AFTER recent peaceful and credible governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, the flood lights are now beamed on Anambra State. Christened the Light of the Nation, Anambra, since 1999, has managed to be on the amazing side of politics with a capacity to unleash a mixed blend of interesting, unusual and bizarre offerings.
From being the only state, where a governor has been abducted and his known abductors remain political lords to the organised arson that left many public institutions in ruins in Awka, Anambra is also the only state that has not held local council elections since 1999. And virtually every election in the state has been resolved by the courts.
The ugly side of Anambra politics dominated proceedings at the sensitisation workshop for political parties and stakeholders organised by the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi, last Wednesday in Awka, the Anambra State Capital. The National Secretary of the MPPP, Comrade Douglas Ojobo, rubbed the caustic criticism in, when he advised Anambra politicians to turn a new leaf because “Anambra State has been known with negativism in terms of politics.”
Before Ojobo spoke, Major General Ike Nwachukwu, who chaired the event, had urged the stakeholders to make Anambra people proud and shed the cloak of election manipulators. “In this small hall today, are men and women, who will make Anambra people proud. Make them proud because your collective will to put behind us all the clichés that this state encourages electioneering thuggery and malpractice, does not accept the outcome of elections, even where it is glaring that a loser truly and squarely lost; and, support attitudes uncomplimentary to representational democracy. I believe we can turn a new page in the history of Anambra politics and set the standard for the rest of the country to emulate,” he said.
The criticism and advice elicited a vow from the leaders and candidates of the 23 political parties taking part in the November 16 election that they would shame critics by supporting and upholding free and fair election.
Ensuring free, fair and credible election is beyond mere vows. The parties have to match their vows with action. On-going campaigns of calumny among parties and candidates, bickering, mud-slinging and character assassination as opposed to issue-based campaigns are certainly not paths to credible and rancor-free election.
The election is the last this year ahead of Osun and Ekiti gubernatorial polls next year and the 2015 general elections. Anambrarians must get up and be counted. The good people of the state, who are undoubtedly the overwhelming majority must rise up and say no to the minority few that gives Anambra a bad name.