Supporters of Labour Party jubilated Wednesday in Umuahia, after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the party’s candidate Dr Alex Otti winner of the March 18 Governorship election in Abia state.
Tricycle (Keke) drivers, traders and other residents trooped to the streets in a carnival-like manner to celebrate the victory.
Many of the residents waved the Labour Party (LP) flag, while Keke drivers and other motorists hung same in their vehicles.
The jubilation caused human and vehicular congestion amid the blasting of music in different parts of the metropolis.
A cross section of the jubilant residents told NAN that the state had been liberated by LP’s victory.
Mr Uche Okorie said: “Abia is now liberated because this state has been living in bondage since 1999.
“We have been waiting anxiously for this time since Saturday that the election was held.
“Everybody is happy and I know that Dr Alex Otti will not disappoint us,” he said.
Another resident, Mr Daniel Abariukwu, who clutched a bottle of beer while dancing joyfully, said that he was the happiest person.
“I’m overjoyed because what we have been expecting has finally come.
“With Otti’s victory, our state is set free at last.
“Abia has been grossly underdeveloped because of bad leadership, but I thank God that we now have a technocrat, Otti, who knows what to do to change the narrative,” Abariukwu said.
Also, a trader at Isi-Gate, Mrs Joy Kalu, said that with the victory, she could begin to boast of being an indigene of Abia.
She said: “I used to be ashamed of telling people that I’m from Abia, because of the level of decay in my state.
“We have suffered so much under the PDP and I know that God has heard our cries with this sweet victory,” she said.
A keke driver, who simply identified himself as Princewill, said he decided to offer passengers free ride for the rest of the day in celebration of the victory.
“I have been carrying people to their destinations without collecting money from them since INEC announced the result today.
“I believe that Otti’s victory will bring an end to intimidation, illegal levy and exploitation we suffer in the hands of touts under the PDP-led government,” he said.
INEC earlier declared Otti the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Abia.
The State Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Owerri, Prof. Nnenna Oti, declared the result on Wednesday at the State Collation Centre, INEC, Umuahia.
Oti said that LP polled 175,467 votes to defeat his closest rival, Chief Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party, who polled 88,529 votes.
Chief Enyinnaya Nwafor of Young Progressives Party scored 28972 votes to come third, while Chief Ikechi Emenike of All Progressives Congress polled 24,091 to emerge fourth.
The state has been ruled for the past 24 years of the country’s return to democracy by PDP.