Anambra election to test nation's democracy, institutions - INEC

INEC-chairman-Professor-Mahmood-Yakubu-e1539903115863

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

By Jethro Ibileke

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said that the November 6, 2021 Governorship election in Anambra State will test the resilience of the nation’s democracy and democratic institutions.

INEC’s Supervising National Commissioner, Barrister Festus Okoye, stated this on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ meeting conveyed by the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

He said in spite of the difficulties and challenges, the Commission has left no stone unturned to mobilize resources for the election.

According to him, the “Commission conducted the Edo and Ondo governorship elections under very difficult circumstances. The Commission conducted elections at a time of global uncertainty and fear accentuated by a pandemic whose unique nuances were still evolving. The Commission conducted elections at a time when advanced countries rescheduled, postponed or abandoned their elections on account of the pandemic.

“The Anambra Governorship election has its own unique features and characteristics. It is being conducted in difficult circumstances. The election will further test the resilience of our democracy and democratic institutions. It will test our determination and resolve to conduct elections in difficult circumstances.

“The fact must be acknowledged that the ongoing agitations in different parts of the country including Anambra State are not new to deeply divided societies like Nigeria challenged by contestations around nationhood and citizenship.

“In these agitations, democracy still offers the best opportunity for addressing them in a peaceful manner and that’s why it is in the interest of Nigeria and those genuinely interested in a stronger Nigeria and the progress of the country’s electoral democracy to create enabling environment for peaceful election on Saturday, November 6, 2021.”

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In his speech, the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said that voters who failed smart card accreditation would not be allowed to vote.

He disclosed that the Commission has enough technical staff to attend to problems that could crop up during the conduct of the election.

Yakubu disclosed that voting materials will not be supplied to 86 of the 5,720 polling units across the state, as there are no voters allocated to them.

Most candidates of the 18 participating political parties and their chairmen shunned the event held at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre.

Only candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Valentine Ozigbo respectively, were present when the meeting began at 1 pm, instead of the 11 am on the program.

Candidates of the APC, Andy Uba and his Zenith Labour Party counterpart, Francis Obiorah Okonkwo later strolled in.

The State Resident Electoral Commissioner REC, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, had earlier confirmed that all the participating candidates and leaders of their respective political parties were duly invited to the meeting.

“We invited all the stakeholders to this meeting. We invited all the political parties and their candidates to this meeting, but they are not here now” he said.