By Chukwudi Ndubeze
Igbo people in various parts of the world have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State is free, fair and transparent.
Igbo World Assembly (IWA), Igbo World Congress (IWC), and the Civil Society Committee for Anti-Fraud Election Security (CISCAES) made their position known during the launch of the 2021 Anambra Guber-Poll Anti-Fraud Situation Room in Awka, the state capital.
The people said that anything below that standard would not be accepted by Ndi Anambra and all well meaning Nigerians.
This is even as they condemned in strong terms the incessant killings in various parts of the state by gunmen.
Speaking at the event themed: “Enforcing a Peaceful and Credible Electoral Process.” the Chairman of IWA, Dr Nwachukwu Anakwueze, urged all relevant stakeholders including the Traditional Rulers in the state to canvass for free, fair peaceful election.
According to him, “We want free and fair election that is transparent. Anambra is not for sale – it is not a state for motor park tout governors. The electorate must interrogate the candidates to know who is who. Majority do not have good records.
“Again, people who cannot win elections legally in their own states must not be allowed to impose governor on Anambra people. Anambra is a great state for great people like Zik, Ekwueme, Obi, Akunyili, Ojukwu, and others; yet, the state lacks basic infrastructure and good living condition. November 6 is another opportunity to correct this anomaly,” he said.
President of the World Igbo Congress, Prof Anthony Ejiofor, who also participated via zoom, urged Anambra people not to go to bed when there is fire in the state ahead of the polls.
“There is fire on the mountain. We must be cautious not to allow Anambra to be destroyed. There is plan to mortgage the aspirations of the people in the coming election. If we allowed Anambra to fall to their caprices, the South East is gone,” he said.
Also, President of Anambra State Association in Germany, Joseph Ebelechukwu, who spoke from Hamburg warned politicians against rigging the poll, making it clear that Ndi Anambra in Europe were watching and taking note of everything happening in their dear state.
“We don’t want our state to go into the wrong hands. We encourage our people to come out on the election day and vote. Information coming to us on Europe is that the Anambra State election has been done and dusted.
“We warn that nobody should interfere with our election. Out state is not for sale and we don’t agree that Anambra election has been held. Anybody that interferes with that election will hear from us. Of course, we know our capacity and what we can do”, he declared.
Similarly, former Minister of Women Affairs, Josephine Anenith, on her part, said that every Nigerian, irrespective of nationality, should be concerned about what is happening in Anambra. She urged the people not to leave any stone unturned in ensuring that Anambra is retained in good hands.
She said: “We cannot allow our state and country to be plugged into eternal darkness. Anambra is under siege. The intention is to drive away voters; so that on the day of election, there will be voter apathy, and they’ll right results, and subvert the wishes of the people. Anambra will not allow this. We don’t want interlopers.
“We must be courageous to tell Nigerians, especially those planning to bring crisis ahead of the election that Anambra is not any other state they can succeed in rigging elections. I also want to use this opportunity to call on INEC to do the needful by conducting free and fair election in the state.”
Contributing, the Publicity Secretary of PAN-Niger Delta Forum (PADEF), Mr. Ken Roberson, who also speak via zoom, said the establishment of the situation room will play a significant role in curbing rigging, ballot box snatching and other electoral security challenges.
Earlier, convener of the meeting and Founder of CISCAES, Comrade Kennedy Iyere, said the objective of the meeting is for all hands to be on deck in building an egalitarian society. He said that the group intends to create a situation room, which, he said, would help monitor the happenings across the state, with a view to working out solutions before, during and after the election.
“The Situation Room will work with communities in Anambra State. It will come to your community and you tell it what you want done.
“It is important you make this people work by the rules. Tell us what you think the solution could be and we will take it up from there”, he said.