Soludo, Ibezim receive certificates of return from INEC as Anambra Governor, Deputy-elect

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented the Certificates of Returns to the winner of November 6, 2021, Anambra State Governorship Election, Professor Charles Soludo of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Dr Onyeka Ibezim, his Deputy Governor-elect.

The ceremony at the INEC Office in Awka, Anambra State by Mr Festus Okoye, National Commissioner of INEC in charge of Publicity and Voter Education and INEC National Commissioner Supervising Anambra.

Okoye said the presentation of the certificates was a constitutional requirement.

“The handover ceremony is in compliance with section 75 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), which mandates the Commission to issue a Certificate of Return to the Governor and Deputy Governor-elect of Anambra State signifying the fact that they won the just concluded 2021 Anambra State governorship election and satisfied the constitutional and legal requirements in section 179 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“As you know, the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Anambra State will expire on March 17, 2022. The implication is that the governor and deputy governor-elect will not assume office immediately. They must wait for the incumbent governor and his deputy to complete their four-year tenure before they can be sworn in.

“There is no doubt that the Commission conducted the 6th and 9th November 2021 governorship election in difficult circumstances. Indeed, the election was conducted in a challenging environment accentuated by fear, anxiety and uncertainty occasioned by political agitation in the southeast geopolitical zone,” Okoye said.

Okoye said the ceremony signified that the governor and deputy governor-elect won the Nov.6 governorship election in Anambra.

He promised that the commission would audit the conduct of the election and utilised the lessons to improve on the next set of elections.

Okoye appreciated the security agencies, NYSC and the media for their support as well as the people of Anambra for their firm belief in democracy and for guarding their votes through vigilance and mandate protection.

Responding, Soludo promised not to disappoint the people of the state who gave him the support and mandate in the election, saying that their efforts and sacrifice will not be in vain, as he promised to justify the confidence reposed in him..

“Initially, there were tense moments, but this election happened in a unique way and we dedicate this victory to God and the people of Anambra who believed and gave us their mandate.

“We will never take for granted the resilience, commitments and actions of the various federal institutions that worked so hard to see us to this day,’’ he assured them.

Soludo commended the Presidency, security agencies and INEC for insisting on a level playing field as well as the judiciary for standing on the path of integrity.

“I believe that a sound and credible electoral system is foundational to having an accountable, responsive and developmental state.

“So, I believe that INEC is getting better by the day.

“I also believe that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation system (BVAS) deployed if refined, will give us that desired Eldorado in our electoral system,’’ he said.

Dr Nwachukwu Orji, INEC Resident Commissioner in Anambra, in his remarks, presented by Mr Chima Duruaku, the Administrative Secretary of INEC, said the commission had done its best to deliver credible election and also promoted the image of INEC.

Orji commended the people of Anambra for the maturity displayed before, during and after the election.

“The calming of the storm that was raging very hard was divine and on a human level, the commission was resolute to put in a lot of sacrifices, efforts and innovation to deliver.

“The support of the security agencies, the National Youth Service Corps and the military contributed to the success that we celebrate today.

“We also commended the peaceful conduct of political parties in spite of the doomsday prediction and the singular resolve by the Anambra people that the election must be done,’’ he said.

Okoye stated that the Commission will audit the conduct of this election as it is the tradition after every major election in order to reflect on things that worked well and those that failed to work as desired and use the lessons learned in the preparation for the next set of elections.

TNA Niyi-Akinmade

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