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July 18, 2018

Anambra Election: Congratulations INEC and Ndi Anambra

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The long-awaited and hipped Anambra State elections have come and gone, peacefully without even as much as a single gunshot being fired; without any loss of life. Thanks to God! We congratulate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Governor Willie Obiano who won a second term, despite all odds.

Congratulations are also due to all the contestants who fought bravely especially those of them who accepted defeat like good sportsmen and women. In every contest, there must be winners and losers. It is not necessarily the winning or losing that is important but, the actual participation, doing the right things and doing things right. This is what our politicians must know and internalise at all times, especially as we approach the next general elections.

Pre election reports in Anambra were frightening, causing several events to be either cancelled or postponed due to fear of unrest. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) called for a boycott of the elections and threatened fire and brimstone to mess up the exercise. But their ranting was totally ignored. Despite the low turnout, the election held and produced a convincing winner. Obiano won even in places where his opponents were thought to be strong.

The People of Anambra, security agencies, civil society organisations, media and all other stakeholders must be commended for the peaceful conduct. Obiano’s re-election is a vote of confidence in his style of leadership and ability to advance the interest of Ndi Anambra.

IPOB’s call for a boycott fell on deaf ears and rightly so because our people knew that the only losers if there was “no-election in Anambra State” would be Ndigbo themselves. What IPOB must realise is that, although their yearning for Biafra is mutual, their approach to it many agree is flawed and unacceptable.

We join Governor Obiano and APGA to commend President Buhari for deploying adequate security to the state at the time and giving INEC a free hand to conduct the exercise. Even when Governor Obiano cried out that his security team had been withdrawn prior to the election, President Buhari ordered their return. Kudos to Democracy!

We, however, want to appeal to INEC to stop repeating the mistake of the past. Nigeria elections are fraught with logistical problems, which shamefully recur in every election. Even after promises of test-runs and overhaul of the entire voting process, we are still amazed that the same issues keep occurring, to INEC’s shame and everybody’s amazement.

Poor logistics present itself in the form of INEC’s inability to supply sensitive materials, especially ballot papers to the polling stations. In every election, Anambra included, there are reports of materials arriving late to many polling stations and card readers malfunctioning. In fact, reports had it that Governor Obiano could not even vote in his ward because the card reader broke down. How long will this continue to happen in our elections?

It is expected that these logistical issues be fixed prior to an election. A situation where these issues continue to plague our elections and mar our democracy is unacceptable. Many people are disenfranchised each time the card reader messes up. Voters are sick and tired of it!

Obviously there is need to review the use and workability of the card readers, because if this is not done now, it could mare the next general election, come 2019. Take it or leave it, definitely there is a hardware or software issue with the card readers. We still have more than one year to do something about it.

It is needful for INEC to put its house in order before any election. The excuses are just not good enough. If the Prof. Attahiru Jega apparatus is not working as it is clear now, a new apparatus can be found, and that is before the next general elections in 2019. INEC has ample time to get it right. No excuse is good enough!



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