The charged political atmosphere in Ika South Local Government Area has finally settled with the emergence of a winner in the House of Assembly election held last week.
According to the Local Government Returning Officer, Dr. Emmanuel Okonta, the candidate of the Accord Party, Mr. Festus Chukwuyem Okoh pulled the highest votes and was consequently returned as the winner of the election.
Though the election was conducted with only very few instances of complaints, the election could not be declared until after more than twenty hours after the poll closed. According our source, this was due to the disappearance of eleven out of the twelve ward collation officers with result sheets.
After dignified pressure from party representatives on the local government area electoral officer on why the ad hoc collation officers failed to appear at their bits, she confessed at about 7:30 pm that she gave the dodgy officers result sheets at about 3:00 pm on the day of the election but that she was surprised when she began to receive distress calls from presiding officers and stakeholders that the collation officers could not be reached.
According to her, after all efforts to reach them failed, emergency collation officers were drafted from Asaba with fresh result sheets which were eventually used to collate the results as turned in by the unit presiding officers.
Shortly after the results were announced Mr. Festus Okoh, popularly referred to as Chuky Dandy praised the voters who defied intimidation, threats and other unwholesome acts by agents of retrogression to cast their votes.
While calling on his opponents to join hands with him to pull the constituency from the woods, Mr. Okoh promised to deliver on his election promises.
"I have just been declared the winner of a contest amongst brothers and sisters. The real winners are the people of Ika South because they weathered several challenges to elect a candidate of their choice. I will not fail them. They have spoken in unison that the will of the people must be respected. I humbly appeal to other candidates to accept the result as it is a true representation of the wish of the people. We have more to gain as a united people".
Continuing further, Mr. Okoh said though he appreciates every vote for him but he cherished the overwhelming support he received in Ward 6.
" I am humbled by the support I got in Ward six. It is in his ward that I received the highest votes. It is clearly a signpost of the desire of the people for genuine change. I have promised the ward with highest vote the sum of N2m. Ward 12 had the highest votes for me but for inexplicable reasons, the returning officer cancelled some units in that ward thus ceding the highest votes to ward six. I will split the money between wards 6 and 12.
Other candidates especially Mr. Felix Morka who contested with him under the APC was praised for his democratic discipline and love for his people.
"My respect for Barr Morka has increased as a result of his respect for democratic rules. To him, the election was a contest, not a fight. I beg other candidates to come on board. "