Anambra House Election: The Votes Must Count this Time – By James Eze


Thousands of voters who endured the scorching sun and malfunctioning
card-readers to cast their votes in last week’s Presidential and
National Assembly elections in Anambra State are still reeling from
the shock of the dubious results announced by INEC at the end of the
exercise. In what could easily pass for a faint reminder of the
Hobbesian Days of the old Anambra, the people watched, helpless as the
state Resident Electoral Commissioner announced what has been widely
condemned as voodoo results that have no bearing with the actual votes
cast in the various polling booths and cheekily handed victory to all
PDP candidates, some of who never even ran any serious campaign before
the elections.

From Umuerum to Ihiala and from Ogbaru to Amansea, the sense of
outrage is the same. Ndi Anambra are shell-shocked.  They are deeply
gobsmacked by what they consider the greatest electoral heist in
recent memory. The prevailing sense of revulsion stems from the FACT
that even the most political ignoramus in Anambra State can testify
that as far as the actual votes cast at the polling booths are
concerned, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) won almost all
the seats in contest. The sense of wonder therefore came from the
final results declared by INEC. Ndi Anambra are still bewildered at
what may have happened at the collation stage of the electoral
exercise where they believe that the mandates they had graciously
handed to their preferred APGA candidates in order to finally give
gravitas to the party in the state were thwarted and dubiously
allocated to PDP candidates.

Giving words to the people’s collective outrage, Chief Arthur Nwandu,
a respected opinion leader in Anaocha Local Government Area described
the show of force by PDP elements during the elections as bizarre and
unacceptable. Narrating what he saw in his locality, Chief Nwandu said
he witnessed some gangster-like PDP agents struggling to wrestle the
collated results in the Council Area from the returning officers.
“They were led by Hon. Uche Ekwunife and Chike Undenze,” he recalled.
“After a while, Uche Ekwunife stepped out and made a phone call and in
no time at all, soldiers and policemen arrived the scene and began to
beat people up. They beat up the deputy chairman of the local
government and bundled him into a van and carried him away with the
result sheets. They were escorted by an armed personnel carrier as if
we were in a war.  This thing is unacceptable in modern Nigeria. It
should not be allowed to happen. We say no to this kind of politics in
Anambra State. We reject it in totality!” he thundered!

Chief Nwandu is not alone in this season of fermenting discontent. The
APGA Senatorial candidate for Anambra State, Chief Victor Umeh could
not put a firm cork on his own rage. Battling unsuccessfully to keep
bitterness away from his voice, Chief Umeh compared what happened in
the March 28, 2015 elections to what happened in the 2003
gubernatorial election in Anambra State when APGA won and the PDP
elements hijacked the poll results and awarded victory to themselves.
“I can assure you that the PDP candidates lost woefully in this
election and we are going to prove to them that Anambra State is not a
guineapig that anyone can use to test the efficacy of their drugs.
Those mandates given to APGA candidates will be recovered. It is a
huge shame that the government of Nigeria should empower a young woman
of 42 years of age with the police and the army to ravage Anambra
State in the name of national politics. It is a huge shame. We are
going to reverse this!” he bellowed. Chief Umeh, a veteran of many
electoral legal battles is already spoiling for another bout of legal
kamikaze war with some erstwhile allies who have followed political
expediency to the other side of the divide. Living true to his
reputation, Chief Umeh reminded his new political foes of his
antecedents, saying; “I am Chief Victor Umeh, I have been leading
Anambra State and Igbo people in the struggle for self-definition. I
assure them that within weeks and months they will begin to count
their losses. Their victory cannot be sustained.”

Earlier in his statewide broadcast on the elections, the governor of
Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano had deployed a strong language to
condemn the travesty that was the March 28, 2015 elections in Anambra
State. In a voice laden with emotion, Governor Obiano had declared, “I
must condemn in strong terms, the brazen return of brigandage and
lawlessness displayed in the last elections by PDP stalwarts in
Anambra State who hijacked the electoral process at the collation
stages and came up with spurious figures as the final results of the
elections. Fellow citizens, I want to assure you that the dubious
victory of the PDP in the National Assembly Elections of last Saturday
shall not stand! We have assembled the necessary documentary and
material evidence that will expose the bare-faced lies of the PDP and
retrieve the mandate that you graciously gave to all APGA candidates
from the law courts,” he assured, urging Ndi Anambra not to lose hope.

Now, the thing about the Anambra elections is that it has all the
makings of an infuriating democratic farce. The open show of federal
power by some PDP figures in the state was simply rankling. What with
several reports alleging that the Chairman of Transformation
Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), Chief Ifeanyi Ubah had slapped the
ebullient billionaire, Ernest Azudialu Obiejesi, the Chairman of Nest
Oil Group in a senseless brawl that was witnessed by Olisa Metu, the
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP. What with the stories of how
Hon. Uche Ekwunife had patrolled the length and breadth of Anaocha
Local Government with an Armed Personnel Carrier, threatening to crush
all opposition with powers from Abuja.  And  what with the reported
mob-like invasion of Idemili by a serving federal minister to ensure
that his sibling won the election in the area. But even so, all these
are mere skirmishes when one considers the fact that the electoral
tempest that struck Anambra State in the last elections actually came
to a head when two people were gunned down in Ihiala.

So, if Ndi Anambra are shell-shocked, it is understandable. They are
shell-shocked because it seems like dejavu all over again. All of a
sudden, they are seeing the same recklessness, the same barbarism that
pockmark the days of the locust…the days when PDP held sway in Anambra
State and put the dreams and hopes of a most illustrious people on
hold for a very long time. And after recovering from the shock, they
have finally resolved that whatever it takes, they would hold INEC and
the regulatory authorities responsible for anything that sets Anambra
State back into the dark, airless nights from which APGA government
has released them, giving everyone the chance to breathe again!

Eze writes from Awka.



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