Anambra Guber: Why Voters Must Come out ‘En masse’, by Harry Awurumibe




Democracy in the simple terms mean an elective government or representative government where the people elect those who will govern them for a specific time limit after which another election will be held for the people to choose their representatives yet again.

The above definition is apt for the the good people of Anambra state who will on Saturday, November 6, 2021 troop out in their numbers to once again elect the next Executive Governor who will takeover from the incumbent Governor Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano whose tenure will terminate on March 17, 2022.

But, for a smooth transition to the new government in Anambra state next year to happen, a new Governor who will takeover from Governor Obiano will have to emerge through the ballot box.

This is the reason the November 6 Governorship Election fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is sacrosanct and every peace-loving or patriotic indigene of Anambra state must come out en masse on that date to perform their civic duties.

Already, the electoral umpire (INEC) has concluded plans to deliver a free, fair and credible election on November 6 which the people of Anambra state and indeed, Nigerians will commend.

As at time of this report, the INEC led by the hardworking Executive Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu has completed all but one item in the time-table for the November 6 Anambra state Governorship Election.

The only item which remains now is for the Polls to commence by 8 am prompt on Saturday, November 6, 2021 just as the Commission has also delivered all the sensitive election materials to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Strong Room in Awka, the capital of Anambra state.

This is even as INEC had three and half weeks ago published the Register of Voters for the Anambra Governorship Election (on October 7, 2021) which met the 30 days to the election as required by law.

More so, each of the 18 registered political parties were given a soft copy of the register by INEC even as in addition to meeting the requirement of the law, the presentation of the register was significant for another reason.

However, the INEC Chairman had only last Friday at a Special Consultative Meeting with Political Parties held at INEC Conference Room in Abuja assured that the Commission is ready for the election.

Prof. Yakubu also said the Commission is out to demonstrate that the successful use of technology to conduct the Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo as well as the recent Isoko South 1 State Constituency bye election are no flukes. He said Anambra election will even be better.

Said he: “the Anambra Governorship election will be the first that voting is taking place in Polling Units since the recent successful conversion of Voting Points arising from the expansion of Voter Access to Polling Units in Nigeria”.

According to him:
“An additional 1,112 Polling Units were established in Anambra State in addition to the existing 4,608 locations. This brings the total number of Polling Units in the state to 5,720. Voters were encouraged to seize the opportunity of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise to transfer to the new Polling Units most convenient for them.

A closer look at the new arrangements showed that Polling Units have been brought nearer to voters hence nobody can hide behind the excuse of inaccessibility to Polling Units to deny himself or herself the chance to cast his or her vote on the election day.

Again, INEC has been magnanimous enough to announce that even the Polling Units with only One Registrant will have INEC officials there to conduct election in the lone Polling Unit.

With the above arrangements and with the use of even more advanced and reliable Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which INEC has expressed satisfaction about its the performance, the eligible Anambra Voters will not forgive themselves if they fail to come out in their numbers to vote for one of the 18 Governorship Aspirants in the race to replace Governor Obiano.

Unlike what may have happened in the previous Governorship Elections in Anambra state, the new INEC device, which enables human recognition through biometric verification mechanism, using fingerprint and facial recognition which was piloted in the Isoko South 1 State Constituency by-election in Delta State, ahead of its deployment for the
November 6 Anambra election, will give voters the confidence that their votes will count this time around.

In the same vein, the Federal Government through the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) has repeatedly assured the people of Anambra state and indeed, the South Easterners that security will be provided for the people to exercise their civic responsibilities.

To make good that promise the Federal Government through ONSA and in collaboration with all arms of the nation’s security agencies have mobilized enough men and materials to Anambra to keep the peace before, during and after the November 6 Governorship Election.

Also, the NSA Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) had last week at an Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) summoned in Abuja by INEC Chairman, warned ‘Rogue Elements’ to stay away from Anambra state and entire South East geopolitical zone especially during the Governorship Election.

He in the strongest terms vowed to deal decisively with agents of destabilization wishing to forment trouble during the Anambra state Governorship Election while also warning politicians in the state to as much as possible shun all those factors that will lead to going to court to contest the outcome of the election by playing according to the rules and regulation of the election.

According to him: “everyone knows how important the Anambra governorship election is to the people of the state and indeed all Nigerians hence the Federal Government is determined to provide the enabling environment for eligible people of Anambra state to exercise their civic duties on November 6.”

“For this reason the security agencies have been strategizing with the INEC and other relevant bodies to ensure a hitch-free election. Also, my office is working with all security agencies in the country to address the security situation in the South East especially in Anambra state”.

The NSA however warned that the security agencies will not standby to watch non-state actors disrupt the smooth conduct of the November 6Anambra election, adding that those who are planning to stand on the way towards a free and fair election in Anambra state should think twice.

Said he: ” this government is committed to the protection of lives and property of all law abiding citizens before, during and after the elections. We have deployed enough security personnel to ensure a smooth conduct of the election. They are ready for any eventualities”

“But all those involved in providing security in the Anambra governorship election have been asked to conduct themselves in the best professional way. We need to do better than we did in Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections which have been applauded both home and abroad”.

“However, I want to use this event to ask all those who want to forment trouble or disturbed the peace of Anambra state that they should think twice.
In as much as we want the law enforcement agencies to conduct themselves in a professional manner, they have been directed to deal decisively with agents of destabilization.

“Any rogue element that will harm the process will not be spared. I hope those who are issuing counter directives are aware that the security agencies will not spare any efforts to deal with them”.

Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman who is also the Chairman IA said he summoned the security meeting to update all the agencies involved in the delivery of Anambra state Governorship Election on the preparations so far made.

He however reassured the registered voters in Anambra State that the choice of the next Governor lies in their hands, that “I urge all and sundry to play their part in ensuring a free, fair, credible and peaceful Governorship election in Anambra State”.

Aside the assurances coming from the INEC and NSA, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Usman Alkali Baba and and Heads of Federal Government Security Agencies including the Army, Navy, Air Force, NIA, NSCDC and DSS, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Anambra State, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji and State Commissioner of Police, Echeng E. Echeng, have assured voters of adequate security protection during the election.

The people of Anambra state therefore have a date with history on November 6 to show that they preferred democracy over any other form of government especially as Nigeria is currently practising Representative Democracy which is the Government of the People by the People and for the People.

Harry Awurumibe is Public Affairs Commentator

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