The Independent National Electoral Commision, INEC, has declared the Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike winner of the governorship elections. Wike, the state Peoples Democratic Party flag bearer, polled 886,264 to defeat his nearest rival, Engineer Biokpomabo Awara of the AAC, who polled 173,859 votes. This was the highest margin a state governor has used to defeat his opponent in the current political dispensation. He won by a margin of 712,405 votes.
By the end of the first day of collation and announcement of the results, Wike was already leading with the announcement of results from 15 local government areas, polling a total of 426,369 votes as against 129, 855 votes garnered by Awara. He was able to further consolidate his lead when collation resumed on Wednesday.
It will be recalled that collation was suspended when the elections were marred by violence, massive rigging attempts and some security agencies alleged to have actively collaborated in the chaos. The All Progressives Congress, APC, which lost their qualification to field candidates through courts, had aligned with the AAC. The alignment was spearheaded by Rotimi Amaechi, the current Minister of Transport. But after the disaster that was the attempt to unseat Wike, the Oshiomhole led party was said to have distanced itself from the alliance, saying they were not consulted by Amaechi before the alliance.
It was alleged that Awara was to decamp to APC as soon AAC wins. But during the hiatus before the final collation, the AAC deputy governor decamped to PDP, claiming that Amaechi had taken over the party. Rumors were rife that the governorship candidate himself was under house arrest to prevent him from decamping, but this could not be confirmed by this magazine.
Earlier, the PDP has cleared all the three senatorial seats in the state, thereby increasing the tally of senators in the PDP by three.