It is our observation at Intersociety that the all-important Anambra Governorship Poll is here for real. We also observe that except the “perfect crime” that led to “perfect killing” of about 28 citizens at the Uke Catholic Church Adoration Vigil, propelled by politically oiled intervening forces; Anambra’s pre poll season is the best in Nigeria.
The State’s great transformation from its notoriety in the modern world map of poll rigging and rascality governance to Nigeria’s center of excellence in matters of free, non-violent and popular poll and its transformative socio-economic governance; makes it a qualified candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize Award. Popular poll institutes popular and powerful government, which leads to mass and massive development. In other words, another name for popular poll propelled government is “development”.
However, this priceless feat is under serious threat in the State. This is because the puppets, puppeteers and their grand masters of the Anambra’s disastrous past, have staged a fierce come back. This time around, they have found strong allies in the western part of the country, which dry quest for expansionist conquest is never hidden. While the sole interest of the grand masters under reference is “turning Anambra State into business enterprise”, those of their former puppets are negative political power, immorality in public shrine (government house) and “treaty of cession” with the west. In other words, it is “give us Anambra and Igbo land and we will give you the governorship seat” deal.
Those who “bought” Anambra governorship seat from Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in April 2003 and handed it over to Mr. Chris Ngige under stiff conditions are back. More “ Anambra governorship oil block” bidders have also joined. The other day, it was one of them that chased around three security chiefs designated for this crucial poll with a whopping sum of N300M (N100M each) so as to compromise the poll day security in favor of his party. Other field instructions such as “deliver your ward and get an instant sum of N7M.” have been given by some of the said Anambra governorship oil block bidders.
Generally in this poll’s electioneering, we have seen clear acts of desperation on the part of political parties and their candidates. All manner of unconventional methods grounded in political guerrilla tactics were deployed. Among the top contestants are academic touts and morallyl rotten eggs. Some dropped at JSS3 and padded up the constitutional educational basic requirement of “West African School Certificate or its equivalents”. Others crashed academically from top to bottom by reaching final year before crashing to O’ Level. Modern public governance, especially gubernatorial governance is like asking somebody with a junior secondary certificate with primary “social studies” background to come and teach “economics” in the university. Those with these “not less than” academic certificates are “graduates” of “JSS Social Studies” wanting to teach “economics in the university”.
Among the top contenders are “morally rotten eggs”. Some are padded and canonized by the Southwest media. In governance of Anambra State, the stock in trade of “a rotten egg” governor is governance rested in borrowings and statutory receipts only. His or her morally rotten eggness will be a boarding pass off international development funding institutions and “beyond the border resources mobilization” will be grounded to zero. Other core attributes of his or her governance are showbiz or “owambe” governance as well as propaganda and populist governance (government by media and sightseeing).
Though democracy demands that even if people choose a goat to govern them, so be it; but it also allows room for the voters to be properly guided so as to make a right choice. Our proactive engagement in the electoral process under reference, especially the pre-election aspect, is well grounded and pronounced. In the course of this, most of the sharp practices of some front line political parties and their candidates were extensively exposed and brought to public notice. The quality of some front-line candidates picked by some political parties is shockingly disappointing. They are nothing but termites. This political candidates’ choice blunder has, again, opened a room for the agitation for a constitutional or legal provision for independent candidacy on the polity.
Following from the recent field assessment of methods of campaigns deployed by the leading political parties and their candidates, which was done by the Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition, coordinated by Intersociety; we have strong information that the importation of strange persons into the State especially during the continuous registration exercise was linked to the Labour Party. The party was also accused of buying voters’ cards in Ayamelum.
On Wednesday and Thursday evening of 13th and 14th of November, 2013, some members of the Labour Party were sighted at 29, Orakwu Street and Oraifite Town Hall, on Miss Elems Street, all in Fegge, Onitsha, engaging in “voters’ cards buy back” wonder lotto or raffle draw; whereby you submit your voters’ cards irretrievably and thumb-print on a blank space provided in the camouflage lotto raffle tickets. Some of the victims are instantly given attractive gifts like motorcycles, standing fans, refrigerators, electric irons and kettles so as to draw more victims or public rush, while others are promised to be given later.
The massive operation “share money”, including a reported instruction to each of the 326 wards to “deliver your ward and get N7M” is linked to the PDP. On the part of APGA, which controls the State, it is accused of banning other political parties from campaigning in the markets in the State, citing security reasons. It was also reported by a journalist that the party’s agents were sighted in a location in Awka on Thursday, 14th of November, 2013, sharing money among its agents, who will man the polling centers in the State, numbering 4,608. The reporter said they recorded their conversation.
The APC is seriously linked to the inducement of registered voters in their houses with money and other lofty monetary promises, during which they are asked to surrender their cards for extraction of their polling units’ pin numbers and other useful code numbers. Some have their cards withheld, while few who protested and backed down have theirs returned.
Further, at No.9, Ihitenansa Street, Iyiowa Odekpe in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State, a woman, who sells provisions in a kiosk, told Intersociety that the APC people came and collected her voters’ card and gave her N2, 000 and as at 14thof November, 2013, it has not been returned. During an ABS Television live program held in the morning of 14th of November, 2013, callers from Federal Housing, Onitsha and Nnewi areas confirmed that the criminal exercise is a State wide operation that started days after the Anambra INEC handed over the soft copies of the last updated voters’ list to the 23 contesting political parties. The list, which was given to them on 16th of October, 2013, contained 1, 784, 475 registered voters.
The collection of photos of non-registered voters and other personal data including name, age, gender, State and LGA of origin, street address and phone numbers, is also traced to the APC’s doorstep. Mr. and Mrs. Sunday Umejesi, who reside at Iyiowa Odekpe, are one of those approached by the APC in that respect. They were interviewed by Intersociety and they not only confirmed it, but also revealed that a number of their neighbors are “already involved”.
The Independent National Electoral Commission is called upon to be extremely vigilant and be mindful of the foregoing. This has further heightened our earlier fears that the INEC adhoc staff hierarchy may include hundreds of card-carrying members of some contesting political parties. The recent arrest of hundreds of un-named persons quartered in a hotel in Imo State, who are said to have been caught bearing Anambra voters’ cards, is another example. While detailed investigation by security agencies into the incident is required to ascertain the truth, security searchlights should be beamed the more throughout the State and its boundaries to unmask other criminal plots to deny this important poll its deserved credibility and popularity.
In all, the leadership of Intersociety has since July 2013, when the time-table for the all-important poll was released to the public, featured in fifteen television and radio appearances in the State in respect of pre-election public advocacy activities. These include six appearances on the Anambra Broadcasting Service Television’s “Face the Press”, two appearances on the same ABS TV’s “People & Politics” and two appearances on the television’s Onitsha section’s live program called “Issues of the Moment”.
Others are three phone-in radio programs, three appearances on the Onitsha NTA programs and other interviews with the Silver Bird and Channel’s televisions. Over fifteen public statements and letters were issued or written during this period, in addition to four major public forums on “voter education”. Interestingly, all these were carried done free of charge. In other words, all the television and radio programs and interviews as well as newspapers and online publications during the public advocacy under reference, were free of charge. The public forums were also free of charge.
We are very grateful to the managements of the aforementioned media industry for their priceless assistance to us. We appeal to Anambra voters to vote wisely and conscientiously. They have the option to vote in hugely indebted and bankruptcy governance. They also have the option of vote in “showbiz or “owambe” governance” as well as riotous or rascal governance. Option also is theirs to vote out the 2nd Niger Bridge, formidable reconstruction and completion of the Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and the collective Igbo identity.
On the other hand, it is also the wisdom and right of Anambra voters to vote in all the positives mentioned above including the 2nd Niger Bridge and the Igbo identity. They can as well vote out the negatives so mentioned including “owambe” governance, Igbo political slavery, huge public indebtedness and rascality governance.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk