By Favour Goodness
The Independent National Electoral Commission will today hold an emergency security meeting in Abuja to take a final decision on the conduct of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra state.
There are fears that the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the state may hinder the conduct of the election. Political parties and candidates have reportedly suspended their campaigns owing to the worsening security situation in the state.
Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Victor Ayodele Aluko, said that the emergency Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting would among others deliberate on the way forward.
Asked if the INEC was considering postponing the election as a result of the insecurity in the state, he said the answer would come after today’s meeting.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu had last Wednesday expressed fears over the worsening security challenges in the state.
However, politicians and residents of Anambra have expressed hope that the election would hold as planned despite the security challenges in the state.
The director of media in the Andy Uba campaign council, Afam Ogene said the election would hold and the APC was prepared for it.
A director in the campaign organization of the APGA governorship candidate, Charles Soludo, Don Adinuba, said the insecurity would not affect the election.
Adinuba, who is also the Commissioner for Information in the state, said the government was putting measures in place to ensure peaceful conduct of the election.
Similarly, the publicity secretary of the PDP in the state, Nnamdi Nwangwu, said the party was hopeful that the election would hold and was preparing for it.
A resident of Awka, Gonna Okoli, said that though there were concerns, the election would go as scheduled.
But Madam Nneka Ozoemena, another resident, doubted that the election would hold as non-state actors “continue to decide when people come out and go in.”
The vice president of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Damian Ogene-Okeke, urged the federal and state governments to give the citizens hope of safety.
“Security is the duty of the federal and state governments. They should do the needful by providing security to the people. Nobody is happy that people are being killed every day unchecked. Killing is killing either in Anambra or Zamfara,” he said.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the security challenges in the country
The Commissioner of Police, Tony Olofu, charged his personnel to be firm and resolute inmtaking the battle to the doorstep of the attackers.
A lawyer, Tawo Eja Tawo (SAN), said: “INEC still has the powers to shift the election provided it doesn’t clash with the inauguration of the new governor and provided the incumbent governor’s stay does not extend beyond four years.”
For Hameed Ajibola Jimoh, based on Section 180(3) of the 1999 Constitution, the tenure of a governor can be extended for not more than six months in all if there is a situation of war.
“I think after that period, then the speaker of the state assembly takes over for three months renewable for another three months until INEC can conduct an election,” he said.
Another lawyer, David Onyeike, said if the violence escalates, the federal government could declare a state of emergency and appoint an administrator for the state.