On November 18 this year, the people of Anambra State will go to the poll to choose who governs them. They have the choice of returning the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, or choosing another person.
Such a choice will be determined by either their conviction that what the incumbent has done in the past three years plus is good enough, thus warranting his re-election, or that it is not, meaning that they will choose another person.
It is therefore left to the contestants to strive to convince the electorate by either flaunting their achievements, as in the case of the incumbent, or telling them what they intend to do, as in the case of the challengers. That is the beauty of democracy.
It is expected that the contestants will use the power of persuasion to go about convincing the electorate to support them, rather than resorting to crude methods which include blackmailing and use of hate speeches, among others, in what can be summarised as a campaign of calumny.
Such negative campaigning breeds bad blood and can easily trigger violent confrontations as was witnessed in the Old Anambra State in the Second Republic during the Nigerian People's Party, NPP/National Party of Nigeria, NPN days. The bloody incident at Nkpor Junction between supporters of the late Biafra leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, of NPN, and Dr Edwin Onwudiwe of NPP, still lingers in the minds of those who were around then. It came about as a result of hate campaign.
The scenario in Anambra State, even before the actual campaigning commences, is anything but encouraging. So far, we have seen a lot of hate speeches and postings on social media by agents of the various contestants.
We frown at this behaviour. What the electorate need is to be informed on the achievements/blueprints of the candidates, not any other thing. Leaving issues and discussing personality, especially when it involves obvious lies, is not acceptable. Such negativity can actually mar the chances of the one being protected or campaigned for.
Indeed, a candidate can be judged by those who work for them and how they go about it. A candidate who encourages gossip, blackmail and lies, will not likely earn the respect of sane people in society. What they will do to earn respect and be effectively judged is their ability to discuss issues intelligently.
No one wins election by continually cooking up stories about their opponents. Such acts belittle the candidate. What we have so far seen in the build up to the November Guber Poll in Anambra State calls for concern.
We at Fides condemn such negative campaigning in all its entirety and call on the various candidates to rein in their charges in order to avert the likelihood of breakdown of law and order. The electorate deserve to be enlightened on the candidates' capabilities and track records in order for them to make the right choices.
We stand on this.