Lessons From The Anambra Governorship Elections!
As if to confirm the fears of many about the entire process, the Anambra gubernatorial elections have ended in shambles, and has raised more dust than it has settled. After weeks of intrigues, crude politicking, insane bickering and unending tension, the poll has created a state of debacle. Indeed, INEC claims the final outcome remain inconclusive, and are yet to declare Willie Obniano of APGA as the legitimate winner of the poll, although it is almost carved in stone that he will be the next governor of the Light of the Nation. As numerous punditry begin to emerge from the aftermath of the process, the elections have already taught us more than a handful of lessons.
Without throwing stones unnecessarily, it is a truism that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was ill prepared for the elections. These inefficiences are not novel, however, with the diatribe of assuring words from Prof Attahiru Jega and his commission, many were expecting INEC to score some points, and restore the confidence of many Nigerians and the global community about it's integrity and competence, even as 2015 looms. Yet, in what was considered a dress rehearsal for 2015, INEC failed grossly. Inadequate materials, delay of officials and electoral facilities, compromise of some of the commission's staff, illegitimate disenfranchisement of some registered voters, rescheduling of voting in some wards, have all provided sufficient evidences to show that INEC has not learned from history. At the first time of asking, INEC has failed it's litmus test.
For reasons too obvious to rehash here, the Anambra governorship elections has always been the crux of elections in the south-east. APC and it's candidate Chris Ngige were looking to build a forte by clinching the state. If that had been the case, it would have helped to salvage the widely held view of APC as a party of Western and Northern bed fellows. The average man or woman from Anambra, and indeed the East as a whole, is still very sceptical of the APC and it's agenda. The logic holds sway that since GEJ rule is being considered as "Eastern Nigeria" serving their own turn, the APC would remain an infidel and dangerous partner. It has been said and not without reason, that Ngige's sin was to have opted to pitch his tent with APC. In hindsight, one wonders if Ngige would have taken the rest of his contestants to the cleaners if he was of any other party affiliation. Perhaps, the question many has failed to ask is this: Did Ngige do enough during his first stint as governor, for him to demand the mandate of the electorate again?
Suffice it to say, the emergence of Willie Obiano as governor could usher in a return to the politics of godfatherism in the state. The tales of Chris Uba and Chris Ngige is still fresh in our minds. Anambra politics have been hallmarked by years of untold impunity, where godfathers seek blood from their godsons the moment they decline in doing their bidding. Is Peter Obi in the mould of such shenanigans that will unleash the ultimate pressure on Obiano? We can only permutate at the moment, as only time will reveal how far the union of Obi and Obiano will last.
While it is true that many of our elections are far from free and fair, it is also very true that those that are defeated in the course of elections hardly takes defeat in good faith. If any politician is vanquished in an electoral process, the process must have been flawed. This mindset makes them perennial enemy of the government of the day. There is no harm in finding recourse in the electoral tribunal, it just should not be a baseless routine. Moreover, history is replenished with adequate instances of electoral petitions remaining at the tribunal, while the tenure of the concerned politician has almost elapsed.
It remains to be seen if the gubernatorial polls would be abruptly cancelled. This is a very unlikely scenario in this part of the world, especially when it is the incumbent that is been contested against. Whatever the outcome, INEC has given us enough reasons to be very concerned about the elections in 2015.