Okey Ahaiwe, the former chief of staff to Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia, has been declared winner of the governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

He polled a total number of 469 votes to defeat Ude Oko-Chukwu, the deputy governor of the state; and Lucky Igbokwe, who scored 12 votes each.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the number of total votes cast was 516, with 12 votes invalid, the Cable News reports.

In his acceptance speech, Ahaiwe commended the delegates for electing him as the party’s candidate, adding that he would bring his experience from the private and public sectors to move the state forward, if elected governor.

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Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo, who doubles as the chairman of the Abia PDP primary, said the party will support Ahaiwe in his governorship bid.

This development comes weeks after Uche Ikonne, the elected governorship candidate of the party, died at the National Hospital, Abuja, after a brief illness.

Ikonne, a former vice-chancellor of the Abia State University (ABSU), had polled 468 votes in the primary held in May 2022, to defeat Lucky Igbokwe and four other contestants.

Meanwhile, Section 33 of the 2022 Electoral Act states that a political party should conduct a fresh primary within 14 days in order to field a new candidate, following a candidate’s death.