BY EMEKA EJERE
After a long wait, the good people of Anambra State will today, November 6, 2021 go to the polls to elect their new governor who will take over from the outgoing governor, Willie Obiano.
As expected, the atmosphere is tense. Anambra is home to men and women of timbre and caliber in all works of life. Governorship elections in the state have never been tea as political parties always parade people of intimidating profiles.
This year, 18 political parties are in the race for the exalted office. Clearly, three of them are dominating the political space. They are: the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Alliance (APC).
While Chukwuma Soludo, a scholar and technocrat is flying the flag of APGA, Valentine Ozigbo, an entrepreneur and technocrat, Valentine Ozigbo is representing the PDP just as Andy Uba, a full-time politician is running under the platform of APC. However, this by no means suggests that the rest of the candidates are pushovers.
Already, the political parties and their flag-bearers have done their part by touring the lengths and breadths of the predominantly Catholic state selling their manifestoes to the electorates. It is now left for the people to decide on what to buy. This, they can only do with their thumb print on the ballot today.
What is not certain, however, is the level of voter turnout the events of today will enjoy as there have been unconfirmed reports of mass exodus of people from the administrative capital of Awka and commercial capital of Onitsha.
Two major factors explain the uncertainty. One, although the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has cancelled a one-week sit-at-home order earlier billed to commence on November 5, the fear of the bloody enforcement of such orders before now is still likely to take its toll on the turnout.
Secondly, the unprecedented deployment of security personnel to the state by the federal government in a bid to avert possible breakdown of law and order, if not well managed, may turn out to be injurious to the exercise as some will rather stay at home than get exposed to a scary number of heavily armed security operatives.
Interestingly, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated its readiness and commitment to a credible election. Like in the case of Edo State, the electronic transfer of result method will be adopted to reduce chances of manipulation.
We advise that while the representatives of the political parties at various polling units should do well to avoid last-minute vote buying as was the practice in the past, the voters should shun undue influences and simply vote according to their conscience.
Also, the security personnel should conduct themselves in the way and manner that their presence will constitute succour rather than threat. They should demonstrate the highest level of professionalism. That is the only way to achieve the purpose of their deployment. Let the best candidate win. Anambra deserves the best,
We wish the good people of Anambra State a peaceful and credible election.