Home / News / Local / ‘It’s not over, we can win’ – PDP’s Valentine Ozigbo; Says fate of Anambra now in hands of Ihiala voters; Remains resolute, committed to freeing state from chains of bad governance (Read full text of statement here)

‘It’s not over, we can win’ – PDP’s Valentine Ozigbo; Says fate of Anambra now in hands of Ihiala voters; Remains resolute, committed to freeing state from chains of bad governance (Read full text of statement here)

Nigerian business mogul Valentine Ozigbo, the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Anambra governorship election addresses the press at a briefing at Grand East Hotel, Awka on November 8, 2021 (Photo Credit: Onyinye Omah)

By Chimezie Anaso

Awka, Nov. 8, 2021

Mr Valentine Ozigbo, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the ongoing Anambra governorship election, has said that the contest is not over and remains “winnable“ for him.

Ozigbo stated this while speaking at a news conference in Awka on Monday.

He expressed the hope that the PDP would close the gap if electoral officials and materials were effectively deployed on time for the supplementary election in Ihiala Local Government Area (LGA), slated for Nov. 9.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday night suspended the Anambra election after releasing results of 20 out of the 21 LGAs, except Ihiala.

Ozigbo said the Anambra election would continue beyond Tuesday provided the margin of lead was less than the number of registered voters in places where there was proof that elections did not hold.

He said apart from Ihiala, which had more than 148,000 registered voters, there were places which the party had proven there was no election with over 100,000 registered voters.

He said Ihiala alone could upturn the result with the level of awareness going on,  adding that INEC must ensure that voters did not encounter the frustration they had on Saturday again by making sure that proper deployment was made and machines were functional.

“I want to assure the good people of Anambra that the election is not over, it is still winnable for us, the PDP.

“The over 248,000 votes in Ihiala tomorrow and other places is enough to change the situation, I call on our people to remain hopeful and make it possible by coming out to vote.

“There was no low turnout of voters on Saturday, what we had was technology induced challenges which denied many people the opportunity to vote.

“While we commend INEC for their effort to improve the electoral process with technology, we want to acknowledge the imperfection that marred the exercise, it was a big experiment we did not deserve,” he said.

Ozigbo blamed ‘denominational’ and ‘money’ politics for the current outcome of the process while calling on Anambra electorate to de-emphasise them in order to get the best of the contestants.

Full text of Mr. Ozigbo’s statement reads:

Two years ago, when I announced my intention to run for the governorship of Anambra, my singular reason was to provide the kind of governance that my people would be proud of. Today, that reason is still evident, present, and urgent.

With the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaring the results of the governorship election held on Saturday as inclusive, many are wondering what my stance is.

I am in the race. My party, the PDP, is still in the race. Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 9, 2021, the election will be held in Ihiala Local Government Area. The fate of Anambra is now in their hands. I know they will choose rightly tomorrow.

It is necessary to put on record that the developments in this ongoing election is a reflection of the dysfunction in Nigeria. It was marred by widespread irregularities and violations of Nigeria’s electoral laws.

INEC should be commended for its attempt to digitise the voting process. However, slow voting machines, poorly trained INEC and ad-hoc staff, and logistical challenges heavily marred the process. Hundreds of thousands of our citizens were prevented from casting their votes in this election because of these technical and operational failures.

At this critical time in history, we should be expanding the political space to include more people. What we experienced on November 6 was the antithesis of democracy. The election was not held in many polling units. Election materials arrived late in some and never came in others. Collation and returning officers were forced to sign result sheets, and in some cases, the result sheets were totally fabricated.

Thousands of voters were disenfranchised by INEC officials who shut down voting before the extended voting deadline. The voices of a greater majority of our people were not heard, and the consequence is that they did not get the opportunity to choose who would lead them for the next four years.

Agents of the two ruling parties, at the centre and the state level, embarked on brazen voter intimidation and vote buying at polling units using state resources while the security agents on duty stood by as electoral crimes were committed in the open.

The impunity did not begin on Saturday. It takes root from the process in which leaders emerge. The undemocratic processes within the parties in which the flag-bearers are imposed on the party lead to candidates who are unpopular, insecure, and beholden to those who coronated them.

Another factor that has disenfranchised millions and divided Ndi Anambra is the dangerous strain of denominational politics introduced by unqualified politicians desperate to power.

We came from one God and we are all His children. We must be careful that divisive issues are not allowed to override competency in this race.

Ndi Anambra must be wary of those who resort to segregation based on which church we belong to. They do not mean well. Seeds of division, once sown, are difficult to uproot. To make progress as a people, recognising our oneness and unifying our people for a common purpose is crucial. We must reject mediocrity and, in its place, entrench merit and the pursuit of excellence as a culture.

Anambra, and indeed Nigeria will never be free, will never shine brightly if we do not reject the old dysfunctional ways of doing things. We must strive to a higher standard for every one of us – in politics, business, education, governance – and we must adopt a culture of continuous improvement. This is the only way we will pull ourselves out from the darkness into the light.

I am a child of Grace. Everything that I am, all that I have achieved, has been by the grace of God. I am deeply grateful to God Almighty for bringing me to this day. We are in a good position.

I wish to thank all the brave men and women who caught the Ka Anambra Chawapu vision when we started. You lit the candle that became a torch that attracted the youth, men and women that formed our movement. I am eternally grateful for the many sacrifices you made to bring us to this day.

I am also grateful to all the leaders and members of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for your support and encouragement. The new PDP has proven to be a model of internal democracy, conducting one of the freest and most transparent primaries in recent Nigerian party history.

I thank my friends, family and thousands of supporters who donated their hard-earned money, time and talents to support my campaign. May God replenish you all a thousandfold.

Most importantly, I thank Ndi Anambra for the love shown to me, my family, and my team as we toured the state, sharing our Ka Anambra Chawapu message. Thank you all for your endurance of insecurity caused by poor leadership and political brigandry. I pray that Almighty God will grant eternal rest to the many souls we lost this election season and provide comfort to their loved ones.

As I said earlier, I was pulled by the vision of a society that works for all of us, where the strong come together to lift up the weak among us, where we all join hands as one family to protect the future of our children.

The vision can never die because it is divine. Aka Chukwu Di Ya.

The election is not over. We move forward. Ka Anambra Chawapu!

Thank you all.

Valentine Ozigbo
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Anambra 2021
Monday, November 8, 2021

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