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#AnambraDecides: 52,624 margin vs 148,407 voters… Can Ihiala LGA swing the tide?

#AnambraDecides: 52,624 margin vs 148,407 voters… Can Ihiala LGA swing the tide?
November 08
20:10 2021

In the early hours of Monday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) suspended the collation of results for the November 6 Anambra governorship election. The development came after election results for 20 out of 21 local government areas (LGAs) had been collated and announced. 

Florence Obi, the returning officer for the election, said the decision to suspend the collation of results is to give room for a supplementary election in Ihiala LGA.

Ahmadu Umar, the collation officer for Ihiala LGA, had earlier said there was no election in the entire area.

As of Sunday, Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) secured 103,946 votes, followed by Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 51,322 votes, while Andy Uba, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had 42,942.

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The margin between Soludo and Ozigbo currently stands at 52,624, and according to the collation officer for Ihiala, there are 148,407 registered voters in the LGA.

Obi explained that the final collation of results cannot be done until the polling units in Ihiala LGA are covered.

The supplementary election in Ihiala has now been fixed for November 9, 2021.

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TheCable explained all you need to know about an inconclusive poll here.

As it stands, the fate of the candidate that will steer the mantle of leadership in Anambra for the next four years lies in the hands of the people of Ihiala.

Though Soludo is in the lead with over 50,000 votes, Ozigbo or Uba can still overtake him if either is able to secure about 60,000 votes in Ihiala come Tuesday — if other scenarios like a runoff election do not play out.

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But is that going to happen? Can Ihiala swing the tide? Here is what we have learned from the past and what may likely play out in the future.

IHIALA 2010

In the Anambra 2010 governorship election, the total number of registered voters in Ihiala was 83,348. Of this figure, the total number of valid votes cast stood at 16,029. In the final results, APGA polled 5,996;  AC had 1,803; while PDP secured 4,945. APGA won the LGA, ushering in Peter Obi (APGA) as governor for his second term.

IHIALA 2013

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In 2013, the total number of registered voters in Ihiala was 111,531 while the total votes cast was 24,203. Again, APGA won the LGA after polling 10,274 votes. PDP came second with 5,520 votes while APC came third with 4,087 votes. The election brought in Willie Obiano (APGA) as governor.

IHIALA 2017

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In the 2017 governorship election in Anambra, a total of 124, 588 voters were registered in Ihiala. In the final results, APGA won the LGA again, after polling 14,379 votes. APC came second with 7,894 votes while PDP followed next with 4,706 votes.

WHAT ABOUT THE IHIALA FACTOR?

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It is not expected that geographical affiliation will favour any of the top three candidates as neither is from Ihiala.

Also, that Ihiala has one of the highest (148,407) registered voters in the state for the 2021 election does not necessarily mean it will churn out a high voters count. From what we have seen in past elections, voter apathy has always been high in Anambra generally and Ihiala specifically.

From the past three elections under view, the voter turnout has always been less than 50 percent of the registered voters.

SO, CAN IHIALA SWING THE TIDE? 

A simple answer would be no. APGA has won all past three elections and if Ihiala voters are to follow this trend, they will give Soludo more votes, further increasing his winner margin and consolidating his victory.

Also, it is highly unlikely that all or even half of the registered voters in Ihiala come out to vote. Even if they do, all 18 candidates contesting the election will share the votes among themselves, making it further harder for either Ozigbo or Uba to poll enough votes to outshine Soludo.

But politics is not simple, and it is quite unpredictable. At the last minute, an alliance can be birthed by two or more parties with the aim of dousing the chances of a stronger contender. So, anything is possible in the final outcome.

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