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Contest marked by information, misinformation

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AHEAD to the November 6  guber election in Anambra State, electorate had their hands filled with information but most significantly, some messages deployed to subtly sway them from the right course – exercising their franchise.

  Many conflicting interests played out to promote this unbridled act; some of which include, desperation of some political parties’ agents to win the goodwill of the electorate, the gullible as willing tool to spread information that suit their tastes and ultimately, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB) factor that dictated the mindset of a number of the electorate in their approach to the election.

  While many shunned the polling units not because they so wished, information spread especially through the social media accounted for what finally coalesced into voter apathy that characterised the process. Barely, two days to the election, intensified information spread in the social media emphasised the sit-at-home order of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB) to the Southeasterners and strong disapproval of ndi Anambra’s participation   in the gubernatorial election in the state on November 6.

  Influencers of opinion in the Southeast such as religious bodies, apex Igbo group, Ohaneze Ndigbo and individuals with such capacity should be commended for their roles in dousing tension across the land by ensuring that the order was reversed before the election day. Consequent upon that, the media officer of IPoB, Emma Powerful issued a statement on the Eve of the election, reversing the one-week sit-at-home pronouncement and dissociating the group from anything that had to do with the election.

  Did that sudden recant mitigate overbearing fears in the minds of the electorate at that point in time? The scanty presence of voters in many polling units provides negative answer to the question. Some watched proceedings from their windows, others stayed glued to their TV sets, phones and other devices to keep up to speed with goings-on.

Ordinarily, the deployment of over 36000 security personnel to the state for the election would have earned federal government accolades for their concerns in matters of security of lives and property in the state but on the contrary, the anti goodwill agents went to town, discredited the move and labeled it an attempt to kill Southeast people.  

Citizens left the state with their families in droves  and on the Eve of the election, public transportation terminals were overwhelmed with travelers; all headed home with false messages that Anambra was in turmoil and scores being shot dead each passing hour by security personnel drafted to the state for that purpose.

  Contrary to such insinuations, the November 6 came and the brave electorate went to polling units to cast their votes. Behold! It was the most peaceful election in the state in many years. Though malfunctioning BIVAS machine disenfranchised many willing voters, the overall feelings about the election was very impressive.

Undone with their exploits, the merchants of falsehood posted in the social media, the slumping of state chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) party after getting the performance results of his party.  It went viral instantly. These were all lies and fabrications of the peddlers to suit their purpose.

  Then came supplementary election slated on Tuesday, November 9,  in Ihiala Local Government, where elections could not hold on Saturday for what INEC described as security reasons, it again provided ground for final assault on the sensibilities of the electorate by these rumour mongers. Before anybody could say Jack-Robinson, news has gone across town that Ihiala has been thrown into a war zone as parties struggled to overturn imminent defeat or consolidate victory as the case may be.

  Interestingly, at the last count of the overall result, when both the originally scheduled and supplementary elections have been collated, no blood was spilled and minimal infractions recorded. Unimaginable peace reigned in the state for citizens to savour. APGA flag bearer, Chukwuma Soludo, having polled the highest number of votes over his rivals, and having secured two-third majority votes across the 21 local governments in the state, was announced by INEC as the WINNER!

A new party exploded and jubilations erupted from all nooks and crannies of the state. The trajectory is already on consolidation of right courses and sustaining the hallowed values of Anambra as Light of The Nation and a good message to nay sayers not to pander to negativity and information deployed to destroy than to build.

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