The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, as the winner of Saturday’s governorship election held in the state.

The former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives polled 273,404 votes to defeat his closest rival, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) who polled 190,360 votes, while Senator Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) came third, with 96,458 votes.

Nwosu, who was backed by Governor Rochas Okorocha, finished second with 190,364 votes; followed by Senator Uzodinma who got 96,458 votes.

Ihedioha was declared the winner by the Returning Officer for the election, Professor Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta, at 11:57 pm on Monday night, bringing to a conclusion a dramatic collation process which also witnessed the arrest of two electoral officers for allegedly tampering with results.

The final collation for the state was one of the last to begin on Sunday with the process commencing late in the evening.

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Other participants in the 70-man Imo gubernatorial contest include Mr Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), a former senator who had 114,676 votes, winning in four LGAs.

APC’s Hope Uzodinma, a serving Senator representing Imo West Senatorial district garnered 96,458 votes and won in two LGAs to take the fourth position.

A former governor of Imo, Mr Ikedi Ohakim of the Accord Party, who polled 6,846 votes to trail alongside others, did not win in any of the council areas.

A total of 739,474 votes were cast with 25,130 of the votes rejected while 714,344 were valid.

Otonta, who is the Vice Chancellor, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike thanked INEC officials, political party agents, security operatives and journalists for their patriotic commitment to national assignment.

In his words, “I salute your patriotism and commitment to this national assignment.

“I hereby declare that Emeka Ihedioha, having satisfied all the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes has won the election and is hereby returned,” he said.

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