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INEC dumps 2010 Anambra voter register

By Okey Maduforo, Correspondent, Awka

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to organise fresh registration of voters before the governorship election in Anambra State.

Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, announced this at a news conference in Awka, the state capital, on Thursday.

This means the electoral body would dump the voter register that generated heated controversy during the 2010 governorship poll in the state.

Another governorship election in the state is due in November.

Onukaogu told newsmen: “I have just returned from Abuja where we had meetings on the issue. The exercise (registration) will take place long before the election and we have already started modalities for the registration of voters and verifications.

“The matter was well discussed at the headquarters in Abuja and I must tell you that Anambra will have a new and comprehensive register before the election.

“Those who are accusing the commission of manipulations are only being funny. There is nothing like that at all.”

Similarly, Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in Anambra, Oby Okafor, spoke to reporters shortly after the group's meeting, warning that the absence of a fresh and comprehensive voter register for Anambra State is a ploy to manipulate the electoral process.

Okafor also vowed that the CNPP will not allow undemocratic actions to take place in the state, as, according to her, it gives room for an unpopular candidate to emerge to the detriment of the people.

“We in CNPP would not take kindly to the use of the old INEC register to conduct the 2014 governorship election. We have eligible and qualified voters in the state since 2010 and they should be part of the exercise.

“So we expect INEC to be alive to its responsibilities.”

Earlier, a group, Anambra North Democratic Forum, had threatened not to participate in the election unless a new voter register was put in place.

Meanwhile, five governorship aspirants from the yet to be registered All Progressives Congress (APC) have closed ranks to produce a candidate for the party in the coming poll.

The aspirants include Chris Ngige and Godwin Ezeemo of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), George Muoghalu of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Enugu Hygers Igwebuike of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and Annie Okonkwo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Confirming this development, Muoghalu told Daily Independent: “We have been making consultations on what to do and as I speak with you we have been able to harmonise issues and tidy all grey areas about APC and Anambra 2014 gubernatorial election.

“We are keeping all arrangements close to our chest and most certainly the APC would come out with a framework for 2014 election and I can assure you all the aspirants are working towards that.

“It is not going to be a do or die affair. We are working towards one goal and we shall keep you posted.”

And speaking on behalf of ACN, ANPP, CPC, chairman of the state ANPP, Pat Orjiakor also told reporters in Awka: “We have been networking and the crisis in APGA and PDP has also bettered our chances, and we in ANPP are not sleeping.

“The party has been able to command followership at all levels and four more aspirants in our party have indicated to jettison their ambitions for the success of APC and the followership is great so far.

“I have been able to galvanise my fellow party chairmen in CPC, ANPP, towards ensuring the victory of APC in Anambra State.”

Also speaking, Ngige, who is the South East Merger Chairman of the APC, noted: “We are not talking about Anambra State alone but the entire South East geopolitical zone.”

“With the track record of APC members who are still in governance and those that are not in governance, it is evident that APC is the party to beat.

“We are harmonising and in the case of Anambra State the facts are there to see that since I left office in 2006 only 7 per cent of development has taken place. But when APC comes into the saddle Anambra will always know the difference because we did it before.”

Hygers Igwebuike of the CPC also told Daily Independent: “We believe in the internal democracy of the party and I can assure you that after the primaries, a candidate would emerge and everything will fall in place.”

Ezeemo of the ACN said: “What Anambra State is going to see will be a total departure from the past and as I am speaking with you, we are gathering momentum.

“We have a common goal and that is to put APC inside the Government House Awka. There is no political party that is capable of wresting this from us as a party. Anambra APC is firm on the ground and when we present and execute our master plan it will be victory unlimited.”