The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Governor Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the November 11, 2023 governorship election in the state.
The Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Prof Abayomi Fashina, who was the state Returning Officer declared Uzodimma re-elected on Sunday morning at about 10 am after over eight hours of collation of local government results.
“That you Hope Uzodimma of APC having satisfied the law is hereby returned elected,” Fashina declared.
Uzodimma was first declared as Imo State governor by the Supreme Court in January 2020 after the nullification of the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a situation that made him attract more political enemies in the state plagued with the security phenomenon of “unknown gunmen”, abductions and endless Monday’s sit-at-home by pro-secessionist sects.
Uzodimma, 64, sought re-election in Saturday’s poll and cleared all the 27 local government areas in the state.
Uzodimma trounced PDP’s Samuel Anyanwu, Labour Party (LP)’s Nneji Achonu, Jack Ogunewe of the Action Alliance (AA), 14 other opponents.
The APC candidate polled 540, 308 votes to defeat his closest rivals, PDP’s Anyanwu, who scored 71,503 votes and LP’s Achonu who got 64,081.
The eight-hour marathon collation of results from 2:30am to 8:30am on Sunday was fraught with drama and protest from opposition party agents who complained that the results brought before the state collation centre were at variance with what was uploaded on the Result Viewing Portal of the commission.
Labour Party agents and others vehemently demanded the suspension of the collation but the returning officer insisted that the collation be concluded.
According to INEC, the number of registered voters in the state for the poll was 2, 419,922 with 2,318,919 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collected.
Generally, observers said Saturday’s governorship poll in the South-East state was marred by vote buying, voter intimidation, violence and other electoral malpractices with antigraft agencies arresting party agents with stashed cash.
Like Imo, governorship elections were held in Kogi and Bayelsa on November 11, 2023, though the collation of results in the two states has been adjourned to Sunday morning.