On 10th of September, 2013, the acting Chairman of the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission, Mr. Sylvester Okonkwo announced the shifting of the Local Government poll earlier fixed for 5th of October, 2013, to 14th of December, 2013. The main ground upon which the LGA poll was shifted was given as the inability of about
27 political parties that indicated interest in participating in the poll to submit their candidates’ list in line with the ANSIEC electoral guidelines. The difficulties associated with the obtainment of the certified true copy of the INEC’s register of voters for the poll was cited as another reason for the LGA poll shift.
It is recalled that the leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law and Anambra CLO had on 15th of August, 2013 written the Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner and the acting Chairman of ANSIEC upon which we raised serious challenges facing the successful conduct of the two crucial polls and demanded that they be frontally addressed or the LGA poll date slightly adjusted to the second week of December, 2013. One of the challenges pointed out is the possible availability of the Anambra LGA’s voters’ register to be used for the poll. INEC had earlier announced 17th of October as a date for final display of its Anambra voters’ register; expected to be derived from the supplementary voters’ list and the main voters’ register. Similar challenges threatening the credibility and popularity of the two polls were also raised in our (Intersociety) public information of 21st and 24th of August, 2013.
The adjustment of the Anambra LGA poll date is a two-way traffic; one showing that the two electoral commissions in the circumstance especially the ANSIEC has listening ears and the other exposing the gross incompetence of the two electoral commissions in conducting the two crucial polls on the basis of popular participation and administrative competence. Though Anambra State has earned notoriety as one of the States in the Nigerian Federation that has not held polls into her LGA System since December 1998, but our insistence on holding such polls popularly and credibly knows no bound. It. It is on indisputable record that no popular and credible Local Government polls have been organized in Nigeria since December 1998. In other words, the last time popular LGA poll was held in Nigeria was in December 1998; during the expiring military regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar. Subsequent LGA polls organized since then grossly ran short of international demographic and enfranchisement standards.
Anambra State as Nigeria’s electoral Promised Land must always lead the way and avoid returning to electoral dark ages when the dregs of the society took over her hallowed political corridors and turned her into enclave of banditry and brigandage.