Some months ago, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was busy preparing for the next governorship election to produce who was going to be the next governor of the state. Unknown to the electoral umpire, a rag-tag, outlawed and belligerent people, the self-styled indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were equally busy planning to make the election perfectly unrealizable, thus disenfranchising the citizens of the state.
IPOB resorted to intimidating the electorate asking them not to come out on the election day, as doing so would lead to their untimely deaths using other antics to cower the people of Anambra. The Anambrarians, thinking that not coming out to vote on the election day, would mean mortgaging their future should the Federal Government decide to declare a state of emergency in the state and bringing an administrator to manage the state, became more daring, braving all odds and trooped out in their large numbers to vote for their choice candidate.
The election finally took place on November 18, 2017 expectedly under an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The citizens practically displayed their equanimity throughout the duration of the election by being orderly. There was no single case of electoral violence. Watching the voting on the television told much of people as embracing the rule of law. The security agencies deployed for the election had little or nothing to contend with.
The citizens shamed the IPOB greatly by being orderly and adhering with electoral laws guiding the exercise while it lasted. Over the years, Anambra had been known to be the “boss of the bosses” (apology to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan) of other states in the South East geo-political zone and had produced eminent people from the state.
Recall that the first Igbo business merchant the late Chief Louis Philip Odumegwu Ojukwu had his legendary building the Nnewi Building in Apapa, Lagos State. He was also the father of the late Biafran warlord Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu; not forgetting the celebrated literary giant, the late Professor Chinua Achebe and others like the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, First Republic Nigerian President, the late ex-Deputy President Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
The state had always come tops in all human endeavours, be it in academic, business, military and merchandise. Little wonder they disowned the IPOB completely in this matter of guber election in the state. Anambra State had never been known to be a ‘Yes’ or compromised state because of a bunch of brains it is endowed with.
Now that the election had been won and lost, and now that Willie Obiano is back to office for the second time, it behoves him to tighten his belt for another struggle to make the state a numero uno for which it was known.
We commend President Muhammadu Buhari, the INEC, and all security agencies deployed to oversee the election for giving us a hitch-free, violence-free election devoid of extra-judicial killings, and thuggery in all ramifications. The behaviour of the Anambra citizens and their comportment in the election will be a yardstick to measure the conduct of the forthcoming 2019 election and subsequent ones.
Finally, we appeal to the relevant stakeholders in election matters – INEC, security agencies and the citizenry to replicate the Anambra action in subsequent elections nationwide.
INEC deserves our big thank you for this big task in the face of extreme provocation from the brutish IPOB members and other enemies of democracy in the land.
Equally deserving our thanks are the people of Anambra for being steadfast and circumspect during the election. Other states should emulate them in their own and the country’s interest. They will always be counted in the scheme of things.