Group urges free, fair, credible poll in Anambra

The Federal Social Democrats Movement (FSDM), a pressure group, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the forthcoming Nov. 6 Anambra governorship election is free, fair and credible.Mr Gbayode Somuyiwa, the group’s Interim Publicity Secretary, gave the advice in a statement on Monday in Abuja.“The FSDM considers it expedient to lend its voice on the uncertainties surrounding the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State.“As we approach Nov. 6, 2021, the scheduled date for the election, there is palpable anxiety on whether the atmosphere is conducive enough for INEC to conduct the election.“

This election is one of three that are expected to hold before the general elections of 2023. The other two pending elections are those of Ekiti and Osun States slated for 2022.“The Anambra election provides an opportunity for INEC to introduce a few reforms aimed at improving on its past performances,” Somuyiwa noted.He added that one of the innovations introduced by INEC was the electronic transmission of election results which generated heated debate in the polity.

He further added that the major concern of the group was the current state of fear, violence and criminality going on in Anambra.He noted that the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has issued a threat of a total lockdown of the South-East from Nov. 5 to Nov. 10, unless its leader who is being prosecuted at a Federal High Court was unconditionally released.Somuyiwa, however, stressed that INEC must organise a free, fair, and credible election in the state, not withstanding the present challenges.

He urged IPOB to allow the election to hold, saying that it should call off its threat to lockdown the entire South-East region.Somuyiwa said IPOB should allow the judicial process to determine the fate of its leader.“Lockdown is counter-productive, and it is not in the interest of the people of the state. Instigating violence to stop the election will hurt the ordinary people more.“Those engaged in this act should be wary of playing into the hands of anti-democratic forces who have hinted at imposing emergency rule in the state.“

INEC cannot afford to be sloppy with its arrangements and logistics. Situation where electoral materials do not arrive on time at polling stations or where polling stations cannot be located must be avoided.“Reports of peaceful election campaigns coming out of the state is encouraging.“We urge all political parties taking part in the election to avoid violence and plead with their supporters not to cause trouble before, during and after the elections,” he said.

He called on the people of Anambra to turn out in large numbers to cast their votes to choose the preferred candidate who would be their next governor.Somuyiwa stressed that election was not an end but a means to an end, adding that whoever won, should be magnanimous in victory and losers too must be gallant.“It is time for all well meaning persons from the state to come together and ensure that the election holds.

We at FSDM say Anambra State governorship election must hold,” he said.The FSDM is a political movement whose mission is to galvanise the people to build a value-driven society inspired and sustained by selfless leaders, restoring trust in public service and bringing governance closer to the people.(NAN)