2021 Anambra governorship election, By Reuben Abati

2021-anambra-governorship-election,-by-reuben-abati

The present Governorship election in Anambra mutter, held on Saturday, November 6, 2021 changed into supposed to be a main turning point for Nigeria. Most commentators said the election would be characterised by violence or that it would quantity to a blow-out for Nigeria and the final South-East. Pundits informed all and sundry to seem at out. There like been variations about voter flip-out, the preparedness of the electoral umpire, the Neutral National Electoral Commission (INEC), the character of the principle gladiators within the competition and their supportive stakeholders, divided as they like been and silent are, along non secular, ethnic, clannish and birthday celebration lines. A few days to the 2021 Anambra governorship election, certainly, every one prepared roughly for battle, and bloodshed. The police deployed over 34, 500 personnel, 45 Commissioners of Police, 48 ACPs, two DIGs, five AIGs, three helicopters.  The Civil Defence Corps despatched in over 20, 000 men.  The Division of Direct Security deployed its men and women. The Workplace of the National Security Adviser announced that any non-mutter actor who made any are attempting and test the will of the mutter shall be met with most force.  

Beforehand, the President of Nigeria and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, had given particular directives to that attain. All of right here is understandable. Anambra within the lead up to the election had confirmed to be a main security danger, a hotbed of violence and danger, and a key residence for self-decision agitators, working underneath the umbrella of the Indigenous Peoples Organisation of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Community (ESN). We like been confronted with a test of wills, between the mutter and those non-mutter actors who like been reputedly certain to make relate of the November 6 election to humiliate the executive of the day, in a spectacular system. This changed into no longer, to borrow from the nicely off repertoire of Nigerian English, “a laughing topic”.  

I grew to turn out to be phase of that drama, despite myself when the Chairman of Come up Info, Nduka Obaigbena decided to crew up with the Chairman of Channels TV, John Momoh to attain a joint Governorship candidate debate before the election. Conferences like been held on either facet and on a particular Wednesday, we like been speculated to meet on-line and accomplish so continuously to swish-tune the arrangements. At our discontinuance, we held a lengthy meeting which eager protection, administration, technical crew and operational folk. Yemi Ajayi, Director, Info (Lagos) and I like been mandated to meet with the Channels Crew later within the day. And we did. On-line. It wasn’t a if fact be told optimistic meeting.  The Channels Boys rejected every proposal that we made. They decreed that Anambra changed into too toxic and terrible and on no condition would they ever possibility something else to transfer there for a debate.  

We argued that at Come up, we like been certain to transfer in there to indicate that an election changed into you may perchance additionally mediate of and that the safety distress may perchance perchance maybe be managed in a scheme to provide self belief to the electorate. We like been informed to neglect it. They gave us the possibility of a debate to be organised in Lagos or Abuja. Mr. Ajayi and I informed them to chat to their Chairman. They said they like been “the Supreme Council” of Channels TV, and no topic decision they took changed into very finest. I learned that bright. Then they made issues more sophisticated by pointing out that they did no longer desire Reuben Abati as the moderator from Come up TV. They’d steal one other co-moderator to be half of Seun Okinbaloye from Channels TV. I changed into left with no possibility but to mutter categorically that lengthy sooner than most of the folk from the other facet joined Channels TV, I extinct to moderate interviews for Channels TV, and analyse elections for the identical residence and I like letters of appreciation and commendation to indicate for this, signed by the identical Chairman they negate has no negate in something else decided by a “Supreme Council.” It changed into also precious to point to that I changed into the major and simplest mainstream journalist to this point, for the time being who had moderated a Governorship Manifesto Defence Debate within the Anambra 2021 election. On September 25, Come up TV had indubitably organized a Governorship debate in Anambra Direct in collaboration with the Kwechiri Unity Discussion board, aired continue to exist Come up TV, Anambra Direct Tv, and Ogene FM. I changed into the principle anchor. As it turned into out, the proposed collaboration with Channels TV, which may perchance perchance maybe even like been a neutral appropriate attempting demonstration of partnership, innovation and the pooling of talents from either facet, in a diversified indicate of harmony internal the Nigerian media, did no longer occur. Come up TV decided to transfer ahead. And we did.           

For the length of the last weekend of the month of October, main up to November 1, Come up Info deployed personnel and materials to Awka for a Gubernatorial debate keen three of the main adjudged candidates within the election, chosen across platforms by experts and pundits: Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Professor Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Huge Alliance (APGA), and Mr Valentine Ozigbo of the Of us’s Democratic Get collectively (PDP), in that alphabetical describe. The debate changed into held at an undisclosed residence, underneath tight security. Held along side a Civil Society Neighborhood, Sufficient is Sufficient (EiE) led by Yemi Adamolekun, the controversy changed into broadcast dwell concurrently on Come up TV, Anambra Broadcasting Provider (ABS) and Ogene Radio, 98.3 FM. I changed into co-moderator of the controversy alongside award-winning Come up TV anchor, Ngozi Alaegbu.  I realize the controversy changed into a hit and great, and that’s my have modest method of warding off Agama-lizard-fancy blow his have trumpet. The three candidates offered each and every data and drama, swish television gold moments, and diverse, controversial feedback that assign the tone internal the days main to the election. It changed into a valuable demonstration of how the media may perchance perchance lend a hand assign agenda, act as a catalyst for nation-building and peace-making, and lend a hand generate certain momentum in society. Of us who said going to Anambra to attain a debate would be suicidal neglected the point. The debate changed into delivered without any untoward incident. We went into Anambra, with security arrangements offered by the Nigerian Military.  No one careworn us. No one intimidated us. For us, it changed into the major signal that the election shall be held without tragedy and that sufficient effort had been place into combating any calamity. Within the weeks main to the election, there had been killings in Anambra, attacks on jails and communities and tension at a bigger level that raised panic phases.

Of hobby and relevance in this regard is the massive deployment of security personnel, the announcement by the Indigenous Of us’s Organisation of Biafra (IPOB) that it had suspended its proposed sit down-at-residence describe first and major scheduled for November 5 – 10 across the final South East. IPOB no longer simplest withdrew the describe, it grew to turn out to be a mobilizing agent urging Ndi Anambra to flip out en masse to vote on November 6. IPOB had the toughen of gentle rulers, market ladies, moms of Anambra, civil society groups. The Nigeria Police also grew to turn out to be an arm of INEC. It positioned enlightenment jingles within the media to mobilise voters. On Saturday, November 6, the scheduled election took assign – in over 5, 000 polling models, 21 Native Executive Areas, with 18 candidates within the flee, hundreds of election screens and observers, with the worldwide community staring at. There like been system defects within the course of the election: slack deployment of voting materials, malfunctioning of the Bi-modal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) –  a fingerprint and facial recognition instrument launched by INEC to change the Z-pad, lateness of officials in beginning off accreditation, electoral malpractices including vote purchasing for (even though in one polling residence, Anambra ladies openly rejected financial inducement!), disruptions in some registration areas – Idemili North, Idemili South, Aguata, Anambra West, war between Electoral Officer and Collation Officer in Orumba North, and in overall a wretched voter flip-out of between 10 and 15 per cent in most of the polling models.  

The colossal comfort changed into that the worst that changed into anticipated did no longer occur. Anambra did no longer turn out to be a killing enviornment. The political parties and the politicians did no longer preserve in bloodshed. Only just a few incidents of intimidation, violence and ballotsnatching like been reported. The very finest thing after a style is that once all and sundry writes off Nigeria and there are fears about Nigeria tottering on the fringe of the precipice, about to tip over, this nation continuously pulls support. It has came about sooner than now within the course of every election season. It has factual came about again in Anambra mutter. The explanation for this must be a fascinating enviornment for sociological inquiry into political behaviour and energy negotiation programs. In Anambra: Right here’s what came about – by 12: 20 am on November 8, the Returning Officer for the Anambra Direct Gubernatorial Election, Professor Florence Obi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, had announced leads to 20 LGAs. The election in Ihiala LGA did no longer occur in all 20 Registration Areas as a consequence of the outbreak of violence in that border residence of Anambra Direct (the border with Imo Direct), and on that basis alone, the Anambra Gubernatorial election of November 6, 2021 changed into declared inconclusive.

INEC has announced a supplementary election within the affected LGA to occur this day, Tuesday, November 9, 2021. It will appear as if the election has been lost and won already but it’s severe that no native executive residence is excluded, and that no-one is willfully steer clear off from exercising his or her franchise. Right here is the point of the Ihiala Supplementary Election: inclusion, equity, representation and legitimacy.  We attain no longer dwell up for any earth-shaking tendencies in Ihiala LGA this day. Aloof, the safety brokers must dwell vigilant. The political parties and the candidates must withhold religion with the peace agreements that they signed before the election: brokered by INEC and likewise, the National Peace Committee led by No longer novel Abdusalami Abubakar. Even with the outcomes from 20 LGAs announced and revealed by the INEC, which reveals the candidate of APGA in a firm management assign, it’d be to the everlasting credit rating of the final candidates eager by the course of that they and their supporters gave peace a possibility and proved the bookmakers, naysayers and sooth-sayers depraved on Anambra election 2021 unless the very last minute. 

Already, Professor Charles Soludo of APGA, has been reported as winner in 18 LGAs of the mutter, including Aguata where he and the 2 other main candidates hail from and the strongholds of some prominent politicians within the mutter – Anaocha, Orumba South, Idemili and Njikoka. Soludo is unlikely to repeat the “21- over-21-feat” of the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano within the 2017 election, but he’s conveniently within the lead with over 50, 000 votes. Nnewi North changed into declared for Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (candidate of the YPP- Young Progressives Get collectively) and Ogbaru for Valentine Ozigbo of the Of us’s Democratic Get collectively (PDP). Soludo has also won the mandatory two thirds of the votes across the native executive areas. Ihiala, the finest very finest LGA has a registered voter decision of about 148,000. This is in a position to perchance even be a battle floor, but with voter flip-out estimated between 10 to 15 per cent, even a 100 per cent flip out may perchance perchance maybe also simply no longer exchange the existing fact. Soludo appears assign to turn out to be the next Governor of Anambra Direct. If and when his victory is affirmed by the INEC, he may perchance be the 2nd susceptible governor of the Central Monetary institution of Nigeria to emerge as governor of a Direct. Sooner than him there changed into, Clement Nyong Isong (1920 – 2000), governor of the Central Monetary institution (1967 -1975) and governor of Inferior River Direct (1979 – 1983).

Soludo, a First Class Honours graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1984) and Governor of the Central Monetary institution of Nigeria (2004 – 2009) is a Professor of Economics.  He’s going to be a favorable addition to the rising checklist of Nigerian technocrats who defy the characterization of the political arena as a grimy residence that must be left to folk that heed themselves as skilled politicians, the bulk of whom are in real truth, hustlers, political parasites, nationwide cake hunters and susceptible henchmen and touts who managed to legitimize themselves. The appropriate and the brightest in Nigeria must be the ones to win management positions, but as we now like seen in Mexico, raw intelligence is nonetheless, underneath no conditions sufficient, no longer even technocratic brilliance is a qualified proposition. For approximately two a protracted time, technocrats led Mexico critically: Miguel de la Madrid (1982 -88), Carlos Salinas (1988 – 1994) and Ernesto Zedillo (1994 – 2000). China is one other nation where the technocratic stereotype holds sway. In Nigeria, we gaze a rising style in that course. I steal into memoir technocrats a undeniable presence in democracy and politics, a nation may perchance perchance maybe also simply silent no longer be bustle by dinosaurs and speculators, ride helps, but technocrats in politics must even like a excessive dose of emotional intelligence so to trot the tightrope of patron-client relationships. The technocratic elite in a political assign carries a heavier burden: and if it fails, the remorse is double-fold.                     

On the other hand, without prejudice to the eventual final consequence of the Anambra Gubernatorial election 2021, provided that the accountability for making an affirmative announcement is that of the electoral rate, whoever turns into the next governor of Anambra Direct has his job gash support out for him. He must be a bridge-builder and the Governor of all and sundry. Anambra is sharply divided along clannish and non secular lines. Right here is one mutter in Nigeria where it capacity quite a bit whether you are Catholic or Anglican or Pentecostal, or what phase of the mutter you hail from. The next governor of Anambra Direct must as a consequence of this truth promote team spirit and consensus. Security is also a main danger. Anambra is always projected as the headquarters of the separatist IPOB community, and the hotbed of agitations. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the head of IPOB, is no longer even from Anambra. He’s from Abia Direct. But it absolutely is the youths of Anambra who’re carrying Biafra on their heads fancy the weight of Sisyphus. And that you would be in a position to also simply nicely argue that Anambra is the non secular source of the opinion of Biafra. The next Governor can no longer ignore the safety implications. Roads. Infrastructure. Order funding, native and foreign. Internally Generated Earnings (IGR). Debt burden. Economic promotion: gas, rice, innovation. He must hit the ground running.

INEC has been place via the test in Anambra with electronic transmission of outcomes and BVAS. It has classes to be taught. The safety companies like accomplished nicely to this point in managing the Anambra distress. They like to no longer mess up as INEC conducts the supplementary elections this day. The Anambra course of must be a be-careful call for the South East management elite.


Reuben Abati, a susceptible presidential spokesperson, writes from Lagos.

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