Anambra demands free, fair and credible election

Six days to the  Anambra  governorship election  and tension has risen to fever pitch  all over the state.  While the campaigns  have so far been rather peaceful, devoid of real violence, many concerned political observers in the  state  are anxiously wondering and asking whether the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  in  Awka  is indeed willing to deliver a reasonably free, fair and credible vote  come Saturday. ADVERTISING Of course there have been the usual pronouncements and attestations from relevant top    officials of the INEC and the police,  confidently assuring Nigerians and  Anambrarians,  in particular,  of their preparedness for a hitch-free election. Assurances have been repeatedly given by the INEC  of the early distribution of non-sensitive materials  to all local government headquarters, as well as their readiness to deliver all other  materials promptly on the day. The police, on their part  are,  as always,  “on top of the situation”  with so many thousands of crack officers and no-nonsense commanders  “on the ground”  to ensure maximum security for the election. Yet many concerned observers of our recent political history and of elections,  in particular,  remain genuinely  skeptical. They remain largely skeptical because these agencies have yet to rise fully to the level of unbiased, proudly detached and  disinterested umpires and guardians  that  we expect them to be.  Election after election, almost invariably, INEC men and /or materials fail to arrive some voting  centres  on time, arrive terribly late or not at all.  The 2013 experience of  Obosi  and much  of  Idemili  North and South  Local Government Areas  of the state is a case in point. At the time, one notable candidate was inevitably disadvantaged by an INEC that unaccountably  failed to monitor and  control the situation in an area no more than 40  minutes away from  Awka  by road!. And given the miracle of communication  technology  in the 21st  century world, there should be no reason  whatsoever why the INEC in  Awka  should not be on top of its game-throughout  Anambra. Accordingly, concerned  Anambrarians  would challenge the INEC to give to Nigeria  and the  Anambra  electorate, in particular,  a good Christmas present by way of a truly free, fair and credible  election. On its part, the police should dedicate itself  to  doing a good job of the  Anambra election. After recent scandals appearing to  compromise  the  image of the police, the officers and men may wish  to utilize the opportunity of the electon  to launder their image.  The officers  –  in  –  command  must  ensure that their men are  efficiently  distributed across the 21  local government areas of the state.  They should  do their best to come across as friendly-not hostile,  yet  serious and uncompromisingly  neutral in the all-important assignment of maintaining security, law and order,  throughout  Anambra during and immediately after the election. Saturday shall be a litmus  test not necessarily for  Anambra but also for the APC- led Federal Government,  INEC and the police.The way the poll is managed  by all concerned could determine  whither  goes  Anambra and indeed  Igboland  in the foreseeable future.