LESSONS FROM ANAMBRA ELECTION
nerPostTitle">LESSONS FROM ANAMBRA ELECTION Written by Prince General http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/blog/?author=1 http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/blog/?cat=356 Mar 1, 2010
Lessons from Anambra election
By MADUKA NWEKE
Monday, March 01 , 2010
The gubernatorial election in Anambra state has come and gone, but the effect will continue to linger. The election turned out to be a yard stick for others to follow. This is elections which even the losers and oppositions walked to the winner and congratulated him.
The courage to congratulate the winner stemmed from the fact that from all available reports from both Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Officials and Monitors, the election has remained one if not the best in recent times.
Foreign monitors that were on ground in Anambra state to monitor the election were satisfied with the process and the outcome of the election.
The Anambra State Association-World (ASA-Worlds), a group comprising representatives from United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Canada and Hong Kong, after reviewing the conduct of the exercise, acknowledged a remarkable improvement and therefore declared the election as free and fair and a true reflection of the people's wishes. The group which said that it visited various INEC distribution centers, polling stations as well as the three senatorial districts of the state, however, listed the problems of the election to include various types of mistakes in the voters' register, lack of information from INEC to voters and late distribution of election materials.
Some of the security agents and electoral officers that were posted to the state for the election happened to have come from various states in the country thereby creating situations of neutrality as to who they can support to rig. This created the most enabling environment that gave the officials the opportunity to do the job for which they were employed without fear or favour. One of the electoral officers, Mr. James Yiyeh, in charge of Ogbadibo, Local Government Area in Benue state who was posted to Ayamelum Local Government Area has this to say.
'This election is the freest and fairest elections conducted by this INEC in terms of violence, snatching of ballot boxes, shooting and all that. The electorates voted without any form of intimidation or coercion and that gave us the conducive atmosphere to finish the voting exercise in record time. I can also deduce that the opinion held by the public that elections in Anambra state can never be violence free is just the creation of those who intend to rig. The election shows that Peter Obi is very much on ground and has the acceptance of the people,' he said.
Oyeniyi Olayiwola, the Presiding Officer as well as the Collection Officer for IGBAKWU said the election in the Igbakwu Town was very free and fair. He said that his greatest happiness was that every body that saw their names on the voters' register voted and retired to their homes only to come back when the whole results were collected for onwards declaration.
Olayiwola stated that even though there was little confusion as a result of voters going from booth to booth in search of their names, they remained willing 'This atmosphere of tranquility gave us the room to conduct the election faster than it would have been. I am very surprised that the election was calm every where contrary to the impression given to us that the state is volatile and prone to all electoral vices. In my surprise, I kept calling my colleagues in other Local Government Areas and they were all relating the same. I realized that there were hitches in Omor, Ifite-Ogwari where some people caused little confusion. However, it was not enough to say that the election in the state was full of irregularities,' he said.
It will be recalled that an association of youths of the state that live in Lagos which go with the name; Anambra Democratic Initiative (ADI) did not stop at calling Ndi Anambra to support the call for free and fair election in the state. The group left no stone unturned in making sure that the election was free and fair. They went further to tell non-Anambrarians to steer clear from the state during the February 6 Gubernatorial election. This according to them will give Ndi Anambra the veritable opportunity to chose who they wish to pilot the affairs of the state for the next four years.
Notwithstanding the fact that they made the calls via television jingles, they made sure that each and every member of the group went home to ensure that their aspiration of seeing Anambra out of the woods through free and fair election was achieved. It is uncommon to see People's Democratic Party being in the picture of those that will contest an election result because they will always make sure that their candidate emerges the winner, whatever that comes afterwards nonetheless. This time, not only that the party lost, the candidate did not waste time to extend hands of solidarity to the APGA candidate that won the election.
Even prior to the election proper, every Nigerian including Ndi Anambra are all aware that the battle for the state would be between Peter Obi the APGA candidate and Chris Ngige of AC. The issue is not in the party but in the personalities involved. Ndi Anambra have not lost memories of the wanton destruction of the few infrastructures left in the state which cannot be mentioned without the Uba family being remembered. The Ubas are king makers in PDP circles but the fact that PDP preferred Prof. Soludo to him made him a distant failure even before the election. He was able to garner the few votes because his brother Chris Uba has the political structure in the state.
The election really has come and gone, we should learn lessons there from otherwise, we shall repeat the mistake and commit the same offence a second time. The ultimate lesson to be learn from the Anambra election is that if INEC chooses, it can conduct a free and fair election that every body can beat the chest and say truly Nigeria is the giant of Africa who can tow the line while others follow. That is the yearnings of every Nigeria, to take its rightful position among comity of nations.
•NWEKE writes from Lagos.