The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the governorship election in Imo state.
Francis Otunta, returning officer for the election, said Ihedioha polled 273,404 to beat his closest rival, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance who polled 190,364.
Nwosu has rejected the results, arguing that there ought to be a rerun because the PDP candidate “did not meet the constitutional requirements”.
The Imo governor-elect was deputy speaker of the house of representatives between 2011 and 2015. He had contested against Okorocha in 2015 but lost the election.
Okorocha had tipped Nwosu, his son-in-law, to succeed him despite strong opposition. When Nwosu lost the gubernatorial ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he supported his decision to move to AA while he stayed back in the APC where contested and was declared the winner of the Imo west senatorial seat.
But Innocent Ibeabuchi, returning officer for the election, later said he was forced to declare the results in favour of Okorocha.
Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of INEC, had kicked against this, saying the commission would not issue certificates of return to those announced as winners in areas where elected officials were forced to declare results.
“The commission will not tolerate the act of holding our official’s hostage and forcing them to declare winners under duress. Where such occurs, the commission will not reward bad behaviour by issuing them certificates of return,” he had said at a meeting in Abuja last week.
However, in the list of senators-elect, it released on Monday ahead of the presentation of certificates scheduled for Thursday, Okorocha’s name was conspicuously missing.