The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented certificates of return to the Anambra State Governor-elect, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, and his deputy, Dr Onyeka Ibezim.
Soludo, a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, polled a total of 112,229 votes to defeat his closest rival, Chief Valentine Ozigbo, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who gathered a total of 53,807 votes.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) got 43,285 votes to come third while the Young Progressive Party (YPP) polled a total of 21,261 votes to come fourth in the keenly contested governorship election.
National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, represented by the Supervising National Commissioner for Anambra, Festus Okoye, presented the certificates to them at the headquarters of the commission in Awka, the state capital.
Soludo, in his speech, promised not to let Ndi Anambra down. He said that the massive support the people gave him on November 6 was well appreciated and would not, for any reason, be taken for granted.
“Initially, there were tensed moments but this election happened in a unique way and we dedicate this victory to God and the people of Anambra who believed and gave us their mandate.
“We will never take for granted the resilience, commitments and actions of the various federal institutions that worked so hard to see us to this day.
“I won’t fail to mention the Presidency, security agencies and INEC for insisting on a level playing field as well as the judiciary for standing on the path of integrity.
“I believe that a sound and credible electoral system is foundational to having an accountable, responsive and developmental state.
“So, I believe that INEC is getting better by the day. I also believe that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) deployed, if refined, will give us that desired Eldorado in our electoral system”, Soludo said.
Okoye, in his speech, commended the members of staff of INEC and its ad-hoc workers for their doggedness, resilience and courage during the election; saying that they defied all the odds and grave dangers to personal life and safety to traverse the entire terrain of the state to conduct the poll.
“The Commission will audit the conduct of this election as it is the tradition after every major election in order to reflect on things that worked well and those that failed to work as desired; and use the lessons learned in the preparation for the next set of elections.
“It is in this regard and the benefits offered by the Electoral Cycle Approach adopted by the Commission that we now believe that the present trends of conducting elections imbued with integrity has become irreversible.
“With specific reference to genuine concerns expressed by citizens on the performance of the BVAS in the November 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election, the Commission wishes to state categorically that it stands to benefit from such criticisms and promises that these challenges will be addressed as was evident in the improved functionality of the BVAS in the supplementary election in Ihiala Local Government Area.
“We are confident in our judgment that the BVAS will remain a fundamental feature of our accreditation process as it will consign into the dustbin of history worrisome incidents of multiple voting and identity theft that in the past denied the country’s electoral process the desired public trust and confidence. On this note, the Commission will continue to improve on and perfect the technology for subsequent and future elections”, he said.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Anambra, Dr Nwachukwu Orji, in his remarks, said that he was happy that the commission delivered an election adjudged credible by many people.
Represented by the Administrative Secretary of the Commission, Mr Chima Duruaku, the REC said that he was impressed and very much satisfied with the way the electorate conducted themselves before, during and even after the poll.
“The calming of the storm that was raging very hard was divine and on human level, the commission was resolute to put in a lot of sacrifice, efforts and innovation to deliver.
“The support of the security agencies, the National Youth Service Corps ( NYDC) and the military contributed to the success that we celebrate today.
“We also commended the peaceful conduct of political parties inspite of the doomsday prediction and the singular resolve by the Anambra people that the election must be done”, he said.