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Commentary: Anambra And The 2017 Governorship Election

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WRITTEN BY EMEKA ARINZE
Ndi Anambra are today going to poll for gubernatorial election. The election is very important to all stakeholders, especially the thirty-seven political parties which fielded candidates for the election.

The last governorship election was conducted in the state on Saturday, November 16, 2013.

Anambra state, in 2007, began the journey to staggered election in Nigeria, following the Supreme Court judgment which declared that the tenure of a governor begins from the date he was sworn-in. This changed the date and tenure of governorship elections in Nigerian politics.

Already, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has promised that INEC will conduct a credible poll that will be acceptable to all. According to Professor Yakubu, to ensure transparency, the result of the election will be pasted at every polling unit, which is a basis for testing the integrity of the final result to be declared by the umpire.

Two million, one hundred and fifty- eight thousand, one hundred and seventy-one eligible voters were registered for today’s election, while twenty-three thousand Ad hoc staff were recruited, trained and mobilized for the exercise. According to INEC, accreditation and voting take place simultaneously between eight o’clock in the morning and two o’clock in the afternoon in all polling units in the state.

Therefore, as Anambra electorate exercise their franchise, it is pertinent to remind them that voters must be at the polling station early to present themselves for accreditation before voting. They should obtain a ballot paper from the presiding officers and proceed to a screened compartment to thumb-print on the space beside the symbol of the political party of their choice for the election.

Voters should ensure that they thumb print properly and correctly in the box provided and not invalidate their vote. Notably, a vote can be invalidated or made void if a voter writes his or her name in the box provided for voting or fails to thumb print at all. If a voter thumb-print in two boxes for two political parties or decides to thumb-print in-between the boxes provided for each political party, the vote will be considered void.

Voters are therefore strongly advised to avoid costly mistakes, if they want their votes to count. After voting, the voter would then proceed to the ballot box provided by INEC. The voter quietly leaves the boot where he or she has voted, after the finger has been marked with ink. The voter can stay within the polling station until the votes are counted by the INEC officials.

Meanwhile, INEC authority has assured that people living with disability, PWDs would be given opportunities to enable them perform their civic responsibility once they show evidence of registration.

There are some stipulated electoral offences to be avoided which include improper voter card, impersonation, voting when not qualified and dereliction of duty by poll officials. Others are canvassing for votes at the polling stations and snatching or destroying election materials. These offences have various penalties such as fine and prison terms attached to them.

Governments have repeatedly assured Ndi Anambra and Nigerians that adequate security has been put in place to protect and safe-guard the electoral personnel and voters who are now free to discharge their civic responsibility. It is against this backdrop that the electorate and other stakeholders in the 2017 Anambra state governorship election project are advised to go out and exercise their franchise.

Election of this nature is very vital to enthrone credible leadership. Apathy cannot pay. No one should be blamed if you fail to go out to choose your leader. Today’s election is the opportunity of the masses to propel the state to growth and development. Do not shirk in your civic responsibility. Stand up to be counted among those who love their state and their country and want it progress by electing a credible governor today.

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