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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

Funds expended on political campaigns in Nigeria is now a critical component of Nigerian corruption…Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje,Chairman Afenifere Ogun state

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The Ogun state Chairman of Afenifere,a vibrant and active social Political group,Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje spoke extensively with our News medium on INEC’s demand for all candidates to declare their bank assets prior to the 2023 General elections and other concerned issues.

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In his words on INEC and Party Candidates Bank assets,he said “My first concern is what is INEC’s definition of “bank assets?” Is it just bank account balances or more than that? If its just bank account balances, I doubt what practical use such information will be to INEC.

Secondly, I wonder whether INEC has the legal authority to request candidates to declare their “bank assets”. Yes the agency is authorised to monitor campaign expenditure but does that ipso facto confer on them the power to request bank balances? I’m not so sure of that. Code of Conduct Bureau and perhaps EFCC or ICPC may have such authority but its not clear that INEC does.”

Responding to the commission’s move to establish a finance monitoring teams,Otunba Opeyemi Agbaje says, “It is desirable and proper for INEC to establish mechanisms to monitor campaign finance and expenditure. The funds expended on political campaigns in Nigeria have become unreasonably huge and is now a critical component of Nigerian corruption and political dysfunction. I support any lawful effort to constrain and control this issue within the ambit of the law.”

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The Ogun State Afenifere chairman emphasized that The EFCC and Deposit Money Banks have the responsibility to report suspicious financial transactions and he support leveraging this mechanism to monitor campaign finances…

“The Constitution guarantees freedom of association to all Nigerians so I can understand as many parties as possible seeking INEC registration. As a practical matter of course I recognise the operational, logistics and political difficulties inherent in having too many political parties. Nevertheless I believe every legitimate and conscientious political tendency should have the right to express themselves through a political party.”Otunba Agbaje maintained.

“I am excited at the news that youths and students top new voters registrations. I urge all youths, students, professionals, workers and indeed all Nigerians who are yet to register to do so. We can aim to register 12 million additional voters before the General Elections and take new registrations to over 20million!!! I know that’s an ambitious target but we need ambitious objectives and goals if we must reform and transform Nigeria.The Youths deserves encouragement to take up challenges and prepare for the future.

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Presently, Afenifere Social Political group is made up of very active, focused and visionary youths with their membership growing by the day,”he added

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