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Anambra Youths Protest Multiple Candidates, Issue Ultimatum To INEC

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Hundreds of agitated youths converged at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s office at Awka , Anambra State on Tuesday, demanding action by the Commission to stop aspirants not listed as their party’s candidates in the State from continued electoral campaigns. The youths who marched through the streets of Awka in the scorching mid day sun to vent their anger said they were giving INEC forty – eight hours to enforce the provisions of the electoral laws on party candidacy or forget about holding elections in Anambra State.

 

Presenting their grievances to the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Engr Edwin Nwatalari, the President – General, Coalition of Anambra Youth, Comrade Ikem Maduagwu, faulted the electoral commission, the Police and other security agencies for looking the other way while self – declared candidates created confusion, soliciting for votes.

 

‘The campaign is for those whose names are published by INEC to campaign for the election not those who are claiming to be candidates and deceiving the masses. The INEC rules, the electoral act and the Constitution of Nigeria make it sacrosanct that all political parties must field only one candidate to contest each elective post.’

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Comrade Maduagwu condemned the statement credited to the PDP national secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo who reportedly called on the party’s rival candidates in the state to continue with their campaigns.  ‘This shows that they have designed this unlawful strategy to gain advantage over other parties.’

 

The protesting youths cited numerous instances of triple candidates/aspirants by the PDP in Anambra State for the three senatorial seats as well as House of Representatives and state assembly constituencies, insisting that enough was enough.  They demanded that the INEC take the following steps within forty – eight hours: announce the authentic PDP candidates in the state; stop the campaigns of illegal candidates in the media; direct security agencies to arrest illegal candidates; and direct removal of billboards and other campaign materials of illegal candidates in public places.

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The youth leader stressed that since elections cannot take place in an atmosphere of confusion and illegality, failure to stop the illegal candidates would mean that the February polls do not take place in Anambra State.

 

Responding, the REC told the angry youths that their complaint will be forwarded to the INEC headquarters, Abuja. He reassured them that their demands would be addressed.

 

It will be recalled that the Anambra House of Assembly had two weeks ago passed a law making  campaigns by aspirants not known to INEC an offence bordering on breach of the public peace.

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