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Anambra Governorship Election: A Postmortem

With the successful conduct of the Anambra State gubernatorial elections over penultimate week, hope is once again raised that the ship of the so-called Nigeria Project may be sailing on the right course, after all.

Before then, it was indeed palpable that many had seen the many obstacle besieging the exercise as encompassing a coming to the head of all the salient tensions tugging at our ship of state in microcosm.

A condition many – rightly or wrongly – assumed, might, if unchecked, lead to a possible capsize of our very ship of state. But November 6, 2021 has come and gone.

Of course, the most pertinent in the supervening circumstances remained the objection to the conduct of the exercise by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). Prior to the contest, its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, had unilaterally pronounced to the chagrin of state that there would be no elections in Anambra unless the hypothetical Biafra Referendum had come to pass. But IPOB was stopped and the exercise went on as planned.

Most interestingly, this move was rightly spearheaded by the governors of the five South-Eastern states who, hitherto, appeared to be sitting on the fence on account of the supposed mass acceptance of the message. In a joint communiqué issued after their meeting in Enugu they had unequivocally proscribed the organisation for all it was supposedly worth, as well as banning all their activities in the region that was their stronghold after one whose skirmishes Kanu ‘disappeared’ from the social radar that he had so occupied prior to then.

However, the greatest hope for the successful conduct of the poll remained the roll call of political parties that answered the call by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for indication of interest in the election. When in the long run, all the political parties ended up fielding candidates for the contest, the game was indeed set. Even though things were to turn some rough bends as the contest wore on, there was no gainsaying the fact that they were all in the cause of the game. Moreso, in the various intra-party primaries to choose their flag bearers; when, save for the many ‘one-man parties’ in the race, most had finished in total disarray, lingering up to the general election.

Quite sadly, though, it was at these intra-party elections that the role money was to play in the election proper reared its ugly head. A trend that was not even mentioned at the various debates organised for a permutation of the candidates at a time by various organisations. That this was so despite the high level of the discourse in these fora that hugely served to raise the stake of the contest, inalienably points to the fact that virtually most of the contestants were guilty of it. Most remarkable, however, was the high level of sportsmanship the candidates often displayed, always embracing themselves at the end of the frequently cantankerous exchanges traded during the debate proper.

Any wonder then that this money aspect was to yet play out on the Election Day proper. In fact, as observed by many a pundit, it remains the only sour spot on what otherwise would have turned out a very good statement on our democratic experiment as a nation. Yes, as well known as it is that debates do not win elections in this and many other quarters of the world, it still remains a thing of concern that after all the highfalutin dramatics at the debates, all the candidates hoped to win the election by the doling out of cash to the electorate on election day. Perhaps one day the war on corruption will yet zoom in on this. To say the least, it was such a disgrace to see all the major parties engaged in what turned out a bizarre.

Anyway, kudos must of necessity go to INEC for the successful conduct of the elections. At least, for once, card readers were successfully deployed to good effect for elections in Anambra State without hiccups. Also, the security agents should be given pats on the back for ensuring that the many troublemakers that would have marred the exercise were all kept at bay. The new Commissioner of Police, Emeng Eworo Emeng, deserves our commendation. The electorate too, cannot be forgotten for defying the orders of some self-serving bigots to troop out en masse to carry out their civic responsibilities.

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All things being equal, even as the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA candidate has emerged the winner, This Nigeria sees the most telling aspect of the contest as the peaceful manner in which it has come and gone. The crowning glory, however, is that yet again those that want to dismember the nation for selfish reasons have been brought to their knees. Even as Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand, has won the election and given the Certificate of Return, we urge the losers to accept defeat with equanimity and the victor to assume the magnanimity to share victory with losers.

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