ANAMBRA State is one of the states that due to unique circumstances, holds her gubernatorial elections off-season. To this end, the state will have a gubernatorial elections on November 6, and political parties in the state are currently holding primary elections since last week. But unfortunately, some of the parties’ primaries were mired in controversy. Causes of the controversies include, prior court actions, issues of disregard of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Act in addition to the individual political party’s’ rules and regulations in conduct of such primaries.
Even where such issues do not obtain, outsiders and impostors planted such developments to stir discord as was noticed in the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), where some disgruntled agents of confusion strove unsuccessfully to throw spanner into the works..
THE PEOPLE’S Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) got mired in their own webs of controversies with pre-election litigations and challenged primary elections. The internal contradiction in PDP led to the reported election of two governorship candidates, Ugochukwu Uba and Val Ozigbo, in parallel primaries.
ON THE other hand, in APC, all the aspirants but one, along with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, who is one of the strong stakeholders held a press conference in which they urged INEC to note that there was nothing like primary election in the wards across Anambra State.. This leaves one wondering how Andy Uba emerged as the party’s standard bearer for the upcoming gubernatorial election in November. One wonders how the Option A4, reportedly deployed, happened without people seeing the electorates in open fields.
Again, the halls and grounds of the Golden Tulip Hotel touted to have been used in the conduct of the exercise could not be said to have accommodation for as mammoth a crowd as the 48000 voters reported to have participated in the primaries.
NATIONAL Light is not pleased with the developments so far in the state and appeals to INEC to dispassionately and aptly look into the matters.
More so, there are high expectations on Anambra people in the forthcoming election that the acts of impunity now being noticed comes across like taking the state to old days when odious political shenanigans orchestrated; when one political party fielded more than one candidates to vie for a single seat during elections. This created a lot of confusion to the electorates and waste of votes meant for preferred candidates.
NATIONAL Light would want the electoral umpire, INEC to bestir itself this time and assure ndi Anambra of free, fair and hitch-free governorship election come November 6.
INEC should go the whole hog in creating desired awareness to the electorates such as ensuring that the newly created electoral centres have the names of eligible voters transferred to those newly created centres to save dissension that could arise from disappointed electorates whose names may not be located in their familiar wards and voting centres.
Ndi Anambra would expect that in the governorship election, all the active participants- the politicians, the electorates and, most importantly, the INEC and security operatives, would deploy adequate efforts and patriotism to ensure that both the process and outcome of the contest would pass credibility test. This is especially important, given that INEC has promised the use of electronic voting system in November.
IT WOULD be sad if INEC’s promise of electronic voting system in the coming Anambra guber election goes the way of the last general election where Nigerians were promised electronic system reputed to reduce electoral malpractice to the barest minimum, only to be put through manual system fraught with hitches. Nigeria should be proud to join several African countries which conducted elections that were widely adjudged to be free and fair by their citizens, international observers and even members of the opposition political parties. It is not a thing of pride that Nigeria’s various attempts to have a fraudulent-free elections had continued to be largely seen as mockery of ethos and sacrosanct principles of democracy as obtains in civilised countries.
National Light is of the strong belief that the coming Anambra election will be a unique opportunity for the Professor Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC to redeem its image and give Nigeria fresh hopes with a more credible and widely acceptable election ahead the 2023 general polls..
TO SAY that almost every election INEC has conducted has been mired in avoidable controversies and contentious situations is akin to a cliche : worst cases and where courts had to declare the ultimate winner of the election to the bitterness of the electorate. Nigerians would continue to abhor situations where in some places, materials were insufficiently deployed, while at other centres, they were either delayed or not supplied at all. What was observed in the primary election in Anambra State sadly points towards this odd past experience.
IN SEVERAL instances, INEC had brazenly demonstrated its lack of capacity to transcend partisan considerations and to conduct elections that could be seen as transparent, free and credible. Developments that ordinary citizens deem simple to settle by the umpire such as making the public aware of the apt candidates of political parties are left to evolve into complex court matters. It is hoped that the commission will get its acts together this time and let the Anambra contest demonstrate that it is capable of discharging its duties satisfactorily in the 2023 general elections.
The wording and timing of a statement by INEC should be apt and free from ambiguity.
THE misconception or misrepresentation of the National Commissioner in charge of Publicity and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, on the need for parties to allow the Electoral Act to guide the conduct of their ward congresses to produce the delegates to their primary elections only suffice to fuel speculations.
NATIONAL Light also appeals to the political parties to behave responsibly in the resolution of matters from the primaries and resolve to accord top priority to the larger interests of the state above every other personal ambition and avoid actions capable of breaching public peace emanating from frivolous litigations before and after the polls.
THE parties and INEC should ensure a level-playing ground for all the contesting candidates to allay any fear of disenfranchisement or manipulation of the will of the masses.