Governor-elect thanked Anambra people for electing him.
Despite the controversy surrounding Saturday’s supplementary election in Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Monday presented the winner of the election, Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, with the Certificate of Return.
The certificate was handed over to governor-elect at a brief ceremony at INEC Office in Awka, by the INEC Commissioner in charge of Anambra, Kogi and Enugu, Lawrence Nwurukwu.
He will be inaugurated in March 2012 when tenure of the incumbent, Peter Obi, also of APGA, will expire.
Mr. Obiano was declared winner of the election after the supplementary poll in Idemili North and Onitsha South Local Government Areas, having polled 180,178 votes to beat his closest rival, Tony Nwoye of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who got 97,700 votes.
Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Ifeanyi Ubah of the Labour Party, LP, came third and fourth positions with 95,963 and 37,495 votes, respectively.
Messrs Nwoye, Ngige, and Ubah boycotted the election, alleging irregularities during the November 16 main election. INEC later admitted it did not meet the expectations of Nigerians in the conduct of the election.
Others had also argued that Mr. Obiano should not have participated in the election because of the allegation of multiple registrations against him.
Mr. Nwurkwu, who the APC accused of being a card-carrying member of the PDP days before the November 16 election, expressed shock at media reports, which he claimed created erroneous impression of unrest in Anambra state.
He commended the people of the state for comporting themselves in a manner which he said made it possible for the Commission to conduct a very peaceful, free and fair election in the state.
“The people of Anambra State have shown the rest of Nigeria how to comport themselves during elections,” he said.
“Anambra has demonstrated a level of civility that other states would do well to emulate.”
Mr. Obiano, while receiving the certificate said he regarded it (certificate) as the symbolic call-to-serve.
He commended Mr. Obi for excellent performance since he (Obi) assumed office, adding that he and his running mate, Nkem Okeke, were aware that they had come into a great heritage of excellence and would do their best to preserve it with a superior performance.
He said, “We have evolved a comprehensive plan for the accelerated development of Anambra State in line with the highly successful model of governance that the current administration has put in place. We will ensure that there is no break in the wonderful job and policy direction that has brought so much joy to our people under Governor Obi.”
The governor-elect appealed to those who contested the election with him to join hands with him to build Anambra State, saying “The days of fighting are over. Work has just started and we need everybody’s prayers, assistance and support to be able to deliver on your expectations.”
He added “No one must be left out of our calibrated march to greatness. A state is as great as its people. With the calibre of human capital in Anambra State, we can and should reclaim our position as the light of the Nigerian nation.”
Mr. Obiano thanked the out-going governor for his unflinching support throughout the election campaign period.
He also thanked the National Chairman of APGA, Victor Umeh for his deft handling of the entire campaign operations that eventually handed victory to the party. Mr. Umeh had earlier commended INEC for doing an excellent job with the Anambra poll.
Reacting to the claims of the opposition parties on the outcome of the poll, the APGA national chairman said that it was clear to everyone that INEC scored at least 95 per cent in the exercise.
“Let’s leave 5 per cent as our margin of error. Anambra has 21 local government areas. At the first ballot, elections were successfully held in 20 local governments and Idemili North which required a Supplementary Election is only one local government. If you add it, you will see that Idemili North is less than 5 per cent of the places that INEC did a good work,” he said.