THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the Imo State governorship poll, which was held on Saturday, November 11.
The incumbent governor was returned elected by the returning officer, Abayomi Fasina, the vice-chancellor of the Federal University in Oye, Ekiti.
Uzodimma pulled 540,308 votes to defeat its major opponents – Sam Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 71,503 votes, and Anthony Nnaji of the Labour Party (LP), who scored 64,081.
The collation of results started at 2:40 a.m. on Sunday, November 12, at the 27 local government areas in the state, and results were uploaded to the INEC IREV portal.
Eighteen political parties jostled for the governorship seat in the election.
Despite the security tension that heralded the poll, the state was the first to declare results as Nigerians currently await Kogi and Bayelsa election results held on the same day.
Some incidences reported during the Imo poll were low voter turnouts in polling units, alleged diversion of electoral materials, late arrival of voting materials, and gunshots that rented the air during the early hours of voting.
The Police had mobilised about 25,565 personnel and patrol vans, even as there was the presence of heavy military personnel and other enforcement agencies for the elections.
Addressing journalists on Saturday, the PDP candidate, Anyanwu, noted that voting materials arrived late in Amaimo Ward in Ikeduru local government area.
He alleged that the gunshots heard in the ward were by security operatives warding off thugs purportedly attempting to scuttle the electoral process.
On his part, the LP candidate, Achonu, said electoral materials were diverted in Owerri North and Orlu over cluster voting.
Achonu, who also lauded INEC’s conduct of the election, also noted that thugs could out-smart INEC’s plans.
The off-cycle elections were held in 10,470 polling units across 649 electoral wards in 56 local government areas in the three states – Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa – according to INEC.
Over 46,000 regular and ad hoc staff were deployed in the three states.