19th November, 2013
The gubernatorial election held last Saturday in Anambra State has proved in no small measure that the Attahiru Jega- led Independent National Electoral Commission is incapable of conducting credible elections in this country. And it is indeed regrettable that the electoral commission has lost the only chance it had to prove to Nigerians that it is ready for the 2015 General Elections.
What transpired in Anambra state was not just a show of shame but could pass as a chicanery. The election was marred by large scale irregularities, fraud in the voters’ register, unavailability of result sheets, harassment of party agents and alleged monetary inducement of voters. Still the most shameful aspect of that sham called election is the brazen manner in which the irregularities were peddled by INEC without any remorse.
What explanation does the electoral body has for excluding the names of the gubernatorial candidate of the People Democratic Party, Tony Nwoye and his family from the voters’ register? What reason does it have for not conducting elections in Idemili North local Government area, the stronghold of Dr. Chris Ngige, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress? Yet it went ahead to conduct a rescheduled election in that same local government on a Sunday, a day usually regarded as sacred by the people. Yet to prove that it was acting a script written by the powers that be, INEC went ahead to announce the results of an election it had declared inconclusive. What charade could be worse than that?
The implication of announcing the results is not far-fetched. The results that have been announced are abound to influence voting in the supplementary election. It will also worsen the irregularities that had already marked the election.
It is also disheartening to note that in spite of the fact that the gubernatorial candidates representing the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party, Dr. Chris Ngige, Tony Nwoye and Ifeanyi Ubah respectively condemned the election and called for cancellation of the election, INEC went ahead to declare Dr. Willie Maduabuchi Obiano the front runner of the election. Nothing can be more scandalous than this. The fraud is so glaring that INEC conducted a rescheduled election three leading contenders had already boycotted.
Available evidence points to the fact that the so-called election was very fraudulent. The fact that some people were caught indulging in electoral malpractices have been arrested by the Anambra State Police Command is enough proof to show that INEC conducted last Saturday was not an election but a selection. If INEC had a sense of justice and fairness, it was supposed to listen to the complaints and grievances of the affected political parties and make sure that those abnormalities were redressed. But, unfortunately, that was not the case.
Some may say that electoral malpractices were common to all the political parties, and that the only difference was that one party out-rigged the others. So they want the status quo to remain. Taking such a stance is tantamount to legitimizing criminality. Any person, no matter his or her political affiliation, caught indulging in electoral malpractice should be made to face the wrath of the law.
INEC had no reason to fail in Anambra State. If the massive rigging that characterised last Saturday’s election is anything to go by, we are calling on INEC to cancel the entire results. This is the only way to redress the wrongs perpetuated during the election and allow the wishes of the people to take precedence.