Anambra State Assembly Poll: Intersociety Congratulates APGA & Warns Against Defection & Bastardization Of The Hallowed Mandate
(Democracy & Voting Rights, Onitsha Nigeria, 12th April 2015)-We humbly wish to congratulate the APGA Political Party, its State Government and the electorates in the State for non violent conduct of the just held State Assembly Poll. The security agencies in the State are also commended for their effective securitization roles; likewise the voting population in the State for conducting themselves in non violent manner during the poll. The State Government and its Party under Chief Willie Obiano deserve special commendation for winning convincing majority in the 30-seat State Assembly, to be made public officially by the State office of Independent National Electoral Commission in hours to come.
However, the general atmosphere following the poll was completely charged following the battle readiness of the Government of Anambra State and its main rivals-the PDP and the APC in the context of thuggery and counter-thuggery approaches all gearing towards mandate protection and counter-mandate protection. The charged atmosphere must have been as a result of the 28th March 2015 Presidential and National Legislative polls, which outcomes the State APGA led Government claimed were grossly manipulated. In the referenced State Assembly poll, it was observed that most of the 4,608 polling units and 30 State Assembly constituencies were flooded with mandate protection thugs; thereby putting the voting arenas under a police State. The monetary costs of hiring the referenced thugs must also have been enormous.
Conversely, the collective decision of the Anambra electorates to keep the State ruling party-APGA functioning in the State is sacrosanct and irrevocable. Democracy thrives where the electoral wishes of the people are unreservedly respected and not toyed with by way of decampment or electoral manipulation. The referenced electoral decisions are also a password to good governance and rule of law. The governance performance index following the sacred electoral decisions is revisited, analyzed and assessed in the next governorship and legislative polls.
At Intersociety, we firmly believe in the sanctity of the electoral wishes of our people no matter the party affiliations and inter and intra personal relationships; and any attempt to subvert such sacred electoral decisions must be resisted always until the subversions are upturned socially and judicially. On this note, we call on the Anambra State office of INEC and its REC to thoroughly revisit the widespread outcries following the conduct of the last National Legislative poll in the State so as to ensure that wrong candidates were not declared as winners in all the State’s three Senatorial and eleven House of Reps seats or any part thereof. The outcome of its findings can be submitted to the State’s National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal for easy and credible judicial reversal or otherwise.
In the in-house investigation under being demanded, the polling units result sheets called Form EC8As from all the polling units in the State, which are presently in possession of the Commission in the State, shall be thoroughly investigated to ascertain their authenticity or otherwise.
For instance, was the result sheets under reference duly signed by all party agents recognized by the Commission and the polling booths electoral officers and security attaches? Are there areas or polling units where result sheets like Form EC8As were not made available before the end of the poll? If yes, were there elections in the areas? If yes, were their results entered in sheets other than INEC marked result sheets? What was the cause of unavailability of the INEC result sheets in the referenced voting areas? Provision of concrete answers to the forgoing will expressly determine whether or not all or many or some results of the referenced poll were written outside the polling booths. Our earlier resolve to join forces with those whose sacred electoral mandates must have been brutally subverted till they recover them judicially irrespective of their party affiliations; remains irrevocable.
Consequences Of Defection Or Decampment:
Against the backdrop of rumors renting the air that the APGA Government in Anambra State and its elected legislators will soon collapse into or decamp to APC, we wish to warn, assuming it is true that the socio-political consequences of it will be politically, culturally, economically and morally calamitous for the Government of Chief Willie Obiano, the people of Anambra State and the entire Igbo race.
Any political decision taking today on the basis of false impression of the APC’s popularity following its winning of highly ethnically divided and segregated presidential poll will expressly be seen popularly as a height of political naivety and miscalculation. By next three years when the Anambra Governorship poll will be held, the referenced infantile political decision will bounce back on its takers. Today, expectations placed on the table of APC and its President-elect are in legion. The immediate outcome is present mechanical popularity of the Party, which will certainly be the opposite in months to come when the chicken must have retired home to roost.
We therefore call on Chief Willie Obiano’s administration not to fall into the trap of political naivety of the moment. It is this same political naivety of the out-going President and his advisers that sent him parking. Believing that INEC’s lumping of most of the PVCs in the hands of the Northern Muslim citizens including millions of under-age voters in the North would not rob his electoral chances on account of his administration’s perceived large concentration of democracy dividends in the area; was the most undoing and worst political calculation of our times on his part.
Our Governor of Anambra State must also be reminded that the mass defection of members of the PDP and other parties to the APC particularly by leading politicians; does not go beyond political trading and leprosy. As matter of fact, if Mr. Muhammadu Buhari truly wishes to fight corruption, then the latter day decampees should be arrested en masse, investigated and charged for corruption including massive looting of public treasuries. It is correct to say that most, if not all of them are thieving politicians who enslaved and impoverished their States and people when they held political offices. The major aim of their decampment is either to seek protection and impunity from criminal prosecution or to continue to loot and plunder the public treasuries at the State and national levels under APC’s federal leadership.
All that is required of Chief Willie Obiano’s administration is remain focused and civilized and avoid running distracted, rancorous and diversionary government and governance. His government does not need to be politically leprous and parasitic in order to get the State’s share of federal allocations and other sundry federal attentions. The best his government can do is to maintain a harmonious relationship with the incoming Federal Government without having to compromise the State and its political party’s sacred electoral mandate as well as the socio-cultural identity of its people and the entire Igbo race.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Barr Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program