How Anambra election was ‘rigged’ – UPP *Warns of danger in 2019

By Editor on 23/11/2017

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There is every reason for Nigerians to worry over the likely outcome of the 2019 general election, given what played out during last Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State, the United Progressive Party (UPP), has said.

The party, while echoing the misgivings of its candidate, Chief Osita Chidoka, shortly after the polls, said the entire election, was simply sold and bought by the highest bidder, who exploited the situation of impoverished and hungry electorates.

Recall that Clement Nwankwo, Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), a coalition of civil society organisation, with a lot of experience in election monitoring, told reporters in in Awka, the Anambra State, described the election as the worst in the history of Nigeria, since 1999, for the same reason.

Giving a review of the exercise, National Chairman of UPP, warned of the danger, such a dangerous introduction in the Nigerian politics could portend for its democracy.

Okorie, who spoke of party agents carrying sacks of raw cash, and setting up shop to distribute same to hungry electorate right before the nose of electoral officers and security operatives, said nothing could be worse than buying the conscience of the poor, whose situation was caused in the first place by such parties, through bad governance.

The full statement read: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the United Progressive Party (UPP) has reviewed the recently-concluded Anambra Governorship Election held on November 18, 2017 and resolved as a credible opposition party in Nigeria to alert the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Assembly, the Presidency and the general public on the unsavory dimension our democracy has assumed
which if not nipped in the bud shall give a completely new definition to democracy as it is practiced in Nigeria.


“For the avoidance of doubt, our great Party aligns itself with our Governorship Candidate, Chief Osita Chidoka who made an early call to congratulate, Chief Willie Obiano of APGA for emerging victorious in the election.
“Chief Chidoka by his sportsmanship and gallantry has demonstrated the true character of a gentleman and political leader of note. We further commend our governorship candidate, Chief Osita Chidoka along with his
running mate, Chief Marcel Ogbonnaya Okeke for mounting the most robust and technology driven campaign machine. I led some of the NWC members to campaign side by side with our candidate.

“Together we traversed the length and breadth of Anambra State and our strong message based on the Revolutionary Agenda of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Manifesto and the unprecedented detailed blueprint of our candidate, Chief Osita Chidoka complete with timeline for implementation, resonated very well with the people at all levels, at the grassroots as well as the elite level.

“The Call Centre of the Chidoka Campaign Organisation has facility with the installed capacity to generate about 10,000 calls every day by enthusiastic young volunteers most of whom are graduates. These calls were targeted at the little over 800,000 permanent voters’ card owners in Anambra State as against the over 2.1 million registered voters. In other words, in the unlikely event of 100% voter turnout, only about 800,000 Anambra residents who have their PVC would have been eligible to vote. “For the purpose of factual analysis this must be separated from the general impression often promoted by INEC that 2.1 million Anambra citizens registered for and were expected to participate in the election.

“In this context therefore, it can be said that about 50% of those with PVC participated in the just-concluded election. This turn out is unprecedented in any governorship election in Nigeria. Credit therefore must be given to Chief Osita Chidoka who did more than any other candidate to arouse Anambra State electorate to come out to participate in the election.
“UPP is disappointed that most observers that commented on the Anambra Governorship Election have tended to play down on the danger posed to our nascent democracy by the monetisation and commercialisation of the
election. What happened in the full glare of the general public with some of the drama already streaming in the social media is that political parties, especially APGA, APC and PDP set up shops at virtually all the polling units to bid for and buy votes. The difference in votes won by these 3 parties I have mentioned is only in their individual capacity to out-bid one another at different places. In such bazaar the highest bidder always wins.

“It is difficult to blame a poor voter who has already been rendered vulnerable by an unperforming government to resist the lucre of N20,000, N10,000, N5,000 as the case may be for casting his or her vote in a manner required of him or her to earn such windfall. It is important to put in perspective that most of these voters trekked to the polling units practically with no money in their pockets because of their unfortunate but avoidable indigence. Presenting such a person with the amounts just mentioned above is rather too tempting to be resisted.
“The unfortunate aspect of the perfidy in the Anambra Governorship election is that this show of shame took place in the full glare of all the security agencies that covered the election.
“The accredited observers and journalists witnessed the malfeasance and made their findings public.
If this dangerous dimension to winning election is allowed to spread across the country then our democracy is doomed. The much expected 2019 general election will be a mere charade. The implication of this unfortunate development is that politicians will consider it wasteful and unnecessary to promote their parties manifestoes and canvass their blueprints for governance during campaigns in order to sell their party and candidature to the electorate.

“Politicians will consider that all that they have to do is to amass wealth, set up shops at polling booths, out-bid their rivals and wait to be congratulated and celebrated for a landslide victory.

“If this is allowed to gain root, then criminals, money launderers, treasury looters and their likes will take over the political space, occupy juicy elective and appointive offices in Nigeria from the next democratic encounter in 2019. In that way, democracy in Nigeria will definitely assume a new and ridiculous definition. Nigeria will be ruined.
“We advise as follows: The National Assembly should without further delay and in the interest of our democratic process, pass the necessary laws to usher in full Electronic Voting System (EVS). The expected legislation should empower INEC to prosecute offenders of election funding provisions. There should be strict laws prohibiting any person from carrying a certain amount of money within the vicinity of a Polling Unit.
“The general public have been treated to the TV coverage of the Anambra Governorship Election and were appalled by the shamelessness of a so-called former lecturer of a tertiary institution, a grandfather figure who admitted that his party, APGA gave him N300,000.00 to pay the fee of his party agent at the polling unit where he was apprehended by the officers of the Directorate of State Service (DSS). When you multiply N300,000.00 by the number of polling units in Anambra State where this party has agents you begin to imagine the amount of cash outlay made available just to procure electoral victory.
“What we have done here as a responsible and credible opposition party, is to share our thoughts on this election with the public and we hope that INEC, the National Assembly, the Presidency, public affairs commentators, pro-democracy organisations and donor agencies should intervene in their various capacities to save our democracy from going to the dogs.”




Posted on November, 23 2017

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