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Anambra guber: Ozigbo, Ubah concede to Soludo

The candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP) in last weekend’s governorship election in Anambra State, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, respectively, have conceded defeat to the winner of the poll, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). This is as the Anambra State Governor-elect, in an interview, yesterday, said because he is not coming on the job to learn, he will hit the ground running immediately after his inauguration in March next year.

His words: “As I said in my manifesto, we are not coming to learn on the job. We have done quite a bit of this in terms of transformation and we would hit the ground running from day one in terms of our agenda.” The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who was declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after Tuesday’s supplementary poll in Ihiala Local Government Area of the State, defeated his closest rival, Ozigbo with 112,229 votes against 53,807 votes.

Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC) placed third with 43,283 votes, while Senator Ifeanyi Ubah of Young Progressives Party (YPP) came fourth with 21,261 votes. INEC had declared the election inconclusive as voting did not take place on Saturday in Ihiala. Conceding defeat to Soludo, Ozigbo, in a statement, said: “I have just called Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and congratulated him on being declared the winner of the Anambra State governorship election, 2021. I wished him well and prayed for his success.

“Let me also use this opportunity to congratulate all the men and women, who contested our dear state’s governorship this year. You all have shown a determination to see that Anambra is better. It was an honour to run this race with you. “Two years ago, I decided to go into active partisan politics with a number of objectives in mind. First, was to use Anambra to set an example of excellence in governance. The second was to unify Anambra and Ala Igbo around a shared vision of greatness. The third was to inspire more professionals to go into politics. I believe that attainment of these would go a long way in changing the story of black men and women in this world for the better.

“Pulled by the vision of a better and brighter Anambra, we set out on the quest for governorship, resolute on taking revolutionary steps to address the decay and decline in security, infrastructure, education, healthcare, the environment, and all other social systems meant to serve the people. “As laid out in our Ka Anambra Chawapu Manifesto, we planned to transform Anambra into the most competitive sub-national economy in Nigeria by opening up public, social, and commercial spaces leveraging on the strength of our youth and women; ultimately, to make Anambra the pride of Nigeria.

“Given where we started and where we are today, we consider ourselves winners. Our Ka Anambra Chawapu message has permeated the consciousness of Ndi Anambra, and the nation at large. It is the strongest message that has come out of Anambra 2021, and it continues to beat in the hearts of Ndigbo. “On unifying Ala Igbo, I believe that every Igbo person now understands that they have a voice in me because I will forever speak in the interest of the Igbo nation and the rest of the marginalised and forgotten in Nigeria.” The PDD candidate, who noted that the election was fraught with a lot of short-comings on the part of various government institutions, decried that the security agencies failed to provide a peaceful environment for campaigns to hold.

He added that they were absent from many polling centres on election day, a development, according to him, led to elections not holding or held in situations that allowed for chaos and fraud. “The national electoral commission presented untrained and poorly trained staff, who could not operate the voting machines in many places.

They failed woefully in providing logistical support for their staff and so elections started very late in many places and did not hold in many others. “The use of government funds and resources to corrupt, coerce, and intimidate voters, PDP party agents and electoral officials was a major factor in determining the outcome of this election. All of these led to the disenfranchisement of the greater percentage of voters and staining the course of democracy. I will be dedicating time to champion the positive change we need to ensure that future elections are truly free and fair and that the will of the electorate prevails,” Ozigbo said.

Senator Ubah of the YPP, on his part, said he has no intention to challenge the outcome of the poll in court. The lawmaker, who currently represents Anambra South Senatorial District at the National Assembly, said he has called Soludo to congratulate him on his electoral victory.

In a statement, Ubah said he appreciates his supporters and has submitted to the will of God. The statement titled: “Senator Ifeanyi Ubah congratulates Prof. Soludo n his electoral victory,” reads in part: “I have just called the newly-elected governor of our dear state; Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo to congratulate him on his victory at the just-concluded Anambra governorship poll.

“To everything there is a season, so the Holy Bible says. It is with a heart full of gratitude and submission to the will of God that I address you all today, having enjoyed the unique privilege of earning your support to seek the governorship office of our dear state, Anambra. “This is not the outcome that we wanted and worked so hard for although some people have expressed mixed feelings and reactions about the anomalies witnessed across numerous polling units.

“However, the collective interest of the state must be our paramount focus. Not minding the outcome of the elections, I feel pride and gratitude for this formidable campaign that we waged irrespective of the pervasive security crisis that did not allow us to maximize our full campaign potentials in the nooks and crannies of the state. “As a democrat and law-abiding citizen, I wholeheartedly accept outcome of the election and would like to use this medium to congratulate Prof. Soludo on his victory. It is imperative to state that I do not intend to challenge the electoral results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission through any court or judicial process.”

Urging other contestants to move on and thread the path of honour, Ubah advised Soludo to conduct local government elections and grant full financial autonomy to the 21 councils of the state in order for them to bring dividends of democracy to the grassroots as well as promote industrialisation and work in harmony with members of the National Assembly in the state. Meanwhile, Soludo, who also spoke in the media interview on the transition that will usher in his administration, said it that it will be a smooth exercise. “The good news about the transition is that it is not something happening from the moon. We have people who are experienced.

I understand quite a bit; I was the de facto Minister of National Planning. I ran the bureaucracy even before with six parastatals before I went to the Central Bank. So, I clearly understand a few things about how government institutions work. I have been there before. “Also, this is an APGA government that is continuing. We have the governor of the state, who is our national leader, with all the institutions and structures that are already in place. So, we expect a very seamless transition. Most of the people who would be in the transition committee are also already part of the government itself.

“This is APGA government in place and it is just going to be a change of baton at the leadership. The structure and institution is there. The personnel are there; maybe a few tweaks here and there and the train continues to move. We are not expecting any kind of bombshell. This is APGA government and it is steady with its personnel. We will just tweak a few things and we are good to go.”

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