The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially pronounced Governor Hope Uzodinma of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the Imo State governorship election held Saturday.
Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti who is the Returning Officer, Prof Abayomi Fashina, rebuffed all protestations of irregularities by opposition parties to declare Uzodimma re-elected just minutes after 10 am Sunday morning.
The declaration followed more than eight hours of collating local government results.
Some witnesses say results announced at the state collation center were at variance with those uploaded on the Result Viewing Portal (IRev) of the commission from the Polling Units.
Prof. Fashina proceeded to declare, “Hope Uzodimma of APC, having satisfied the law, is hereby returned elected.”
Uzodinma, 64, cleared all 27 local government areas in the state with 540,308 votes, according to official tallies, crushing Samuel Anyanwu of the PDP with 71,503 votes and Nneji Achonu of the Labour Party (LP) with 64,081 votes.
According to INEC, 2,318,919 persons were eligible to vote, indicating a low voter turnout in the election.
Hope Uzodinma often derogatorily referred to as the “Supreme Court governor”, became a governor after coming a distant fourth position in the 2019 state election but was proclaimed winner by a rather surprising verdict of Nigeria’s apex court in January 2020, thus booting out the popularly elected Gov Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after only 7 months in office.
The circumstances of Uzodinma’s emergence as governor ruffled political feathers in the state and may have led to the considerable tensions in the state and clashes between state security forces and local militia known as “Unknown Gunmen”. The governor blames the insecurity on a bitter opposition.
Imo is one of three states including Kogi and Bayelsa where governorship off-season elections were held on Saturday.
Results from the other states are still being awaited.
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