Mr Valentine Ozigbo, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 6 November governorship election in Anambra State, has accepted defeat and congratulated All Progressives Grand Alliance’s (APGA) Prof Charles Soludo, who was declared winner of the poll on Wednesday.
Ozigbo, in a statement on Wednesday, said he had called Soludo and congratulated him on his victory.
“I wished him well and prayed for his success,” the PDP candidate said.
Ozigbo said his venture into partisan politics two years ago was among other objectives to use Anambra State to set an example of excellence in governance.
“The second was to unify Anambra and Ala Igbo around a shared vision of greatness. The third was to inspire more professionals to go into politics. I believe the attainment of these would go a long way in changing the story of black men and women in this world for the better,” he said.
Despite the loss, Ozigbo said he would continue to champion the interest of the Igbo, as well as the marginalised and forgotten in Nigeria.
“I thank all the courageous men and women who first believed in me, many of them without knowing me well. You are the heroes of our Ka Anambra Chawapu Movement. I also thank everyone who believed, even without meeting me, who heard our message and came out in full support,” he said.
‘Election fraught with a lot of shortcomings’
However, Ozigbo said the election was fraught with many irregularities.
He said, “This election was fraught with a lot of shortcomings on the part of various government institutions. The security agencies failed to provide a peaceful environment for campaigns to hold. On election day, they were absent from many polling centres, leading to elections not holding or held in situations that allowed for chaos and fraud.
“The national electoral commission presented untrained and poorly trained staff who could not operate the voting machines in many places. They failed woefully in providing logistical support for their staff and so elections started very late in many places and did not hold in many others.
“The use of government funds and resources to corrupt, coerce, and intimidate voters, PDP party agents, and electoral officials was a major factor in determining the outcome of this election.
“All of these led to the disenfranchisement of the greater percentage of voters and staining the course of democracy. I will be dedicating time to champion the positive change we need to ensure that future elections are truly free and fair and that the will of the electorate prevails.
“Denominational politics was also a factor. We need to do a lot more to ensure that competence is never sacrificed on this altar, and that democracy is practiced in line with its truest tenets.”
Despite the issues, Ozigbo said he was more determined to working for a better future “for our children by remaining in active politics and rebuilding our party to be more united and more robust for those who come after us.”