Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, has won the Anambra governorship election held on Saturday.
Soludo, who had led other candidates after results of 17 local governments were declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after Saturday’s election, was eventually declared winner of the poll by the electoral body after Tuesday’s election in Ihiala Local Government.
Election in Ihiala could not hold on Saturday, promoting INEC to initially declare the outcome inconclusive. The election was eventually held on Tuesday.
Announcing the results in the early hours of Wednesday, INEC returning officer, Professor Florence Obi, said Prof Soludo polled a total of 112,229 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 53, 807 to emerge second.
Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate got a total of 43,285 votes to emerge the third position.
The returning officer said that Soludo won in 19 out of the 21 Local Government Areas of the State.
She listed the local governments where Mr Soludo won to include; Dunukofia, Awka South, Oyi, Anaocha, Ayamelum, Anambra East, Idemili South and Onitsha South.
The returning officer who is also the vice chancellor of the University of Calabar also stated that the APGA candidate also won in Njikoka, Orumba South, Onitsha North, Idemili North, Ekwusigo, Aguata, and Nnewi South, Orumba North and Ihiala Local Government Areas.
The PDP candidate won in Ogbaru with 3,445 votes, APGA scored second while APC came third in the same council.
Senator Ifeanyi Uba of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) won in his home Local Government, Nnewi North in spite of coming a distant fourth in the overall score card with 21,261 votes.
“Prof. Chukwuma Soludo having scored the highest number of valid votes was declared winner of the election,” Ms Obi declared.
Ms Obi said that total number of valid votes was 241,523, while 8,108 were void.
She had earlier had earlier stated that Anambra with a total number of 2,466,638 registered voters only had a total of 253, 388 accredited voters for the election which began on Nov. 6 and was extended to Nov.9, 2021.
Soludo, 61, who was the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) between 2004 and 2009, has meanwhile dedicated his victory to policemen killed by gunmen during his town hall meeting in Aguata, while thanking Anambra people for the confidence reposed in him.
“Let me say with utmost humility and gratitude to God, I accept the results of the 2021 Anambra Governorship Election as declared by INEC. And this reflects the supreme will of the Almighty God and an overwhelming sacred mandate of the people…This is a divine journey whose time has come,” Soludo said in his acceptance speech.
“The election itself tested the integrity of our federal institutions. Many times there were tensions, especially as one party boasted that it must take or ‘conquer’ but the judiciary stood for the integrity of the judiciary,” he added.
He thanked the incumbent governor of the state, Willie Obiano and the President Muhammadu Buhari, among others, and promised to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state while extending an olive branch to his contenders in the race.
Soludo is expected to be sworn into office next March after the expiration of the two-term tenure of Obiano, who is also of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.
Prof Soludo was born on July 28, 1960 and hails from Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. He succeeds Willie Obiano as the governor of the state.
For the former CBN governor, it’s years of strategic work paying off. Having, as PDP candidate, failed in his bid to beat Peter Obi, Chief Obiano’s successor in the February 6, 2010 governorship election, coming third on the occasion behind Obi and Dr. Chris Ngige, then candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), he must have realised it would be nearly impossible to topple APGA in Anambra, stooped, and eventually defected to the party.
In 2017, when Obiano sought reelection, he threw his weight behind the governor, resisting the urge to contest, especially given that it was only proper for Obiano’s zone, the Anambra North Senatorial Zone to complete its eight-year term.
His support for Obiano, brought the two men close, to the point that long before APGA held its primary election earlier this year, there was little doubt that the governor would back him to emerge candidate. And once he did, he became a clear favourite to win the poll.
The APGA platform, and Obiano’s support has eventually proved critical, ensuring that he did not meet same fate that befall him in 2010.