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ANAMBRA GOVERNORSHIP 2021:“Nna, be careful, obodo etigo kwa” as November 6 gets closer

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DR. HARRIS CHUMA-ODILI

It is no longer news that up until the time of putting this report together, no political parties in Anambra state have officially flagged off campaigns. Gauging the low election activities going on in the state, the developing story perhaps, wouldn’t be far from the reality on ground, that Anambra governorship election scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 6, 2021 may no longer be sacrosanct. The political climate in Anambra is cold and quiet, the momentum is lost, the spirit is dampened; there’s little or no electioneering activities going on in the state. Without mincing words, the political process leading to the polls is on all-time low.

According to recent findings, the major political actors in the state have all deserted the courtrooms, abandoned the streets and presently taking refuge in their homes, obviously scared stiff. The reason is not far fetched, there’s a general feeling of insecurity in the country, and Anambra is not a green area. Who will fund an election he is not sure it would go as planned?. Even the political money bags have lost interest in the system. Shocking but true, most of the governorship candidates are hibernating in Abuja. Everyone seems to be seating on the fence, with hands akimbo, watching as events unfold. Prominent political investors are apparently not looking good to go. The watch-word here is “Nna, be careful, obodo etigo kwa”. Really, it’s not business as usual.

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Reportedly, there is an ongoing effort at both federal and state government levels to briskly respond to the rapidly growing security challenges. But, the saddest narrative is that the political actors have lost confidence in the system. They do not believe that the government’s evenly fledged, and publicised snail-like approach to the security threats would yield desired results. Hence, they’ve boldly queried the nonproductive approach deployed to tackle the security issues in the country.

The salient question on everyone’s lips is, how safe is it to stage political rallies in Anambra State? When we all know, that the law enforcement agencies are grappling with the unpalatable stories about the unprovoked attacks emanating from enemies of the state tagged “Unknown gunmen”. There’s palpable fear in the air, as you move around the communities, streets, nooks and crannies of Anambra state, there’s no appreciable visible presence of law enforcement officers. There’s no good enough reasons for Anambra streets to be deserted in this nonchalant way, not even in an election year.

As the tension mounts, political actors in the state have retired to their various homes, considered safe nets, impatiently waiting to see who would be the first to flag off campaigns, and the subsequent events. The feeling of uncertainty pervades the whole, we are all aware of the recent escalation of the security situation due to the “sit-at-home” orders and their enforcers. The security issues we are facing should not make it impossible to peacefully conduct governorship rallies, and other political events.

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I write to plead with both politicians and citizens of Anambra state to conduct themselves in a manner that will ensure a peaceful election. It is our belief that the security operatives would be fully deployed for all the electioneering purposes in order to prevent any breakdown of Law and Order as well as loss of lives and property.

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC should be committed to conducting an election that is free, fair,credible, and non-violent. The electoral body should partner with security agencies to ensure adequate security is provided before, during and after election. INEC should work assiduously to ensure that the November 6, date slated for Anambra governorship election remains sacrosanct.

Ekenem!

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Nigeria

Ijaws Diaspora: Queen Josephine Diete-Spiff of Twon Brass Kingdom Seeks Collaboration to Tackle Poverty, Trafficking, Violence Against Ijaw Women

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Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom and President of the Queens of the Niger Delta Initiative, Her Majesty, Dr Josephine Diete-Spiff, Esq JP called on the Ijaws in Diaspora on the need for an effective and efficient collaboration to meet the yearning and aspirations of Ijaw women in order for them to be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life.

The Royal Queen made the call during her paper presentation on the occasion of the Ijaw Diaspora Convention held recently in New Jersey, United States of America.

Speaking on the theme: “Effective Collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora: Hope for the Ijaw Women”, Queen Josephine noted that the Ijaw woman is majestic, full of strength, beautiful, hardworking, long-suffering, compassionate and caring for her children and loved ones.

She said that the description which depicted a typical Ijaw woman as with a pan on her head, a baby wrapped on her back and her work implements in her hands, ready to provide for the family under the hot African sun and Niger Delta rain, unperturbed by the harsh experiences of life shows she is tenacious and hardworking.

She said, “Unfortunately, today, the evil of industrialization in the name of oil and gas extraction and the attendant land grab/pollution have put a lot of our women out of the traditional livelihood occupation of fishing and farming which gave them prosperity in the past thus pushing them into poverty and loss of control of the children-a basis for the numerous vices among our youths today.

According to her, Ijaw women are mostly breadwinners and the nurturers of their families, adding that their livelihood was greatly impeded by the challenging environment of the Niger Delta, which though rich in oil and income generating opportunities, same are out of the reach of the Ijaw woman.

The wife of the former Rivers State Military Governor further emphasized that Ijaw women are agents of social change, if given the opportunity, adding that a collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora will be a welcome development in changing the narrative of Ijaw Women in the livelihood scheme of survival.

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“The Ijaw woman’s means of survival are also threatened by a growing trend of farm produce theft and flooding. Added to her woes are kidnapping, herder invasion, and early widowhood, leading to loss of socio-economic subsistence. She also suffers from the attendant factors of poverty increased by lack of education, susceptibility to violence, cultism, health challenges, underage motherhood, in addition to some harmful traditional practices. The list is endless.”

Proposing avenues which require effective partnership, Queen Josephine called on the Ijaw Diaspora to collaborate with Ijaw women in homeland in areas of Interventions in Violence and Ill-Treatment Against Ijaw Women, Ijaw Women/Girl Child Education, Ijaw Women Empowerment, Encouraging Ijaw Women to Participate in Politics and take up Leadership Positions.

“It’s undeniable that the Ijaw Diaspora has assets for collaboration due to their international exposure, international contacts, financial resources, human and mental resources that override the economic capabilities of their counterparts in the homeland. Therefore, they can offer training, assist in primary healthcare, provide resources and partner with the Ijaw women in their homeland.

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“Collaboration with the Ijaw diaspora will be impossible without a formidable platform for operational collaboration and communication. One, therefore, recommends the creation of a most needed platform for efficient synergy between Ijaw diaspora and Ijaw women at home.

“So that the local Ijaw women can be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life. For every Ijaw woman to fulfil the requirements of her heart and be free from any form of oppression, she needs to be liberated and confident in herself. Her desired accomplishment in life is a sine qua non for the benefit of the Ijaw ethnic nationality”, she stressed.

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