The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have in the last few days been campaigning for the postponement of the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State; using surrogate groups and citing different reasons.
The APC employed an overnight nongovernment organization known as the Save Nigeria Movement (SNM) to purport to hold a press conference on October 17 at 360 Hotel at Utako, Abuja; where it demanded the resignation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Yacoob Mahmood, and the National Electoral Commissioner for Logistics, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu; over the ludicrous allegation of receiving a four million dollar ($4m) bribe. The PDP, on the other hand, has claimed through motley NGOs which feed directly from the hands of former Governor Peter Obi that the security challenge in the state makes it necessary that the election be shifted by one month. What is more, the various attempts by Anambra APC to compromise the INEC leadership have proved disastrous.
Neither the APC nor the PDP is ready for the election. All Anambra people know the two parties are no longer serious with the election.
They gave up long ago. For instance; the APC has not been able to flag off the gubernatorial campaign even less than one week to the election. Both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo bluntly refused to attend its flag-off on each of the three occasions it has been scheduled unsuccessfully.
The reason has to do with the fraudulent manner in which Senator Andy Ubani; emerged the APC nominee since June 26. Even though no electoral materials were brought to any of the 21 local government areas and not one single person voted at the congress which never held; it was announced that Uba won as many as 321,405 votes in a state where the entire APC numerical strength is not up to 20,000! All other 13 aspirants who sought the APC gubernatorial ticket with Uba are diametrically opposed to him; with Chief George Moghalu; the Managing Director of the Inland Waterways Authority, in court where he is asking the judiciary to declare that the APC has no candidate in the election. There are strong indications that The Presidency shares his view because neither President Buhari; an upright man, and Vice President Osinbajo, an evangelical pastor, wants his name soiled.
The PDP appears to have given up on the November 6 since September 29; when it announced the suspension of its electioneering campaign ostensibly on account of the security situation in Anambra State. Most Anambra people took the reason with a pinch of salt. The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo; was attacked on March 31 in his hometown of Isuofia and lost three gallant police officers in the process. Yet, Professor Soludo has been campaigning ceaselessly, drawing huge crowds. As he was preparing to campaign in his local government area of Aguata on Friday, October 29; gunmen attacked two security officers helping to provide security at the venue. Still, he continued with the campaign with APGA top leaders, including the wife of the Anambra State governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano. Earlier on September 26; gunmen had assassinated the APGA chairman in Ward One of Uruagu, Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Nwokenagu. The same attackers had tried unsuccessfully to kill Dr Nelson Omenugha; the coordinator of the Youth Earnestly Ask for Soludo who is also a son of the Anambra State Commissioner for Basic Education, Professor Kate Omenugha.
By refusing to capitulate to intimidation and violence; both APGA and Soludo have displayed boldness and courage, which are critical leadership requirements. They have gone a long way to restore confidence in the democratic process.
All Nigerians are delighted that both INEC and security agencies have constantly assured ndi Anambra of their readiness to conduct the election. It is, indeed, gratifying that up to 34,000 policemen led by a Deputy Inspector General of Police will be in Anambra for the election; joined by personnel from the army, navy, State Security Service and the National Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Anambra people are ready to vote.
The election has to hold.
It is regrettable that neither the PDP nor the APC is ready for the election.
They are hunted by their past.