Anambra Guber: Why Election May Not Hold
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this through a representative, Mr Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, while speaking at a forum on ‘Inclusive Election in Anambra and Beyond’, organised by INEC Press Corp in Abuja.
He said, “By virtue of the provisions of Section 1978(2) of the Constitution and Section 25(8) of the Electoral Act, election into the office of a state governor shall hold not earlier than 150 and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office. The commission needs a safe and secure environment for efficient and professional deployment of staff and materials.
“We must realise that young men and women doing their National Youth Service form the bulk of our presiding officers. Some of them are the only sons and daughters of their parents. Some of them graduated from school through determined perseverance in the face of hardship.
“We, therefore, have a responsibility to protect them in the performance of this national assignment. No form of insurance can cover for the loss of one life and the commission will on no account compromise on the safety and welfare of these individuals and all other staff that will be deployed for the election.”
It could be recalled that the state is bedeviled by attacks by gunmen, cult rivalry war and related crimes in recent time.
For the last few weeks, gunmen had killed numerous people, destroyed private and public property across the state.
Some of the casualties recorded included: Dr Chike Akunyili, husband of late Prof Dora Akunyili, erstwhile Director General of NAFDAC; and Dr Lawrence Ezenwa.
Dr Chike was killed at Nkpor, Idemili North by gunmen while returning from a ceremony where his late wife was bequeathed with a posthumous award, but Lawrence and his driver were killed at Nnewi as he was driving to his wife home, Ukpor, Nnewi South LGA.
The gunmen also unleashed mayhem on some police stations, offices of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Directorate of State Services (DSS) and Mr Joe Igbokwe’s house at Ajali in Orumba north and Nnewi in Nnewi North.
There were also the scars of gunshots at the entrance gates of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Nnewi, indicating that they made an attempt to break into the premises.
Similarly, some political rallies and politicians driving political branded vehicles equally suffered in the hands of the hoodlums by either sustaining injury, burnt of their vehicles or outright killing of occupants of the vehicles.
Consequently, the threats have caused all the governorship candidates to either sustain or increase their online (or social media) campaigns or to attend events in disguise, unannounced or through representatives.
Only the PDP candidate, Mr Valentine Ozigbo and his counterparts in the APC, Senator Andy Uba publicly announced suspension of their campaign activities.
The duo also commiserated with families of those who lost lives and property to the destructive orgy of suspected IPOB members and appealed to South East leaders to find lasting solution to it.
The security threats have also led to indefinite postponement of several social events in the state. Among them are the governorship debates organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) earlier scheduled for September, and Anambra Media Summit and Awards night.
Aside the insecurity, the frequent sit-at-home order and “no referendum, no election” slogan being preached by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is a serious factor to be considered.
IPOB had resorted to movement and business shutdown in Anambra and other South East states due to re-arrest of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. The order is been complied to by both private and public institutions, traders and commuters in the south east.
The every Monday sit-at-home order and removal of Nigeria flags from all institutions, seemed to be receiving positive responses. Banks, schools, other institutions and persons in Anambra state currently avoid “Green, White and Green” colours and Coat of Arms.
The compliance is said not to be unconnected with the intimidation of those who violated similar orders in the past.
Anambra state governor, Willie Obiano, who said he was sad over the development, directed all security agencies to step up and confront this monster ravaging their land.
The IPOB are hell bent in ensuring that Anambra guber doesn’t hold and they’ve plundered the state into wanton destruction of lives and properties.
Should the federal government and the INEC not found the state safe to conduct elections, they might be forced to postpone the election indefinitely