On January 19, 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye Esq.
announced that Anambra State Governorship Election has been scheduled to hold on November 6, 2021. Relying on section 178 (1) & (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended),
he stated that election into the office of state Governor shall hold not earlier than One Hundred and Fifty (150) days and not later than Thirty (30) days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holders of the office. . He went further to say that ‘constitutionally and statutorily, the tenure of office of Governor Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano will expire at 12 noon on the 19th March, 2022.
The earliest date (going by this calculations based on law) for election into the office of the incoming governor of Anambra state, shall be 18th October 2021 and the latest date for election shall be 15th February, 2022.
Having deliberated extensively on this and considering all the intervening variables that may arise in the conduct of a free, fair and credible election, November 6, 2021 was chosen by INEC.
Timetable and Schedule of Activities has been drawn up as well; Issuance of the Statutory Notice for Election (June 9, 2021), collection of forms EC9 and EC9B for the election (June 10, 2021) Party primaries and resolution of disputes arising there from (June 10th – July 1st, 2021), publication of final list of nominated candidates (October, 7, 2021).
The commission went further to appeal all political parties fielding candidates for the election to ‘pay closer attention to the timelines and schedule of activities and equally enjoined on them to conduct a ‘rancor-free primaries, guarantee level playing ground and conduct due diligence on all forms to be submitted to them to avoid unnecessary litigations preparatory to the gubernatorial election on November 6, 2021 and thereafter.
Getting it Right;
The Independent National Electoral Commission has done well by stating the election guidelines in clear terms to all stakeholders. We need to do our own part too to make this work for the benefit of all. As all the various registered political parties in the state get down to the business of electing or nominating their standard flag-bearers, as we get ready to cast our votes on November 6, 2021,
we need to reflect and ask ourselves some pertinent questions. In doing this we must remember that being interested stakeholders, Anambrarians should not be afraid to talk about the affairs of the ‘light of the nation’ that belong to us all and by so doing explore ways to make it better.
Thank God we changed our name from ‘Home for all’ to ‘Light of the Nation’. Are we really the light or has darkness enveloped us? How far did all the administration that handled the affairs of our state after the return of democratic rule in 1999 take us to that ‘eldorado’ we wanted or voted for? Are we cursed or are we the cause of our own predicament?
Is the current state of affairs in Anambra the best we can ever possibly get in a democracy defined aptly as the ‘government of the people, for the people and by the people?’ Is everything going on well with us or do we ‘need structural and fundamental adjustment in our body politic? Are we better off now than before? Do we need change?
Time has come for us all to put on our thinking caps and choose a better if not best successor to the government house irrespective of the needless and misguided considerations and cleavages that tend to divide rather than unite and build us stronger and better. Has financial motivation, enablement and otherwise of would be voters at various stages of electioneering campaigns undermine the basic requirement of a free, fair and credible democratic process or not?
Where does this leave us as Ndi Anambra? Do we go for the highest political bidder thus mortgaging our consciences for a pot of yam porridge? The Catholic Church has time tested social teachings grounded firmly and anchored in justice, equity, option for the poor and needy, grassroot development, creation of wealth for all, integral development of the human person and building of strong institutions of government that takes care of the general populace amongst others as policy statement that must be made and seen to have been accomplished in concrete terms.
We need to explore constitutional and actionable ways of holding our political actors responsible and answerable to the electorate. We need to figure out through due diligence those who are pretenders, jokers and those who are real contenders for the seat of governance at Awka. Have we not drifted apart for so long? The time of social- political action, concrete involvement and participation is now!