Violence: Why Ihedioha’s declaration was delayed till midnight

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* Two losers so far called to congratulate winner

 Potrait of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Governor-Elect, Imo State

By Sabi Onyenwe, Owerri

The army and police battled most evening of Monday (March 11, 2019) trying to stop armed thugs threatening to shoot down the INEC headquarters in Owerri, Imo State capital, when it was clear Emeka Ihedioha was coasting to victory. The 27 local council results had been received and were being called one after the other. Tension was high but joy was in the air for the Owerri zone and Ihedioha camp.

It was jubilation galore in Imo state as result of victory of governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded Governorship and House assembly 2019 general elections, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha. The Imo people kept awake to hear official declaration of the result from the returning officer for the election, Prof. Francis Otunta.

Investigations before the official announcement of the electoral victory of Ihedioha revealed that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) decided to delay the

result till midnight in view of crises that might have erupted if the result were released earlier because of the hoodlums were brandishing guns and causing problems along  Port Harcourt Road, Owerri.

The hoodlums that gathered in pockets of groups along Port Harcourt Road were harassing passers-bye, collecting people’s phones, money and destroying people’s vehicles in the process.

On jubilations, many said they marched from their local council areas to Owerri out of joy. Speaking, Chief Sam Amadi, who is from Mbaise, Ihedioha’s area, said that he marched from Mbaise to Owerri as a mark of solidarity for the victory of Ihedioha.

In Owerri, an indigene, Tony Nwadike, said that his happiness was that the PDP has come back  to the state, adding that he has been jubilating with his some of his friends from PDP family.

Meanwhile, Ihedioha, the immediate past Deputy Speaker of the House of

Representatives trounced his closest rival with  83, 040 votes, polling a total of 273,404 votes to emerge victorious.

Announcing the cumulative result, the Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Francis Otunta, said that the number of registered voters is 2,221,008 while the total number of accredited voters for the election was 823,746.

The total valid votes cast are 714,355; rejected votes were 25,130 while total votes cast are 739,485. He said that the AA, APC and APGA trailed behind the PDP with individual vote haul of 190, 364, 96458, and 114,676 respectively.

The governorship poll which was contested by 70 candidates saw the PDP candidate, Ihedioha, winning in 11 local government areas (LGAs) while his Action Alliance rival, Uche Nwosu, won in 10 LGAs. Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressive Grand Alliance won in four LGAs with Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress winning in two LGAs only.

Reacting on his election, Ihedioha expressed gratitude to God and Imo people saying that Imo made a resounding statement with the election. “This is not just victory for PDP; it is not victory for any section of the state. It is a victory for Imo people regardless of where they come from.”

Ihedioha said he would restore public confidence in the institution of government and promised to unite the people of Imo Sttate under one umbrella.

Ihedioha won in the entire nine council areas of Imo East. He also won in Oguta (Imo West) and Obowo (Imo North).The UPP governorship candidate, Tony Nwulu and the APP governorship candidate, Bruno Oparaocha have since called and congratulated Ihedioha.

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