The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law wishes to remind the Independent National Electoral Commission on the urgent need to re-scrutinize all its newly recruited adhoc staff or workers that will work for the Commission in the all-important Anambra Governorship Election, fixed for this Saturday, November 16, 2013. This is to ensure that card-carrying party members are not recruited as collection officers, returning officers, presiding officers, etc and to avoid a repeat of the 2011 Anambra Central Senatorial poll incident, during which an adhoc INEC returning officer, one Mr. Alex Anene went and announced the poll result in an Awka hotel.
Similarly, the inclusion of Mr. Lawrence Nwuruku, the former chairman of the Ebonyi State PDP, as one of the Commission’s special Commissioners for the crucial poll is totally frowned at and protested against by our organization. Our firm opposition to Mr. Nwuruku’s inclusion stems from the fact that he is a career politician and a well known card carrying member of the PDP of the immediate past. Many people in Anambra State are uncomfortable with his inclusion as one of the Commission’s special commissioners for the Anambra governorship poll. Every indication clearly points to his inclusion as patently and manifestly bias. It is our call that his name should be removed and another fairly neutral name included.
Ascertaining the true particulars of the adhoc staff recruited by INEC for the poll is extremely important. Recruiting card carrying members of political parties, smuggled into the Commission by their parties with indoctrinated scripts, are very dangerous and have the capacity of rubbishing the credibility of the poll as well as ruining the image of the Commission. The “coupist” announcement in a hotel, of the senatorial poll results for the Anambra Central Senatorial District and the sectional roles played by the electronic and print media therein, is one of such disasters that must be avoided in this respect. Proper policing and monitoring of INEC’s adhoc staff in all the 4,608 polling centers in the State including ensuring that they do not compromise by allowing rooms for holders of faked voters’ cards and non-voters’ card bearers to vote, for a fee, is extremely necessary.
We have credible reports that registered voters are being hunted and haunted in their houses with inducement packages all over the State including Ogbaru, Onitsha South, Onitsha North, Oyi, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Aguata, Anambra East and Anambra West LGAs of the State. Such compromised registered voters are made to tender their cards for extraction of their polling unit pin numbers and other relevant code numbers. Some members of the public who do not have voters’ cards are also hunted and asked to bring their passport photos and other personal particulars such as residence address, age, gender, ancestral origin, phone numbers, e-mail addresses etc.
The latter is designed for the purpose of “creating” voters cards for them, with a promise by their inducers to sort out the INEC staff manning voters’ accreditation exercise on Election Day so as to allow them vote in off voter register manner. These criminal and morally reprehensible conducts by some desperate political parties and their candidates are incorporated in their so-called “house to house campaigns”. One of the political parties that commenced the said “house to house campaigns” in earliest time is the APC. The exercise was later embraced by other parties including Labour and APGA. Our firm position is that INEC should re-scrutinize its entire adhoc staff both senior and junior and flush out or ground those found to be injected by political parties or with selfish political interests.
The all-important Anambra governorship poll will be conducted in the 4,608 polling centers, 326 electoral wards, 21 LGAs and 3 Senatorial zones in the State. It is also our call that the Nigerian security agencies led by the Nigeria Police Force should brace up for the challenges posed by obvious desperation of some political parties and their candidates to be returned as the winner through acts of political gangsterism and brigandage.
Ominous signs are all over the place that except INEC and security agencies do and get it right without fear or favour, otherwise, Anambra will be set ablaze during or/and after the poll. The role of the media in the important poll is also very crucial. Sensational and sectional media reports of the poll conducts are as dangerous as security lapses and breaches during the poll. Such reports should be ignored by the poll conductors and security providers and not allowed to distract them or make them lose focus, which will give room for the alarmists and their paymasters to have a crooked edge over the collective electoral interest of the Anambra People. Other than these, credible media alarms and reports during the poll should be taken seriously and addressed promptly.
Finally, there are credible reports that our dear State of Anambra is flooded with Lorries of “dregs of the society” and quartered in various hotels and other hiding places for the d-day to come. Many of these “dregs” are “retreatists”, who are “forest or jungle warriors” that have “downed many heads” to their “bravely”. If allowed an iota of breathing space in the crucial poll, they will down more heads and drink their biological water with impunity. It is to the information of Nigerian security agencies that Lorries of these “clearers of road for the person (man) wey sabi” are very much around in town. And they should be confined to the “spectators’ corners” and not allowed into the playing ground so as to avert “downing heads” and emptying their killer “cashew nuts” into the ballot boxes for the purpose of producing Anambra’s next governor through “dead and non living votes”.
To this effect, all the 4,608 polling centers in the State especially in urban and river-line areas must be manually and forensically policed with clearly designated strategic “nipping points” and rapid respond squads. More than deployment of armoured personnel carriers in strategic exits and entries in the State, the RRS formations should be stationed very closed to every polling/collection center. Other than those rapid response squads to be placed for general stationing and patrolling of strategic outer places including roads and routes in the State, there is need to create and station about 1,600 special rapid response squads and put all the 4,608 polling centers and their collection centers under their competent care. This will be on average of one RRS for three polling centers/collection center. Each RRS should be made up of joint uniformed securitization personnel with their rapid response electronic and manual contacts made available to core stake holders in the poll.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk