Despite the Independent National Electoral Commission’s best efforts, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), has raised major doubts regarding voter participation in the governorship election in Anambra State (INEC).
Nzenwa said the people of Anambra are afraid to vote on November 6 because of the actions of non-state actors in the state, speaking during a Special Consultative Meeting of Political Parties convened by the election umpire.
Due to the security scenario in Anambra State, Nzenwa advised INEC to address unsubstantiated claims that INEC adhoc employees are massively rejecting deployment to polling locations and especially Anambra State.
He claimed that the high expense of operating the election around the billionaire Governorship candidates and the Commission itself was due to these vicissitudes, and that it was for these reasons that some IPAC members called for the poll to be suspended to enable time for sanity to prevail.
Given the circumstances, Nzenwa, who is also the Chairman of the African Action Congress (AAC), expressed worry about whether the Anambra election can be assessed in accordance with best worldwide practices.
“The 2021 Anambra Gubernatorial Polls has not only been adjudged as the most expensive by credible pollsters with returnee of billionaires in hard currency struggling it out. This equally was validated by the Commission few days ago as it attested that it has cost it huge financial and material investment.
“On the flip side, the journey to this election has been strewn with pallets of uncertainties, not that the Commission had not prepared enough for it nor the political parties ill-equipped to participate but that actions and inaction of Non-State Actors seem to be throwing spanners in the works as wonton killings and destruction of property have continued unabated.
“It is this unfolding happenings that led to suggestion by some of us that the Anambra Polls be postponed to allow for some level of sanity to return before the polls is conducted. But some dissented.
“Truth, is that, the people in Anambra are scared stiff and have been cowed to stay indoors for the greater part of the days in the last few months. You see this on their faces, you sense this in the air they breath, you behold fear-stricken population fighting to fend for themselves in the wave of brutal and conscienceless attack on their lives and property.
“For a proper, well-credentialed poll with compliments of acceptable electoral best practices to be held in an environment as this is most unlikely, electoral polls literature across the globe testify to this. We encouraged the Commission to put their best leg forward in this regard”.
He said what is happening in Anambra in the run-up to the election will cause very high voter apathy that may raise questions thereafter.
“With all that is taking place there, with the huge money playing its role as it is still doing , with the State playing her role as they are doing, and currently still figuring out how possible they can creatively tame the audacity of the so called ‘rascal aggressors’, but those we do fear might not play their role are the people, the people that are going to vote.
” It follows, therefore, that the money may be there, the State may have its way, but to draw the people out to vote enmasee might not be an easy task.
“The people are torn between two forces, on one hand, is a force driven by credible and genuine motivation to sanitize the Anambra polity for peaceful polls to take place, on another other hand, is a band of non-state actors who are adept in guerrilla antics – they show up and disappear, ducking and causing havoc, which ultimately may lead to collateral damage in the face of major clash” he stated.