Thursday, 16 November 2017

ELECTION MONITOR ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION PRELIMINARY PRESS STATEMENT



ELECTION MONITOR ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION PRELIMINARY PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday 16th November, 2017

Election Monitor (EM) is one of the forty-four (44) Election Observation groups accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to observe the 2017 Anambra State Governorship Election. Election Monitor has 32 observers in its mission who will be deployed across the 21 local government areas of Anambra State on Saturday 18th November, 2017.


INEC has reiterated severally that it is prepared for the Anambra Governorship election. The distribution of the sensitive materials to SuperRACs (Registration Area Centres) is expected to commence as scheduled. INEC also earmarked Wednesday 15th to Friday 17th November, 2017 for the distribution of observer kits for accredited election observers. Election Monitor can confirm that this has already begun and is going on smoothly. INEC has also promised to distribute election materials on time on Election Day to ensure prompt opening of polls.

On Tuesday 14th November 2017, INEC held a stakeholders’ meeting at Professor Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka which was scheduled to start at 11am. After waiting for over one hour for the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the meeting eventually commenced around twelve noon. Stakeholders from political parties, civil society, the media etc. spoke and the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu alongside the INEC Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Nwachukwu Orji laid all non-security issues raised to rest.  However the IGP came into the venue after 3pm, a time when many stakeholders had already left. This is unfortunate and Election Monitor calls on the IGP to show greater concern for stakeholders and the critical issues they need clarification on.


After arriving at the INEC organised stakeholders meeting, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, Mni, Psc, assured that there would be adequate provision of security personnel for the conduct of the elections. He stated that the Deputy Inspector General of Police Operations, Joshak Habilah would be the ground commander of the police force to ensure adequate police presence and coordination of all security operations throughout the election. He informed participants that the State Police Commissioner and some other officers of the Nigeria Police have been redeployed with immediate effect. When asked about the withdrawal of some of the security aides of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, the IGP stated that it was a temporary measure to ensure effective security. He stated that only the Aide de Camp (ADC) of the governor was actually withdrawn but that he would be restored after the election. However just 24 hours later, President Muhammadu Buhari on his visit to Anambra State for the All Progressives Congress (APC) final rally ordered that the Governor’s security should be restored immediately. Election Monitor wishes to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for this action as it has reassured all stakeholders of fairness and equity in the forthcoming elections.

In a recent survey conducted by Election Monitor (30th October to 2nd November 2017) 61.38 percent of respondents stated that they are concerned about the security situation in Anambra State leading up to the 2017 Anambra State Governorship election. In addition, 53.61 percent of respondents stated that they would prefer a heavy deployment of security personnel for the upcoming election which would encourage them to come out and vote with the caveat that the security personnel remained impartial and professional in the discharge of their duties. Election Monitor therefore calls on all security agencies to remain neutral and ensure the security of lives and property before, during and after the election. Security agencies should also ensure that all posters promoting ‘No Election’ should be pulled down immediately.


From all indications and observations, INEC is prepared for the upcoming governorship election. A good number of INEC National Commissioners and top personnel from Abuja were sighted at INEC State Headquarters, Awka on Wednesday 15th November 2017. These personnel are part of INEC’s monitoring team to cover the 21 LGAs of Anambra State during the election. Election Monitor calls on INEC to carry out its activities effectively and ensure it remains neutral in all circumstances and also ensure that it effectively monitors the strict compliance to its guidelines on usage of smart card readers. It is also important for INEC and security agencies to reassure voters as much as possible that the election will hold and will be safe for voters to exercise their franchise in the remaining hours before the election.

As votebuying has become one of the most dangerous threats to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria, Election Monitor is calling on INEC and the security agencies to ensure that exchange of money for votes is not permitted within the polling units or immediate vicinity as much as is practicable.

Political parties and their agents are advised to desist from engaging in votebuying. Political parties are also encouraged to respect the rights of citizens and adhere to the rule of law in their activities. Politicians should endeavour to inform their supporters to eschew violence in all its ramifications.


Election Monitor enjoins all eligible voters with permanent voter cards in Anambra State to come out massively without fear and exercise their civic duty on Saturday 18th, November, 2017.


Signed

Abiodun Ajijola
National Coordinator

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