During the general elections of February and March, gubernatorial polls were held in only 28 states of the federation, leaving out eight states where off-cycle elections will subsequently be held.
Off-cycle elections will take place in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states on November 11, 2023.
This Explainer will focus on Imo State and the specifics of what you need to know about the state’s upcoming elections.
Why is there an off-cycle election in Imo State?
The electoral calendar in Imo State was disrupted in 2020 when Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who won the gubernatorial election in 2019, was sacked by the Supreme Court and replaced with Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the votes attributed to Uzodinma from approximately 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded during the final collation of the general results. He was subsequently declared the winner of the election.
Who are the candidates for the 2023 guber poll?
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has listed 17 candidates from 17 political parties contesting for the election.
However, one PWD (person with disability), the Labour Party candidate, is one of the top three contenders in the race. There are three main contenders among the 17 parties: the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party of the incumbent governor, Hope Uzodinma, who is running for reelection; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), whose candidate, Samuel Anyanwu, is the party’s national secretary; and the Labour Party (LP), whose flag bearer, Athan Achonu, is said to be the first governorship candidate with a disability. He calls himself the “one-armed lion.”
What are their educational qualifications?
Hope Uzodinma holds an ordinary and higher diploma in Maritime Management Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He went on to Washington University in St. Louis to study diplomacy and international relations.
Samuel Anyanwu holds a Masters Degree in Political Administration from the University of Port Harcourt. He also has degrees from Cambridge University, Judge Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School.
Athan Achonu attended a government secondary school in Umuahia, Abia State, before going on to John Cabot University in Rome, Italy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy.
Is there a woman in the race?
According to INEC’s breakdown, there are no female gubernatorial candidates, though two of the 17 political parties have women as running mates.
Nnedinma Ekomaru, the APC’s deputy governorship candidate and Hope Uzodinma’s running mate, is a woman and a lawyer. Her husband was a former PDP governorship candidate in the state and a political ally of Samuel Anyanwu, the PDP’s candidate for governor in 2023. Uzodinma is said to have dropped the incumbent deputy governor, Placid Njoku, who was his running mate in 2019.
Vivian Ottih, a lawyer and journalist, is the Action Democratic Party’s (ADP) deputy governorship candidate. She is the chairperson of Imo State’s National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ). She had previously been a member of the People’s Democratic Party and had run for the House of Assembly under the party’s banner.
In the run-up to the off-cycle election, political parties and their candidates have been embroiled in a slew of controversies. Two factions of the Labour Party held separate primaries, and the winners of those primaries made claims to the ticket. The Apapa faction claimed that the Abure faction’s primaries were invalid, and Achonu’s election was challenged in court. Achonu’s election was subsequently recognised as valid.