David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Senator Uche Ekwunife of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the Anambra Central senatorial election conducted last Saturday.
The election result had been withheld for days following incidences of violence in some parts of the zone.
But the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Anambra State, citing sections of the commissions act, said it can rely on the duplicate copy of result issued by the commission to the police to announce the result since its copy was destroyed by hoodlums who invaded the collation centre.
Declaring the result Wednesday morning in Awka, the Anambra State capital, the Returning Officer, Prof. Charles Amobi Nwankwo, said Ekwunife polled 101,548 votes to defeat other candidates in the election.
Nwankwo, a lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) garnered 81, 429 votes to come second while Chief Sylvester Okonkwo of All Progressives Congress (APC) came third with 1,0 99 votes.
Reacting to the announcement, Senator Ekwunife described the outcome as victory for the masses.
She urged her opponents to sheathe their sword and accept her victory in good faith.
But Umeh, her opponent from the APGA, had earlier protested the use of a duplicate copy by the police to declare the election result, insisting that the law recognises the use of the original result sheet for the declaration of the result.
He urged INEC to cancel the election and conduct a fresh one, considering the irregularities that trailed the last Saturday exercise that saw the use of manual accreditation to garner votes in some area and strict adherence to the use of the smart card readers in others.