By Magnus Aluma, Abakaliki
The Independent National electoral commission (INEC), in Ebonyi State has declared Mr. Francis Nwifuru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the 2023 gubernatorial election in the state.
The INEC Returning Officer for the state, Prof. Charles Igwe, said Nwifuru polled a total of 199, 131 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Odii, who polled a total of 80, 191 votes.
Prof Igwe noted that the candidate of the PDP, Odii polled a total of 80,191 votes to come second, while the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof Benard Odoh, polled 52, 189 to come third in the contest.
Chris Adol-Awam of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) scored 674 votes, while the candidate of Labour Party (LP), Edward Nkwagu got 6, 793 votes
Announcing the results at the INEC Headquarters in Abakaliki, Prof Igwe said: “that Nwifuru Francis Ogbonna, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared winner and is returned elected.”
Nwifuru, who is currently the speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, won in 10 out of the 13 local government areas of the state, while the APGA candidate, Odoh and his PDP counterpart, Odii, won in 1 and 2 LGAs respectively.
In a response, the state agent of the PDP, Mudi Erhnedi said: “INEC has failed in its duties, and fallen short of Nigerians’ expectations, especially PDP.”
Senator Emmanuel Onwe, who is the state agent of the APGA, described the election results conducted by INEC in the state, as “a sham,” adding that “it fell short of expectations of Nigerians.”
But in a swift reaction, the Governor-elect, Francis Nwifuru described the election as the most credible, free, and fair election, in the political history of Nigeria. He commended the governor Umahi and other prominent stakeholders of the state for their doggedness in ensuring that APC emerged victorious in the just concluded election.
Governor Umahi described the election as victory for the people. He emphasized that it is also for continuity and consolidation on the brilliant works of his administration.