FROM all indications, the Federal Government is determined to ensure the successful conduct of the Anambra State off-cycle governorship election of this Saturday, November 6, 2021. The level of preparations is somewhat unprecedented.
It is only in preparation for nationwide general elections that the president holds meetings with the heads of security agencies as Muhammadu Buhari has done in this case, with a directive that nothing must stop the election.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Akali Baba, has mobilised 34,587 policemen who will be supervised by a Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, Joseph Egbunike, five Assistant Inspector Generals of Police, AIGs, and fourteen Commissioners of Police, COMPOLs, to safeguard the election.
No doubt, other military and security agencies will be on ground.
This formidable mustering of forces is a response to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB’s, insistence that it would not allow the election to hold. It also came amid rumours that thousands of ad hoc Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, workers had resigned due to the IPOB threat, which INEC has, however, debunked.
We commend the Federal Government for its determination to ensure the success of the Anambra election.
We plead that the police, military and security personnel keep strictly within the bounds of their constitutional rules of engagement, with emphasis on allowing the Anambra electorate to choose their next governor.
The pursuit of this noble objective will reassure even the sceptics that this massing of forces is for the good of the Anambra people and furtherance of the healthy growth of democracy in Nigeria.
The ball is now in the court of the Igbo nation at all levels to ensure that the election goes without bloodshed. We call on the governors of the South East, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Association of South East Town Unions, ASETU, and other Igbo leadership groups to prevail on IPOB to drop its anti-election stance.
We hope they will, once again as they did in past elections, reconsider their stance and allow people to come out and vote.
It is in the interest of the Anambra and Igbo people that the next governor be a product of popular mandate.
It will help to produce a people-oriented government which will conduce to rapid development.
If, on other hand, force is allowed to prevail, it may throw up a governor who may not be the choice of the people but the choice of those who do not wish Anambra people well.
The danger is that such an undesirable leader could be in office for the next eight years.
This might reduce Anambra to a permanent theatre of conflict and not development.
If IPOB is genuine in its claim of pursuing the interests of Igbo people, it must not deprive them of their political, economic or educational rights.