STATEMENT BY THE RETURNING OFFICER FOR THE ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION, PROFESSOR FLORENCE BANKU OBI, *ON THE SUSPENSION OF COLLATION OF RESULTS PENDING THE CONDUCT OF A SUPPLEMENTARY ELECTION IN IHIALA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, SUNDAY 7TH NOVEMBER 2021.*

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

Let me commence by sincerely thanking all of you, particularly the polling agents of the political parties, for the peaceful and decorous manner we have conducted affairs so far. The brotherly spirit which has come through today is not only noteworthy, but also worthy of emulation. As you all know, we have collated results for twenty (20) out of twenty-one (21) Local Government Areas. The outstanding result is for Ihiala Local Government Area where, for various reasons, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could not deploy yesterday. Consequently, based on *Constitutional considerations, provisions of the Electoral Act and the Revised Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections issued by the Commission, supplementary election* is indicated for Ihiala Local Government Area.

First, Section 179 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides that to be *declared the winner of the Governorship election, a candidate must secure both the highest number of votes cast and 25% of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of the Local Government Areas of the State.* Therefore, it is important to complete the election in Ihiala Local Government Area in order to make that determination.

Similarly, Section 179 (3) of the Constitution provides that a *run-off election shall take place if no candidate meets the requirements of Sub-section 2 of that Section. Such a run-off shall be between the candidate with the highest number of votes and one among the remaining candidates who secured a majority of votes in the highest number of Local Government Areas in the State.* This further underscores the importance of conducting election in all the Local Government Areas before a declaration can be made.

Secondly, Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) envisages the postponement of an election where there is a cogent and verifiable reason to do so, especially threat of breach of the peace. *One major reason for not deploying for election in Ihiala on Saturday, 6th November 2021, is security threat which led to staffing and transportation constraints, among others.*

Finally, Clause 47 of the Revised Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections provides that *supplementary election shall be conducted where the Commission due to logistical challenges is unable to deploy on election day.*

Given the foregoing, it becomes imperative to bring Ihiala Local Government Area at par with the other twenty (20) Local Government Areas in this election before we can make a valid declaration or take any further necessary action based on the extant law.

Therefore, I, Professor Florence Banku Obi, in my capacity as Returning Officer for this election, hereby announce the suspension of the process of collation of results and declaration of a winner until the supplementary election is held in the 326 Polling Units in Ihiala Local Government of the State.

I have conferred with the Commission, being the body responsible for fixing the date of the election, and the Commission has decided that the supplementary election will take place on *Tuesday, 9th November 2021* . Thereafter, the collation of results shall resume.

Once more, I thank you all for your exceptional conduct so far and appeal to you to support INEC during the supplementary election so that we can bring this election to a satisfactory conclusion for the good people of Anambra State and to the glory of God.

Thank you very much.

Professor Florence Banku Obi
Returning Officer

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