Anambra 2017: Time To Conduct LGA Poll And Update The National Voters Register For Anambra State

By Inter society + Other CLOs

Anambra 2017: Time To Conduct LGA Poll And Update The National Voters

Register For Anambra State
(Intersociety/SBCHROs, Onitsha Nigeria: 4th February 2017)-Non conduct

of Local Government poll and delay in cleaning up or updating the

National Register of Voters for Anambra State are two major challenges

facing the Government of Mr. William Maduabuchi Obiano and its ANSIEC

as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and

its Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner. It is also a

serious threat to the upcoming governorship election in the State

scheduled to be held most likely in November 2017.The failure of INEC

and ANSIEC in this regard is nothing short of political exclusion and

gross deprivation of the People of the State of their inalienable

rights to participate in political and democratic processes.

It is on record that Anambra State since 2002 had had a long history

of non conduct of local government election or democratization of its

LGA System, which is a fundamental breach of Section 7 of the 1999

Constitution as amended. Between 2002 when the tenure of then elected

local chairmen and councillors expired and early January 2014; a

period of twelve years, the 21 Local Govt Areas in Anambra State had

existed without elected leadership except caretaker committees.

The long period of non democratization of LGA System in the State was

brought to an end in January 2014 at the twilight of the Peter Obi

Administration when the Local Government election was held. Since

January 2016 when the two years tenure of the 21 LGA chairmen and

their 326 councillors expired, the State LGA System has remained under

caretaker committees till date.
On the failure of INEC to update on continuous basis the National

Register of Voters for Anambra State, it has led to gross deprivation

of over 1.7 million citizens of the State of their rights to vote and

participate in political and democratic processes. By Anambra's real

population estimate of 7-8 million, at least 3.5 million adult

citizens are to be captured by the Independent National Electoral

Commission as registered voters and holders of the Permanent Voters'

Cards (PVCs).
Realistically, three out of every six adults living in Anambra State

presently are yet to be captured by INEC as registered voters and

holders of the PVCs. This was similarly the case prior to the 2015

General Elections and has further increased owing to increase in

voting population brought about by increasing population movement or

migration into the State in search of brighter economic opportunities

and insurgency or as a result of insecurity forced migration. Hundreds

of thousands of citizens resident in the State have also reached the

voting age of 18 from May 2015 till date as well as tens of thousands

of others who have died or relocated. That is to say that Anambra's

current registered voters of 1,784, 136 are grossly unrealistic and

under represented by INEC. The realistic figure should be nothing less

than 3.5million registered voters if well captured.

We therefore view the non conduct of LGA Poll and failure to update on

continuous basis the National Register of Voters for Anambra State as

a serious or fundamental violation of the Section 7 of the

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011 and

its supplementary Section 4 of its Part 11; as well as the provisions

of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2010 and the INEC Establishment Act

of 2004. INEC has also failed in its constitutional duties, clearly

spelt out in supplementary Section 15 of the Part 1 of the Third

Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999

as amended in 2011.
Not minding that political participation through the right to vote is

a fundamental right guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution and in

democratic governments or societies; the Independent National

Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Anambra State Independent

Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) created by Sections 153 and 197 of the

1999 Constitution respectively; have continued to observe these

principles in fundamental breach, by refusing or failing to capture

most, if not all citizens eligible to vote in Anambra State in the

voters' register for the State, as well as failure to conduct election

into the State's Local Government System as constitutionally and

statutorily required.
While ANSIEC woefully fails in its duties to carry out its functions

owing to its parasitic control and whimsical and capricious management

by the Government of Anambra State; INEC on its part, fails

monumentally on account of gross incompetence, partisanship along

ethno-religious lines and other ulterior motives. In 2015, for

instance, the Commission brazenly ran two different policies in its

continuous voters' registration, voters' revalidation and issuance of

permanent voters' cards; in which the northern part of the country

particularly the Muslim population; was given a preferential

consideration as against its southern counterpart; resulting in

availability of PVCs to most adult citizens of the north as well as

millions of underage population.
The preferential treatment was so grounded that Islamic clerics,

village chiefs and heads were deployed to ensure that every member of

the northern Muslim population, whether normal, destitute or disable

was captured as a registered voter and holder of PVC; whereas in the

south particularly Southeast, South-south and areas dominated by

Christian populations and guest communities; the reverse was grossly

the case.
Even when eligible citizens defied the INEC imposed hash conditions

and showed up at INEC offices or registration centres to be captured

as registered voters or issued with PVCs, the local INEC officials

working under firm instructions from above, ensured that such citizens

got frustrated and forced to go home and never to come back. It was on

account of such that millions of them were denied registration and

over 12 million others earlier registered denied PVCs and denied

participation and voting in the 2015 General Elections.

In the present case of Anambra State as it concerns the upcoming

governorship election, INEC is at it again by deliberately refusing

to carry out its constitutional and statutory functions particularly

as it concerns the continuous voters' registration, its revalidation

and voter and civic awareness campaign, which are clearly provided in

the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2010. Prior to the 2015 General

Elections, the total number of citizens said to have been registered

to vote in the State was 1, 784.136 (one million, seven hundred and

eighty four thousands, one hundred and thirty six); out of which only

1,222,002 (one million, two hundred and twenty two thousands and two)

citizens were said to be issued with PVCs.
By Section 9 of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2010, INEC is

mandatorily directed and required to continuously compile, maintain

and update on continuous basis a National Register of Voters for the

Federation of Nigeria and for each of the 36 States and the FCT-

section 9 (2). By Section 10 of the same Act, INEC is mandatorily

required to provide for continuous registration of all persons who are

qualified to be registered as voters.
By Section 12 of the Act, any Nigerian citizen that has attained the

age of 18 must be registered by INEC in person in a registration arena

designated by INEC and he or she is not allowed to be registered

doubly-section 12(2); except where he or she chooses to be transferred

as registered voter from one area to another -section 13. Each

registered voter is permitted to bear only one PVC-section 16 (2).

Issuance of duplicate copy of a voter's card by INEC to a citizen

whose PVC is lost, defaced, destroyed or damaged is allowed in Section

18 of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2010. By Section 16 of the Act,

INEC has sole responsibility of printing and issuance of voters' cards

and by Sections 2 and 22, the Commission is mandated to carry out on

continuous basis civic and voter education concerning its activities.

In all these, INEC is yet to carry out dutifully any of the statutory

functions as above highlighted. The Commission is idly waiting for few

weeks to the election date so as to come out with its legend fire

brigade approach for the purpose of manipulating and rigging the all

important Anambra Governorship Election and its results. The

shoddiness and gross incompetence of INEC in its midwifery of the

Anambra governorship polls in recent times could be seen in the poor

number of valid results released by the Commission particularly those

of the winners of the polls; as against the total number of registered

voters and PVC holders. For instance, in the 2013 governorship poll,

less than 330,000 people voted, with the winner poorly scoring only

180,000 valid votes out of the registered voting population of over

1.8 million then.
We hereby condemn unreservedly the failure of INEC and ANSIEC to carry

out their constitutional and statutory duties in Anambra State as

highlighted above. INEC through its Anambra State Resident Electoral

Commissioner, must inexcusably rise to its responsibilities; likewise

the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC); by

announcing schedules and venues for its continuous voters'

registration and revalidation or updating exercise throughout the

State's 21 Local Government Areas and its 326 Wards.

The Government of Anambra State under Mr. William Maduabuchi Obiano is

also totally condemned; likewise other Governors of the Southeast

Geopolitical Zone for muzzling democratic process in their Local

Government System by using caretaker committees in place of

democratically elected government system. Such obnoxious laws of

States from where the Governors illegitimately derive their powers to

muzzle the LGA democratic process, was also on 9th of December 2016

outlawed and nullified by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which also

declared as unconstitutional the use of appointed caretaker committees

it the Local Government Councils in any part of the Federation by the

Governors and their Houses of Assembly.
The Supreme Court had in its landmark judgment described the action

of the Governors as “executive recklessness” as it concerns their acts

of dissolving democratically-elected local government councils in

their States and replacing them with caretaker committees. A five-man

panel of the Apex Court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, made the

pronouncements in a unanimous judgment it delivered on Friday, 9th of

December 2016, following an appeal arising from the dissolution of 16

Local Government Councils in Ekiti State on 29th of October 2010 by

the then Governor Kayode Fayemi.
By Section 287 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, the decisions of the

Supreme Court shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all

authorities and persons; and by all courts with subordinate

jurisdictions to that of the Supreme Court.
We therefore call on Governor William Maduabuchi Obiano of Anambra

State to immediately dissolve the existing caretaker committees in the

State's 21 LGAs and direct the ANSIEC to conduct election into the

State's LGA System without further delays and in full compliance with

the said judgment of the Supreme Court. Other Governors of the

Southeast Geopolitical Zone that still maintain LGA caretaker

committees are also called upon to dissolve them and organize

participatory elections in them and in full compliance with the

referenced Supreme Court judgment.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: [email protected]
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs)

1. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast Zone
2. Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
3. Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Organization of Nigeria
4. Engineer Rufus Duru (+2348037513519)
For: Global Rights & Development International
5. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project
6. Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum
7. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum
8. Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative

9. Mr. Tochukwu Ezeoke (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Pan Igbo Rights Advocacy Group)

10. Comrade Vincent Ezekwume (+2348171793911)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch

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