Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Open Letter: Rights Coalition Writes Electoral Commission On Anambra State Governorship Election


Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu
Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State
Anambra State INEC Office, State House of Assembly Road
Awka, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria

Sir,
Final Release Of Voters’ Register For Anambra 2013 Gubernatorial Poll Should Be Attached With Public Statement On The Issues Of  Missing 53 Polling Units, 93,000 Double Registrants , Shrines/Evil Forests Bound Polling Units & Related Matters

We, the leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), the National Secretariat of the Civil Liberties Organization, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Club of the LRRDC, Anambra State Branch, Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety-Nigeria), the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization, Global Rights & Development International and Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), operating under the aegis of Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition, wish to bring the attention of your Electoral Residency to the above underlined subject matter.

It is recalled Sir that your principal, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on 9th of July, 2013, released to the public the timetable for the November 16 staggered governorship poll in Anambra State. The 15-item timetable included the final publication of the register of voters for the said important poll and list of nominated candidates for same. The two important exercises have been slated to take place on Thursday, 17th of October, 2013. While the final publication of the register of voters is in line with Section 20 of the Electoral Act of the Federation of 2010( 30 days before the election), that of the nominated candidates is in accordance with Section 34 of the Act( 30 days before the election).

We wish to remind your Electoral Residency that publication of the said list of voters on the said date is not enough and can never guarantee the credibility your voters’ register management, which has been tainted and fraught with a series of demographic complaints. The Anambra voters and the entire Nigerians would want to know the status of “93,000 double registrants”, which your Commission disclosed publicly to exist in its current register of voters of Anambra extraction. They would also wish to know the status of “53 missing polling units” in nine LGAs of the State. Another important issue or question begging for a clarification or an answer is: What is the fate of “unapproved polling units existing in shrines and evil forests in Anambra State”, as alleged recently by the Acting Chairman of the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission?

Apart from the foregoing, our amiable voters and other electoral stakeholders would wish to be in  further know as in: how many dead voters and non-human objects in the register were deleted prior to the final publication date? How many voters were registered during the official continuous voters’ registration exercise, which took place between 19th and 25th of August, 2013? What number of registered and confirmed voters will vote in the November 16 poll in Anambra State?

Further, has ANSIEC be issued with a certified true copy of your Commission’s cleaned and updated register of voters for its use in the December 14, 2013 rescheduled LGA poll? Were the 53 missing polling units actually got missing due to virus attacks or deliberate manual deletion? What is the fate of the registered voters affected by the 53 missing polling units and those affected by the 2012 flood menace leading to the loss of their voters’ cards, who were disenfranchised by your Commission’s administrative lapses during the recent official continuous voters registration and revalidation?  What is the fate of the software applications, which your Commission promised to install to forestall double registration?  Are those who are going to vote in the said poll also include those imported from neighboring States and registered during the August 2013 continuous voters’ registration by some criminal politicians?

We firmly demand that the final publication of list of voters for the crucial governorship poll should be attached with an executive summary by your Electoral Residency, critically addressing these crucial issues as raised. Such executive summary should be made public and rested in plain languages. We remain unrepentant the exponent of free, fair, participatory and popular elections in Nigeria especially the November 16  governorship poll in Anambra State of Nigeria. If the foregoing issues raised are not properly addressed, then the poll will not only lose its expected wide acceptance, it will also threaten your Commission’s credibility.

For: Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition:

1. Emeka Umeagbalasi:  International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
2. Ibuchukwu Ezike:  Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organization, Nigeria
3. Rufus Duru: Global Rights & Development International
4. Justus Uche Ijeoma: Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety-Nigeria)
5. Emma Onwubiko: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria
6. Aloysius Emeka Attah: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch
7. Peter Onyegiri: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
8. Samuel Njoku: Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch

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