Anambra LG polls postponed to Dec. 14

By The Citizen

The Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) has announced the postponement of the local government elections earlier scheduled for Oct. 5.

The Acting Chairman of the commission, Mr Sylvester Okonkwo, announced the new date of Dec. 14 at a meeting with stakeholders and representatives of political parties in Awka on Tuesday.

Okonkwo said that 24 days to the elections, political parties had yet to submit the list of their candidates and forms to the commission.

'No political party has submitted the list of candidates. How can we run an election without the parties in the ballot paper or know how many ballot boxes to customise,' he asked.

He also noted that the postponement was due to pressure from stakeholders and political parties that the election was close to the governorship poll slated for Nov. 16.

'Another reason is that people are saying that the Nov. 16 governorship election is close and that we are conducting the local government elections to favour a particular party.

'They suggested that we conduct the elections after Nov. 16 and that conducting the polls under such pressure could result in violence.

'Even with adequate funding, we cannot still go on with all the requirements that are needed to ensure free, fair and credible elections 24 days to the elections.

'In view of all the variables, we held a stormy session this morning following the phone calls and text messages which most of us have been inundated with.

'We have equally prayed and after all the considerations, we are pleading that you allow us shift this election to Dec. 14,' he said.

He said the commission would not want to conduct elections to be marred by violence, saying: 'If anything happens, it might spill over to the governorship election.'

The commission's boss, however, said all the processes leading to the election would continue and urged the parties to submit the list of their candidates to enable the commission to continue with the process.

In a reaction, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Mr Chuks Chinwuba, commended the development, saying it would allow other political parties to prepare adequately for the polls.

'I want to commend ANSIEC. Their pronouncement shows that they are honourable.

'All the political parties want the local government elections conducted, but we want it done in a conducive environment and not in a situation where it is rushed in favour of a political party.

'By Dec. 14, Anambra would have solved the major issue of electing their governor; we will then look at the new date and know what next.'