Nigeria: The Sham Called Election in Anambra State
by Ayo Akinola
The expectation was high. Everybody was ready to be part of history. Even those minors whose age was a disadvantage wished they could be part of it. The Ndi-Anambra in the Diaspora and those in other parts of Nigeria were expectant of the D-Day of the election. It was the day that we all had thought that history would be made for a credible change;
a change to re-make the hitherto battered image of a state crying for repositioning in the comity of progressives in Nigeria.
November 16, 2013, came just like any other day. Residents of Anambra State woke up to this high expectation to exercise their civic rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This right would be exercised with their thumbs on that miniature piece of paper to be provided by our electoral vampire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Anybody that is a keen watcher of elections conducted since the emergence of Professor Attahiru Jega, Chairman of the Commission, in other parts of Nigeria would not but have confidence in the process of the day. We can easily remember the 2011 general election- even though may not be a hundred percent in perfection, could still be adjudged a far-cry from the woes of the past. The Edo as well as the Ondo State governorship elections that brought about Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as well as Dr. Olusegun Mimiko respectively could not but be said to be a movement away from our past sorry state of electoral woes.
Then comes the bombshell: in most of the polling booths in the November 16, 2013 Anambra State governorship election, intimidation of voters with security forces, both the police and the army, disenfranchisement of registered voters as the list of voters suddenly shrink in some pollen booths by about 70%; money inducements to the tune of as much as N10,000 being openly offered to voters while the electoral vampires as well as security agents looked the other way; electoral result sheets being tampered with by both agents of the ruling party as well as by electoral officers. If these are not obscene, then, what are?
As a keen observer of this process, I felt very sorry for my beloved country, not just Anambra State. If the seeds of electoral fraud being sowed in Anambra is allowed to germinate, them the resultant harvest effect is best imagined.
One would have thought that the clean image which the erudite Professor Attahiru Jega started out with some years back would be sustained. But with the admission by him, of collaboration of his staff in this charade, as revealed in his live interview with the African Independent Television, AIT, it is high time we started to review the competence of the man and withdraw the trust which we hitherto had for him.
Nothing could be more credible for the Anambra State governorship election of November 16, 2013 than total cancellation and a fresh poll date announced. I will not support the call for the resignation of Jega over this but I think he should be honest enough to tender apology to Anambrarians whom he has made to go through this stress.
Ayo Akinola writes through firstname.lastname@example.org