In Nigeria, reaction is continuing to last week’s victory by the opposition in the controversial re-run gubernatorial election in Imo State. The original vote was cancelled by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] when it became apparent that the opposition was winning.
Bur the Nigerian opposition, the All Progressives Grand Alliance [APGA], won the re-run election, with APGA candidate Owelle Rochas Okorocha defeating incumbent PDP governor Ikedi Ohakim by more than 300,000 votes. The defeat denies the ruling party a clean sweep of the southeast after it won in the oil-rich Niger Delta states.
The electorate simply refused to be intimidated by the incumbent administration, said Innocent Chukwuma, who runs the Lagos-based voter advocacy group Cleen Foundation. Chukwuma was one of the election observers.
“I think in the end the will of the electorate prevailed against all odds put in their way by state government, the incumbent, the INEC and of course the heavy presence of security officials,” he said.
The governor has conceded defeat and pledged not to contest the outcome in court. Chukwuma said that’s unlike the approach taken by many candidates, who often take to the courts if they lose an election.
“It is almost un-Nigerian-ike, but if you look at the way the election went, only a fool will challenge it because the governor threw everything behind his bid to win and at the end the people stood tall to resist him. I would have been surprised if he had decided to challenge the election in court,” said Chukwuma.
He added that in congratulating the opposition candidate, Gov. Ohakim succeeded in reducing the public anger directed at his administration by the electorate and the incoming administration.
“That decision has earned him some good comments from watchers of the election and the incoming government will consider that in deciding how to review his administration.”