The Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly and governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, has been declared winner of the last Saturday’s governorship election in the State.
Declaring the result at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) State headquarters in Abakaliki, the State Returning Officer, Prof. Charles Igwe, said that Rt. Hon. Nwifuru garnered 199,131 votes across the 13 local government areas of the State.
His closest challenger, Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) scored 80,191 votes to come second while the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof. Bernard Odoh, trailed behind with 52,189 votes.
Though the Labour Party announced that the party did not have any candidate for the governorship election in the State, the party, however, secured 6,793 votes to come fourth in the governorship race.
Announcing the final result, the State Returning Officer, Prof. Igwe said that Rt. Hon Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru satisfied all the requirements of the law and has been returned elected and declared the winner of the election.
Prof Igwe, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State, said that the number of registered voters in the 13 LGAs stands at 1,597,646 while the number of accredited voters stands at 350,345.
He maintained that the total valid votes cast stood at 342,554, the rejected votes stood at 7,387 while the total votes cast stood at 349,941.
“I hereby certify that I, Prof. Charles Igwe was the Returning Officer of the governorship election held on the 18th of March 2023 in Ebonyi State.
“That Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru of the APC having satisfied the requirements of the law and having scored the highest number of votes is hereby returned and elected,” he said.
Meanwhile, the agent of APGA, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, described the election result as a sham and full of imperfections, adding that the party will challenge the result in the court of law.
Senator Onwe noted that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mrs. Onyeka Ugochi, had alleged threat to her life, adding that she was forced into announcing what he called fictitious results.
Also, the Returning Officer for the PDP, Barr. Midi Erhenede, also rejected the result and said that he will be taking the result to his principal, Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii for further action that would be taken.
Meanwhile, reacting to his electoral victory, Rt. Hon. Nwifuru thanked God Almighty for crowning the effort of Ebonyi people with resounding success.
He maintained that the victory was a thoroughly deserved victory for Ebonyi people, for continuity and consolidation on the brilliant works of the present administration of Governor Dave Umahi.
“We came on Divine Mandate and together, we shall all work to meet the needs of Ebonyi people, that is why our Manifesto is themed ‘The People’s Charter of Needs’.
“Let me thank very specially, all my fellow candidates from all other political parties, who went on this journey with me fervently in a bid to make the lives of our people better. We brought out the bests in one another and I make bold to say that we are all winners.
“My appreciation equally goes to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for a seamless, transparent, free, fair and credible elections,” Nwifuru stated.
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