Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Oseloka Henry Obaze has said he was sure of victory if the election is free and fair.
He arrived at Unit 001 in Ochuche Umuodi in Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA) at 1.32pm and was accredited without hitches.
He cast his vote at about 1.40pm.
Obaze scored 379 votes in his unit. The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate Governor Willie Obiano scored 11 votes, while the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Tony Nwoye scored five votes.
Addressing newsmen after voting, Obaze said: “I ran hard for this campaign and I ran to win. I’m confident that if our people have voted and there is no tampering with the process and there are no illegalities in the processing of the balloting and coalition, then we should win this election fairly at the end of the day.
“We’re confident that we’ll win this election, no question about that. One is the people voting based on their conscience, the other is for and INEC and its agents to follow the process and render the results accordingly.”
Shouts of “OHO!!!” “OHO!!!”, the initials of his name, rented the air as his supporters welcomed him to the unit. Some called Obaze “our governor” as, accompanied by wife, he smiled and waved to the villagers, observers and journalists.
Before his arrival, there were doubts as to whether he would not vote as information filtered in that other candidates had voted earlier. Journalists had been waiting for his arrival since 10am.
On why he voted late, he said: “I chose to wait till towards the end rather voting early. I’ve been busy monitoring the situation in the state. Evidently there seems to be a low voter turnout. I don’t know the cause of the apathy.
“You can explain low voter turnout in the city because people might have travelled to their villages to vote. But we don’t know why the turnout has been that low.
“There seems to be a mixed process. I heard that in Okpoko and Umudim in Nnewi there were no voting going on. By and large the feedback I get is that everything has been peaceful which is very gratifying.”
Obaze said he heard about allegations of vote buying multiple thumb printing, adding: “It is the responsibility of INEC to monitor that. But I can tell you we are not involved in that in any way.
“We campaigned vigorously; we’re not interested in buying votes. People voted for us because they believe in our mission. Those who bought votes did so because they lacked confidence that people would vote for them.
“I’ve heard allegations that in Okacha in Aniocha and Amaobia there were people arrested for multiple thumb printing, but these are mere allegations. It’s meant for law enforcement agencies to investigate them.”
He said he would come to a conclusion about the election’s credibility when he gets reports of both local and international observers and party agents.
“A combination of factors will lead us to conclude that the election is credible. Those will depend on what we hear from international observers and from our field reports. My situation room will brief me before we make that assessment.
“I have always said federal agencies have a responsibility to meet their statutory obligation. Same with INEC. I don’t want to question anybody.. It is for the people to say if they have met that obligation and if they passed the litmus test of their responsibility and as it relates to law and order.”
Asked if he was concerned about federal might, he said: “I know the ruling party will be inclined to see that their candidate wins, but I cannot derogate the Federal Government to say they’ve been unfair or biased because I don’t have the basis for that yet.
“It’s when we get in the field report and we see that something untoward happened that we would speak to that effect,” he said.
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