20th November 2017
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recorded another major feat on 19th November, when it announced the final results of the Anambra State Governorship and Idemili North State Constituency elections barely 24 hours after the exercise.
Months of careful preparations and synergy between the Commission and other critical stakeholders paid off on when the polling units opened as scheduled on 18th November. The initial fears of a possible breach, against the backdrop of the boycott order given by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) quickly disappeared with the presence of stern-looking security agents as voting got underway throughout the state.
A cross section of local and international observers, civil society organisations, religious leaders and voters commended the Commission over the proper conduct of the election. Security agents also attracted favourable comments from stakeholders.
A record 37 political parties fielded candidates for the governorship election. At the end of the final collation exercise held at the Commission’s state headquarters in Awka, the Returning Officer, Professor Zana Apkagbu decalred the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) winner with 234,071 votes, followed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) – 98, 752, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – 70,593 and the United Progressive Party (UPP) – 7,746 votes.
The governorship election is coming on the heels of four similar elections the Commission conducted successfully in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states since the 2015 general elections.
The process began with the official release of the timetable and schedule of activities on 23rd February 2017. A total of 14 activities were lined up and meticulously undertaken with the active involvement of all stakeholders. The Commission also conducted the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) at Ward level throughout Anambra State from 10 – 15 August, in addition to the nationwide CVR at local government level. The promise made by the Commission to the new registrants that their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) would be ready for collection before the exercise was fulfilled. The state now has a total of 2,158,171 registered voters.
A week before the polls, insinuations emerged in certain quarters that sensitive materials for the elections had already been delivered to Anambra state and compromised. But at the Stakeholder Meeting held in Awka on 14th November, the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu dismissed the allegations and assured all the stakeholders that the materials in question would only get to Awka in strict compliance with the arrangement for their delivery for the election. He also revealed that additional security features had been added to the materials to make any counterfeit easily detectable.
To ensure transparency and integrity of the elections, results of each polling unit were pasted there for party agents and stakeholders to see, making it easy for them to compare notes with the Commission’s final figures.
Apart from over 23,000 ad-hoc staff engaged by the Commission for the election, several other senior and middle management staff from the headquarters also provided a helping hand. Three National Commissioners – Prince Adedeji Soyebi, Engineer Abubakar Nahuche and Prof. Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine were also in Awka in supervisory capacities during the election period. The National Commissioner in charge of the South East geo-political zone, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu and National Commissioner in charge of Electoral Operations, Mrs. Amina Zakari worked tirelessly with the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji throughout the planning stages.