INEC that the November 16 poll was marred by serious irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
It had also demanded the suspension and prosecution of all officials of the commission who were indicted for electoral malpractices and for the redeployment and investigation of the Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu.
Also, in his reaction to Obiano’s victory, Ngige assured supporters of the APC in the state that their rights to vote would not be lost.
The Director, Media and Publicity, Chris Ngige Campaign Organisation, Chief Charles Amilo, in a thank-you message told the supporters not to exercise any fear that their right to vote had been lost with the declaration of the APGA candidate the winner of the election.
“With the nightmare surrounding the Abuja-assisted electoral heist in Anambra State gladly over, the coast is now clear for voters in Anambra State to reclaim their legitimate right to choose their governor.
Despite APC’s angst over the Anambra poll, the governor-elect, Obiano, has said his victory at the November 16 and 30 governorship poll is the expressed will of Anambra people finally enthroned.
Obiano, who spoke shortly after being declared winner in the early hours of yesterday, while expressing gratitude to the Anambra people said in voting for him and the deputy governor-elect, Dr. Nkem Okeke, the Anambra electorate had expressed their wishes to continue to sustain the tradition of excellence entrenched in the state over the past eight years by his outgoing predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi.
He also extended the olive branch to all the candidates of other parties who contested with him in the election, adding that he was particularly reaching out to Ngige, Nwoye, Ubah, and the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) candidate, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, to join hands with him in the march to make the state better.
National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, in his reaction, said the wishes of Anambra people had at last come to light and described Obiano’s victory as a reward for the party’s hard work and the beautiful people-oriented programme of the party which Obi executed to the letter by developing all sectors of the state’s economy simultaneously.
He denied the allegation that his party connived with INEC and the presidency to rig the election in its favour, asking rhetorically, “How can we connive with the INEC?”
He said what happened was that APC, particularly, was dislodged in its rigging game plan when the mercenaries the party imported from Osun State to rig the election were caught in Owerri, the Imo State capital, about three days to the election and instead of admitting that it was caught in the act of rigging, it has been shouting for Prof. Attahiru Jega, the INEC chairman to resign.
Obi, while thanking God for making the victory possible, also thanked the president for his commitment to a free and fair election. He said those in APGA had every reason to be grateful to the president because it was the second time he was conducting a free and fair election in which APGA benefitted since 2010.
He also said that Jonathan would remain the presidential candidate of APGA in 2015 and that he was confident that the people of the state would support him wholeheartedly.
Meanwhile, Jonathan yesterday congratulated the new governor-elect for his victory in the Anambra poll.
In a statement issued by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, the presidential aide said: “As Chief Obiano prepares to assume office in March next year, President Jonathan urges him to dedicate himself to building on the laudable achievements of his illustrious predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi.
“The president also urges Chief Obiano to commit himself fully to the further socio-economic development of all parts of Anambra State and the protection of the interests of all citizens of the state irrespective of their party affiliations or political loyalties.
“To promote greater peace, unity and harmony within the state, President Jonathan calls on Chief Obiano to ensure that his incoming administration carries all stakeholders along in its bid to move Anambra forward.”
The statement further assured Obiano of the federal government’s support under Jonathan’s leadership and of its commitment to continue to work with the Anambra State Government and all other state governments to achieve better living conditions for all Nigerians.
Having also noted the complaints about the conduct of the governorship elections in Anambra, the president also called on all aggrieved persons to keep their bids for redress within the bounds of legality, decorum and acceptable political conduct in conformity with the principles of democracy and the rule of law.