The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared the governorship election in Imo state inconclusive.
Due to the number of cancelled votes (144,715) in relation to the margin of win (79,529) by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Rochas Okorocha, the Returning Officer, Professor Ibidapo Obe, declared the election inconclusive.
He said a new date would be announced for a supplementary election in the cancelled wards spread across several local government areas.
Mr. Okorocha was initially thought to have won the election after he garnered 385,671 votes compared to the 306,142 votes scored by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Emeka Ihedioha.
The APC candidate is ahead of Mr. Ihedioha by 79,529 votes, which is by far lower than the 144,715 votes cancelled by INEC as a result of irregularities in some wards.
INEC’s verdict on the Imo election is a repeat of what happened in the April 26, 2011 governorship election in the state.
The commission had at the time declared the poll inconclusive because election did not hold in Ohaji/Egbema, Mbatioli, Ngor-Okpala and Oguta Local Government Areas as well as in Orji Ward in Owerri North Local Government Area.
Before that election was declared inconclusive, results for 24 of the state’s 27 local government areas had been announced, with Mr. Okorocha leading in 12 local government areas with a slim total margin while the then governor, Ikedi Ohakim, also led in 12 local government areas but trailed Mr. Okorocha in the total votes garnered.
A supplementary election was then fixed for May 6, 2011, which Mr. Okorocha, who ran then on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, went on to win.
If Mr. Okorocha eventually wins the supplementary election being planned by INEC this time, the APC would have succeeded in holding on to the only state it controls in Nigeria’s South-East geo-political zone.
Three of the remaining states (Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi) in the region are controlled by the PDP while one (Anambra) has remained firmly in the grip of the All Progressives Grand Alliance for more than nine years.