Former Deputy Speaker , House of Representatives and Imo State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has assured members of his party that he will lead the PDP to victory in the 2019 general election in Imo State, according to a statement from his campaign office said.
He stated this during an interview with journalists shortly after being declared winner of the gubernatorial primaries held, Monday at the Kanu Nwankwo Sports Complex, Owerri. He said, “I am humbled by this victory and I thank Almighty God, I am grateful to my party members who have, again, shown faith in me to fly the flag of our party in next year’s general election. Of course I will lead them to victory.”
Ihedioha polled 1,723 votes to defeat four other aspirants. They are, Senator Samuel Anyanwu 1,282, Chief Chukwuma Ekomaru SAN 7, Senator Athan Achonu 63, Prof. Jude Njoku 21, Benneth Ezeji 1.
Declaring the results of the exercise, the Chairman of the 5 man Electoral Committee, Senator Emma Nwaka described the exercise as orderly, free, fair and transparent. He thanked the leadership of the Imo State Chapter of the PDP and the delegates for ensuring a near erfect execise.
The PDP guber candidate called on his fellow aspirants to join hands with him to actualize the dreams of the party. “I call on my colleagues, who aspired alongside myself, to join hands with me so that we can build our party to reclaim victory and take Imo to where we should be. I also enjoin Imo people to keep hope alive. PDP has come back stronger and rebranded. PDP has, again, shown that it is a party for the people”, he noted.
He thanked God and assured that he is poised to giving the state a new face, “By the grace of God. I am grateful to God, There is no victor and no vanquished. I understand Imo better and Imo people now know me better.”
Meanwhile, the Imo State Chairman of the PDP, Barr. Charles Ezekwem, has described the smooth conduct of the governorship primaries as, “victory for the party” ahead of 2019 general election.
Speaking with journalists at the venue of the primaries, he said, “Without being told, you can agree with me that the process was transparent and everybody is satisfied. It is victory for our party. We are happy that now that Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has emerged as our candidate and everybody is satisfied. There were no suspicions or allegations that will negatively affect the party during the general elections”, adding that, “ I am happy with the outcome and this is how PDP should be. Going forward we shall begin to strategize for the battle ahead.”
It was said that commitment and doggedness were some of the factors that led to the emergence of Ihedioha as Imo PDP Governorship Candidate. Ihedioha won the primary defeating his closest challenger, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, and six others.
With his victory, Ihedioha has gone down in history in Imo PDP as the first governorship candidate to win its party primaries back to back. He had won the party ticket in 2015 but lost the guber election to Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
One of the contestants in the primary, Barr Chukwuma Ekomaru, has congratulated the former Deputy Speaker on his victory.
In a statement, Ekomaru, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) called on the PDP leadership to immediately close ranks in order for the party to put up a PDP Governor in Douglas House
The statement reads: “It is with gratitude to God Almighty that the PDP Governorship primary election is won and lost. I congratulate Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and call on the PDP leadership to immediately close ranks so that we put a PDP Governor in the Douglas House.”
However, Senator Anyanwu, who placed second in the delegates election, was reported to have rejected the results when he posted on Facebook that the primary may have come and gone but he has reservations about the issue of over voting
His post reads:“Thank you immensely for your unflinching support before and during the just concluded Governorship primary election.
“Though the election may have come and gone, but my reservation about the issue of over voting which made it impossible for your vote to count will remain in the front burner of my political steps.
“I therefore, urge you all to remain calm and steadfast as I consult widely. It shall end in praise.”
Addressing a press conference later in Owerri, Anyanwu fumed at the level of injustice at the primaries.
Backing his boss claim, Media aide to the Senator,Mr.Kelechi Eke, submitted that 3067 delegates were accredited for the governorship primary and when compared to the total figures all aspirants garnered at the end of the exercise it was more than the accredited number of delegates eligible to vote.
The official results as declared by the Returning Officer, Senator Emma Nwaka reads thus Ihedioha 1, 723, Senator Anyanwu, 1, 282, Senator Athan Achonu 63, Prof Jude Njoku 21, Chukwuma Ekomaru (SAN) 7, Ezeji Bennett 1
According to the figures for each of the aspirants, a total of 3,157 delegates voted which is higher by 90 votes.
It is expected that Senator Anyanwu may go to the Appeal Court to argue his claims.
Ihedioha is yet to officially react to the claims though his victory has been hailed by one of the aspirants, Chukwuma Ekomaru.