The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance winner of the January 13 Anambra Central Senatorial rerun.
Umeh, a former National Chairman of APGA, beat 13 other candidates, including current Labour and Employment Minister, Senator Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress, with a wide margin to emerge the senator representing Anambra Central.
It was a one-sided and poorly attended election as Ngige had asked his supporters to boycott the election, saying he had written INEC of his withdrawal from the race when the election was to hold.
The minister wondered why the electoral body “mischievously included his name on the list of contestants” after he had since January 2016 written the electoral commission to withdraw from the race. He threatened to sue INEC for trying to ridicule him and use his name to give credibility to the election.
The rerun was conducted in seven local government areas, which are Njikoka, Awka North, Idemili South, Dunukofia, Awka South, Anaocha and Idemili North. The APGA candidate won in all the seven areas.
Voter turnout was abysmally poor, with only 9.1 percent of voters accredited to vote. But the conduct was generally peaceful. The court had earlier on excluded a major party, the Peoples Democratic Party which had won the election in March 2015 from fielding a candidate in the rerun.
The election of its candidate, Senator Uche Ekwunife, was annulled by the Court of Appeal on the grounds that she was not properly nominated by her party. Her effort to revalidate her candidacy was rebuffed by various courts, including the supreme court.
Declaring the result of the rerun, the Returning Officer, Prof Charles Esimone, said Umeh scored the highest number of votes cast with 64, 878 (95.6 percent of the votes cast) and therefore was returned elected.
Esimone, who is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka said the total number of registered voters in the seven local government areas was 745, 828 out of which only 67, 872 (9.1 percent) were accredited.
Chris Ngige, APC the candidate was second with 975 votes while Progressive Peoples Alliance came third with 116 votes.
Other parties that got votes were the Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), 111 votes; Labour Party (LP), 95; National Conscience Party (NCP), 72; Alliance for Democratic Congress (ADC), 57; United Progressives Party (UPP), 55; Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), 48 and Action Congress for Democrats (ACD), 33.
Votes were cancelled in four polling units in Awka South where there were cases of over-voting and in Agulu, Anaocha council where people were accredited manually as well as in Idemili South where over-voting was recorded in two polling units.
Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Anambra, thanked voters, election officials, observers and journalists for contributing to the success and peaceful conduct of the election.