President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Willie Obiano on his re-election as the governor of Anambra State promising Nigerians more free and fair elections.
Buhari in a statement signed by his special adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Tuesday, commended the people of Anambra State on the peaceful conduct of the election.
He also commended the governorship candidates, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), election observers, security agencies and other stakeholders, on the peaceful conduct of the November 18 gubernatorial election in the state.
“The processes leading to the election and its peaceful conduct and outcome, have shown that our electoral reform is bearing positive fruits. This is very encouraging and I am determined to give Nigeria free and fair elections, no matter which way the results swing,” he said.
Buhari says he is delighted at the conduct of the candidates, describing it as “heart-warming and a renewal of confidence in the sanctity of the ballot which deepens our nation’s democracy.”
President Buhari also asked INEC to improve on areas of logistics as the nation braces for coming governorship elections and the main general elections in 2019.
The President while congratulating Governor Willie Obiano on his re-election, said he should rededicate himself to building on his achievements that endeared him to the electorate and swayed the majority of votes in his favour.
He said the Federal Government is ready to work with him for the greater harmony, peace and development of not only Anambra State but the entire country.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that Anambra State since the beginning of democracy in Nigeria has remained a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) State.
Jonathan said this on Thursday in Onitsha at the grand finale campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Anambra, Oseloka Obaze.
“Today, we are here because of one unique thing that is the elections that is coming up on Saturday. Anambra State, from the beginning of this democracy, 1999, 1999, when we were inaugurated till date, Anambra State remains a PDP state.”
Recalling the efforts of founding fathers of the party, Jonathan said founding fathers party like Alex Ekweme is an indigene of Anambra. He also said 80% of the people of Anambra are supporters of the PDP.
“80% of people from this state are PDP. The founding fathers of PDP that was mentioned by the state Chairman, Chief Dr Alex Ekwueme, the pioneer Chairman, the founding Chairman of PDP and he is from Anambra.
“Aside the pioneering role played by people like Ekwueme and other leaders from this state. This state has a population that is clearly PDP and the other population that are friends to PDP.”
The former President also said he had huge support from Anambra during the previous elections and his political activities urging the citizens to support the PDP candidate for their business to flourish.
“All my elections and all our activities, the spirit of Anambra has been with the PDP. PDP government headed by Obaze will bring development to Anambra State. In a PDP government, your business will flourish,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police in Abia State, Anthony Ogbizi has declared restriction of movement across the state’s border, ahead of Anambra election set to hold tomorrow, November 18.
Ogbizi on Thursday at the Police Headquarters, in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, said this move became necessary based on intelligence report on threats to lives and properties of citizens and traders at Ariaria Market, Aba by the proscribed group, Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).
He said the recent activities of the group include circulating leaflets aimed to intimidate and force the citizens to close their shops for business on Saturday.
He said IPOB members aim to force the traders to show support for outlawed IPOB that there would be no election and also cause confusion and disrupt the peace and security of Abia State.
“We have commenced the restriction of movement across the border to Anambra State, and that would be enforced amidst tight security. Therefore, we appeal to Nigerians to remain calm and not to be offended when they are being quizzed by the security operatives.
“This is because of the recent activities of the outlawed IPOB that include circulating leaflets with the intention to intimidate and force the citizens to close their shops for business on Saturday, November 18.”
Ogbizi said further that the police is ready to “deal with” any person or group of persons that gather together to carry out activities that are an infringement of the rule of law under any guise.
“If anyone is caught with the leaflet, we will take it very seriously. We are here to warn anybody operating under this guise to desist from doing so,” he said.
The Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Nkwachukwu Orji has said that the commission is ready for the election set to hold tomorrow, November 18 and has received the sensitive materials ahead of the polls.
Orji speaking on Friday,during a telephone interview on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily said these materials have been distributed to all local government areas in the state.
“We have received the sensitive materials yesterday from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and we went ahead to distribute those materials to all the LGAs in Anambra state, there are 21 of them. By the evening of yesterday, all sensitive materials have reached the local government offices of INEC.”
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“Beginning from this morning, 9 o’clock, the electoral officers will sort out these materials and then complete the packing of the electoral bags and then we expect them to deploy to the centres by 4:00 p.m,” he said.
The REC further explained that INEC would have a head count of both its officials scheduled to embark on Saturday’s exercise and the materials available.
Orji said the officials numbering 23,000 were drawn from both members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and students from selected federal tertiary institutions in the state.
He recalled that the commission under his watch has been partnering with the security agencies, with the police taking the lead.
“This is in order to forestall any breakdown of law and order, especially as it concerns escorting the electoral materials before, during and after the polls. Also, not be left out in this preparations are the party agents, electoral observers, and the media.
Mr Oji also said the commission is committed to ensuring that adequate arrangements are made in securing the transportation of the electoral materials and also quickly replace faulty card readers.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Obaze Oseloka has blasted the incumbent governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, saying his administration lacks vision and purpose.
Oseloka, speaking at the Anambra State Governorship Debate organised by Channels Television, he said that the state is in dire need of purposeful government that can fix the state.
‘’This is a government that is visionless; government must be purposeful, government must be adapting. You use your resources for what it’s supposed to be not for what you think is. We need infrastructure that works. We don’t need this type of government in the next four years. I submit myself to serve.’’
Oseloka, who was a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to Obiano’s government said that the current Anambra State government has grounded the state to a position where it needs to be fixed.
‘’This government has spent almost N600billion in the last four years; there is nothing commensurate to show. Where are the roads he (Willie Obiano) constructed? This state is broken, we need to fix it.’’
Speaking on the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Obazele said it is a regrettable development, blaming the Obiano-led administration for sitting and watching while IPOB was proscribed by the federal Government.
‘’What happened is most regrettable. Before IPOB, we’ve had militancy in the Niger Delta, they were never declared terrorists. We had the Fulani herdsmen, they were never declared terrorists and none of them were proscribed. I don’t understand how this governor can sit here and young Igbo men who are unemployed and looking for a source of livelihood were branded terrorists and proscribed.
‘’Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.’’
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra has held a meeting with presidents general of the 177 communities as well as the association of community town criers in the state.
Obiano during the joint meeting which was held at the governor’s lodge in Anambra said the town criers are charged with a critical role of maintaining peace and security towards the upcoming governorship election in Anambra State.
A former Director of State Security Services, Mike Ejiofor, has predicted a decrease in the activities of the Boko Haram sect in 2014 as political activities increases and the nation gears up for state elections in Osun and Ekiti States as well as the forthcoming 2015 general elections.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Ejiofor said: “I’ll tell you outright from forecasts, the activities of Boko Haram are going to go down with the rise of political activities,” he said, insisting that the sect is politically motivated.
The appointment of new Service Chiefs, including the Chief of Defence Staff is also no guarantee that “the activities of Boko Haram will go underground,” he said, faulting the new CDS’ promise to bring an end to the insurgency in before the 2015 elections.
“I believe he should have settled down to study the situation,” he said.
Commenting on the state of the nation’s security, Ejiofor stressed that progress was being made. “In 2013 for instance, we made a lot of progress in terms of security. You can see that the issue of Boko Haram is now restricted to Borno in particular, with occasional splashes in Yobe and some parts of the North East.”
The current situation, he said, “is unlike what we had in 2011 – 2012 when it was bombing everywhere. You had in Kaduna and Kano. It was all over, even in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
“I think we made substantial progress in 2013,” he said but stressed that there were “spill overs from 2013 to 2014.”
According to him, the greatest challenge Nigeria will face in 2014 is on the political front because of preparations for general elections. “I would concentrate more on the political threats.”
“The outcome of the governorship election coming up in Osun and Ekiti states is very critical to the general elections coming up in 2015.
“We should worry as a matter of fact” he said, referring to developments in the polity part of which he said was the mass defections from the PDP to the APC.
According to him, “PDP to Nigerians is just like what the Catholic Church is to the Christendom” and it is healthy for the nations democracy when politicians move in and out of political parties.
On the forthcoming elections, he said: “We should expect some level of violence this year in terms of political activities”.
“INEC should put all they have together and make sure that Osun and Ekiti elections come out clean. At least they should be able to score at least 80 to 90 per cent because we would be deceiving ourselves if we say we expect 100 per cent.”
On INEC’s decision not to conduct elections in the three states currently under emergency rule if security threats persist, Mr Ejifor mentioned the possibility of elections in the state based on the success of local government elections in Yobe state.
He also drew attention to comments made by certain individuals concerning the forthcoming general elections. “My worry is the utterances being made by some elders that would tend to compound our already existing problems.”
“Politically, if we don’t moderate our utterances, it’s going to create a lot of problems.”
He berated elder statesmen who have been making comments that would generate conflict in the polity.
On the arrest of Mr Nasir El-Rufai by the DSS for making inciting comments, Mr Ejiofor said there were bound to be reactions from the people because other individuals had made similar comments and were not seen to be called to order.
He said: “Government should be commended for the tolerance of opposition” as previous administrations had been hostile towards critics.
He further blamed some print media for its way of reporting news which “generates a lot of friction when there is none.”
“Some of our print media are part of the problems we are facing in our security challenges,” he said, citing ambiguous headlines as examples.
He called on the media to “play down on some of the security threats.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) says it will not take part in the January 11 local council election in Anambra State, eastern Nigeria.
One of the political party’s leaders in the State, Senator Chris Ngige, said that the decision was based on the fact that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had planned to give the same voters’ register his party was contesting in court with INEC to the state’s electoral body.
“The same voters’ register used in the governorship election that we are contesting in court is what is expected to be used for the local council polls. “As I speak we have three versions of the voter’s register from the INEC. None of the three versions is good,” Ngige said.
The state governor, Peter Obi, who is of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, said that the election would be free and fair, but some other parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are sceptical about the credibility of the process.
They have expressed fears that the election might be postponed for a fourth time in 12 months.
The PDP leader in the state, Ken Emekeayi, called for compensation from the electoral body, insisting that the postponements of the election had cost them money.
Chris Ngige’s party had boycotted a rescheduled election in the State’s governorship election held in November claiming that minors were registered for the election.
They had presented an alleged voters’ register to the Channles Television showing pictures of minors.
But the electoral body said that minors were not registered for the election.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega has reaffirmed the commitment of the commission to conduct credible elections in 2015.
Addressing resident electoral commissioners during its fourth quarterly meeting in Abuja, Professor Jega stressed the need for the commissioners to streamline preparations for the general elections, in order to avoid the lapses experienced in the Anambra elections.
“As we are all aware, we are moving into the last lap of our work and preparations, in the next one month or so, as we prepare for the 2015 general elections. May I use this opportunity therefore to urge all of us to continue to do our best as we prepare for that election.”
He advised the commissioners to provide the necessary leadership that will guarantee free, fair and credible elections, beginning with the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states in 2014.
“Of course there will be two other governorship elections, namely Ekiti and Osun states before the 2015 elections. The challenge for us is to ensure that we make these governorship elections as the test case in terms of remarkable improvements before the 2015 general elections.”
“Obviously all the lessons we’ve learnt from Anambra and all the efforts that we have been making to make 2015 a successful, peaceful and credible election; we have to also ensure that these are factored into our preparations for these two governorship elections.”
The Director, Strategy Planning of the Tony Nwoye Campaign Organisation, Jude Onyeka, has dismissed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Olise Metuh’s criticisms against All Progressives Congress’ call for an outright cancellation of the controversial Anambra governorship election.
On Saturday, Mr Metuh had praised INEC for proper conduct of the Anambra election and criticised the leadership of the APC for demanding a cancellation of the election.
However, a member of Tony Nwoye’s (PDP’s candidate) campaign team, Onyeka, described the electoral process as a charade and supported the call for cancellation which seemed to fuel rumours that there is no alignment between the PDP at the national level and the state level, in Anambra.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Onyeka assured the public that the PDP was in one accord as the party chairman, Bamaga Tukur, who gave them a mandate to contest in the election, also gave all the support needed.
He commented on Metuh’s statement and said “Chief Olisa Metuh is only an individual, as far as I’m concerned,” adding that he only expressed his own opinion.
He added that Metuh, who is based in Abuja and did not participate in the election, was not the right person to adjudge the election as ‘free and fair.’
“This election, as far as we are concerned, is a mere charade.”
Onyeka also denied claims by the APC that the PDP sold Nwoye’s supporters to APGA.
“Our candidate, Tony Nwoye and all his supporters went into that election because we know that if the election was conducted on a free and fair basis our candidate will emerge the governor elect of Anambra state. So there’s no how we would have sold our mandate to APGA.”
The Tony Nwoye team had successfully campaigned in all 177 communities in the state with 2 weeks. “We wouldn’t have taken such pains if we were thinking of selling our mandate to APGA.”
He stated that anything short of an outright cancellation of the election would not be free and fair.
Since the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) that it would conduct supplementary elections in some parts of Anambra state, legal practitioners have begun to examine the legality of that declaration.
Adding that Section 23 of the Electoral Act provides “where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election, and there is reason to believe that serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies, INEC may postpone the election, and shall in respect of the area, or areas concerned appoint another date for the holding of the postponed election provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable”.
Some legal practitioners are divided whether this section applies in the Anambra polls.
A lawyer, Jiti Ogunye has said that according to the electoral act its strange to see INEC say they want to conduct a supplementary election when elections have been held; stating that this is not the full election which would involve elections into the House of Assembly but a solo election, insisting “there is nothing like supplementary elections”.
Some of them who spoke to our judiciary correspondent, Shola Shoyele are of the opinion that “supplementary election” seems to be an addition to our political language.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Electoral Monitoring Committee, Dafe Akpedeye (SAN) has praised the new tactics employed by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in ensuring a hitch-free election.
Speaking to Channels Television in Awka, Akpedeye said: “INEC keeps tweaking things and try to get them better. One of the challenges we have had is the issue of ballot snatching” adding that “you could snatch a ballot box and take it to another unit and it could go back”.
He further noted that “what INEC has done is that they tied each ballot box to a particular polling unit, so if you took a ballot box away, the chance of you getting it back to that polling unit is next to nothing and that is why you haven’t seen any issue of ballot box snatching today”.
He also noted that about 700, 000 persons were tweaked out of the voter register because they “didn’t do their due process” thereby pruning the number of voters from 2.4 million to 1.7 million.
Akpedeye further noted that “INEC keeps thinking of better ways of doing things” insisting that “the challenges are still there”.
He however berated the late arrival of voting materials to the polling units saying; “I would have thought we would be able to seamlessly deliver voting materials for the voters latest by 9AM”.
He noted that the bad state of the roads made traveling from one spot to the other took quite more than normal.
Money Exchanging Hands
An election observer, Festus Okoye, confirmed that there was an exchange of money between the voters and representatives of the candidates.
He however noted that those who collected the money claimed they were getting back their money.
“The money belongs to us (voters) so we are going to collect it and still vote in accordance with pure conscience,” the voters were quoted as saying..
Okoye praised the attitude of INEC officials and voters in the polling unit he monitored but maintained that “there are operational and logistics challenges that INEC must overcome”.