NORMALLY, by my training as a journalist, praise singing, or the art of saying good things about someone, individual or institution, especially in a manner that would be extremely enthusiastic, is not in the doctrine of the calling of my profession. However, as a Human being, sometimes, one is compulsorily compelled to surrender to natural instincts, that could push you towards a particular desire, or make you to act in a particular way. And today, that instinct is forcing me to give a thumbs up, or an awesome approbation to INEC, for the conduct of the Imo 2023 Gubernatorial election.
The immaculateness of the exercise, has indeed rekindled the hope of the hopeless. Thanks to the inspiration introduced into the contest, by the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, and the re-elected Governor of the state, His Excellency Sen. Hope Uzodinma, whose campaign slogan coincides with his first name, Hope. At the risk of sounding like someone trying to be boastful about his achievements or abilities, I make bold to say, I am fit to be called an election coverage veteran, because, starting from 1993 to date, God has given me the privilege, to cover countless number of elections in Nigeria.
While each of the elections I covered came with it’s own challenges, this particular election in Imo, was predicted by many, to come with the peculiar challenge of extreme cruelty and brutal behavior. Everyone, including the clergy, had warned about the inevitable use of physical force with the intent to hurt, damage, or kill people that dare participate in the exercise. Even those who relate with their enemies, have been told by them, to stay clear of Imo, because of the foreseen crisis that may be greater than danger. 11/11/2023 was predicted to be the doomsday in Imo. But to the astonishment of the naysayers, INEC conducted the gubernatorial election with proficient immaculateness. This is not just extraordinary, but proudly pre-eminent.
Events of the past, might have strongly subdued INEC to accept all manner of name callings and the use of offensive languages, including languages that induced rejection and condemnation by Nigerians, but with what the electoral body had done in Imo this weekend, everyone working with INEC, has reason to tell people that he has done very well, and has the qualities that should make Nigerians admire him or her. I give thumps up to Prof. Mahmoud Yakub, the National chairman of INEC. I give thumps up to IGP Kayode Egbetokun, the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police, with special thanks to ACP Shuaibu Bello, who is the police liaison officer at INEC, and one that was posted to monitor the election in Imo.
The police presence before, during and after the election is extremely impressive, and if the truth must be told, this is the time to commend, or like INEC, give them the desired thumps up as well. Imo was policed so well by the police, that a short article like this can not do justice to the role they played in making INEC achieve this feat.
The election was conducted peacefully yesterday, Saturday, 11/11/2023. By 08:30 am today, Sunday, 12/11/2023, the collation of results was completed. The process, under the supervision of Prof. Abayomi Fashina, the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, who served as the state chief returning officer for INEC, was done in the open, at the State Collation Centre, Owerri, the Imo state capital.
In the presence of the APC candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, the PDP candidate, Samuel Anyanwu, and the Labour Party candidate Achonu Nneji, Prof. Abayomi Fashina announced thus: “By the powers conferred on me on the election held on Saturday, 11/11/2023, I declare that you Hope Uzodimma of APC, having secured 540,308 votes, and having satisfied the law, is hereby returned elected.” Samuel Anyanwu of the PDP scored 71,503 votes. Athan Achonu of the Labour Party scored 64,081 votes.
His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, who was first declared governor of Imo state by the Supreme Court in January 2020, and now by the popular votes of the people, has secured a re-election, after sweeping all the 27 local government areas of the state. According to the announcement by the chief returning officer, he has defeated his closest rivals, Samuel Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Nneji Achonu of the Labour Party (LP), as well as Jack Ogunewe of the Action Alliance (AA), alongside 14 other opponents, by a magnanimous margin.
Indeed the victory is not just for Sen.Hope Uzodinma and the people of Imo, but a victory for democracy and Nigeria, because of the immaculateness of INEC in Imo.
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