… Says forgery, low turnout will render the exercise a nullity
With the determination of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to go ahead with the governorship election in Anambra State in spite of the mounting insecurity in the state, the Commission has been advised to think again as the exercise may record a colossal set back in the progressed made so far in electoral records in Nigeria.
National Chairman of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu in a statement on Thursday said any election held under a militarised and tensed atmosphere can only produce an unpopular governor whose emergence will be aided by low voter turn out and election results manipulation.
Recall that the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB had called for ‘sit at home’ between 5th and 10th November across all the South-East states. This announcement is believed was made to ensure that the governorship election in Anambra State is boycotted.
Though, Anambra State has witnessed heightened security breaches leading to assassination and kidnapping of high profile personalities but both INEC and security agencies have assured a heavy military presence in the state to ensure the state is safe for the electorate to perform their civic duty.
But Chief Nwanyanwu insists that the election could still hold at a later date to make way for further peace efforts rather than going ahead with the exercise, the end which he said can only be predictable.
He said, “I raised the proposal that we should tarry awhile, that we don’t want people to die, that even INEC, we don’t want your staff to die. Shooting and killing people is no longer an issue, it is nothing as far as South East is concerned. He is an Igbo, Kill him.
“The constitution provides for election to hold for certain period before the end of a tenure, we can push it up to that point but lets even push it further, and I made that point that we are in a special circumstance that will warranty and guaranty our being safe in tarrying a while. Assuming without conceding that we got to a point that even the election would not be held beyond the constitutional provision, are we going to cut our nose to spite our face?
“Those are such special circumstances that the state assembly will take a position on what to do. You cannot when people are being killed recklessly on the street even by security agencies and you said you should come and vote. They will not come out. Then you will have an unpopular governor. I am talking about coming out to vote, I am not talking about the result that would be written. If it is voting, you may not have 50,000 voters in the 21 local governed areas in Anambra.
“You can see the situation with ad hoc staff, there is no guarantee they will be safe. We are putting 35,000 policemen and these figures, it is just there, go to the state that day, in some of the polling booths, you will not see one policeman in some of these booths. It is just within the town and few local governments. But the havoc is mostly done outside the periphery of the state capital. The police is over stretched, police cannot do beyond its capacity. Poor training, even lack of arms. When police is suppose to have a huge allocation to take care of the security, instead of doing that, we are bringing the army. In other climes, you don’t see the army.”
Nwanyanwu also said that though INEC has been ready for that election but INEC doesn’t control the security. “I will only appeal to Anambra people to come out and vote and also appeal to the security agencies not to harass and intimidate the people that will be coming out to vote, because the report we are getting, of unprovoked behaviour of some of these security agencies, not only in Anambra but in the SouthEast will mar the election.
“So, In the President giving his directives, he should be firm and clear in giving an unambiguous statement as to what is expected of them. We want a free and fair process, we want Anambra people to exercise their franchise, let them exercise their right to chose without interference, because this election is very very important. If the proper person is elected, it will change Anambra from what it has been.”