In writing this opinion, I am by no means attempting to pre-empt the outcome of the Anambra State Governorship Election and neither am I nervous. My wish is for the government of the people, by the people and for the people to triumph this November 6th.
As a people, we are sick and tired of our hope for good governance being delayed by the nefarious activities of lousy political actors who think crimes committed under the guise of politics bear no consequences.
During my private visit to Anambra State, I tried to interact with the people. The general opinion is that this election is a contest between four political parties which may be narrowed down as a duel between the State ruling ‘All Progressive Grand Alliance’ (APGA) and the Centre ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). On the streets, speculations are rife that APC is desperate to steal the election contrary to the injunction in the Holy Book in Exodus 20 Vs 15 – ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’. This 8th Commandment is unconditional as it corresponds with the 1st and 9th Commandments ‘You Shall Have No Other gods Before Me’ and vs 16 – ‘You Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor’, for he that steals lie and denies God.
As many people that I tried to engage, believe the desperation to steal the election is now obsessive. They cite the strategy of financially inducing tainted politicians to defect with a view of creating the false perception of acceptability in preparation for the steal. They also cite the false flag security breaches in the once peaceful State and high-profile political murders orchestrated by certain politicians to create a state of insecurity that will enable imposition of State of Emergency, as a negative pointer.
Though many can see through the scam, yet they are worried knowing the antecedent of the players. They believe anyone who could steal a primary election of his party without fear of consequence can steal the main election. They think the State will be doomed if her future is handed over to a desperado whose mindset is that everyone has a price and that every conscience can be bought.
Some people I spoke to insist that the APC candidate is a trojan horse candidate of Miyetti Allah Allah Kautal Hore. They said that the funds being used to induce politicians came from the notorious group who are anxious to foist their hegemonic interest in the South East. They believe capturing Anambra will nail the coffin against further resistance against open grazing and RUGA in the region.
However, going by popular public opinion and the mood of the people, Prof Soludo is poised for a landslide. Anambra wants Soludo but Abuja wants Uba, and from every indication, Abuja is not interested in free and fair election. The unholy alliance between Abuja, the Security Agencies and INEC to cheat and steal the election is thickening for even the blind to see.
Part of the scenario painted is to either declare a state of emergency in the State so as to demobilize the State government apparatus and where that fails, to saturate Anambra State with thousands of armed policemen and soldiers purposely to intimidate voters and suppress voter turn-out in APGA strongholds; overwhelm the Governor by withdrawing his security details, thus putting him at risk; put security forces at the disposal and command of the APC candidate; arrest known APGA chieftains on trump up charges days to the election so as to dis-organize APGA’s ground strategy; finally, irrespective of how the people voted, use INEC to declare APC candidate the winner even if it means doing so at gun point. Similar scenario played out in the Imo West Senatorial Election where the INEC Returning Officer was forced at gun point to declare the APC candidate as winner. Despite INEC feeble resistance , that declaration was affirmed as valid by our willing and ineptly corrupt judiciary.
If APC steals the election, the tough question is, what will APGA and Soludo do? Go to the tribunal and waste time and resources on corrupt judges? How many of our judges have the nerve to go against the will of an anxious President who had undemocratically instructed his foot soldiers to ‘capture’ a state at all cost?
Stealing elections is not uncommon in Nigeria. From 1960, when Nigeria attained political independence to date, the country has had the dubious honor of conducting some of the most muddled-up elections in the world. Elections in Nigeria are characterized by fraud thereby denying the people the right to choose their leaders in a free and fair contest. Election rigging since Independence has delayed Nigeria’s hope for consolidated democracy. For democracy to be consolidated, the government at all levels must be legitimate. Legitimacy is in the belief in the rightness and appropriateness of the government in power and acceptability of their policies by the populace.
Some of the electoral malpractices which have continued to manifest in successive elections which Soludo and his supporters must look out for include: Illegal buying of voters’ cards; Ballot box switching and inflation of figures; Stuffing of ballot boxes; Illegal possession of ballot boxes; Falsification of election results; Illegal thumb printing; Compilation of fictitious names on voters lists; Change of list of electoral officials; Harassment of candidates, agents and voters by security agents and thugs; Announcing results in places where no election was held; Illegal printing of forms used for collection and declaration of election results; Deliberate refusal to supply election materials; Unauthorized announcement of election results; Illegal compilation of separate voters’ lists; Use of violence and thugs imported from Imo and Ebonyi; Undue interference by security agents; Illegal arrest of political opponents; Rigging through the Courts, etc.
Rigging through the courts is now the new normal. This is a situation where the tribunals and the highest court are used without shame to sanction and authenticate the worst kind of electoral heist. The Imo debacle of late still haunts and will continue to haunt our electoral process and jurisprudence.
The above scenarios are what Soludo and his supporters must fully access and contend with including preparing for organized resistance of any attempt to use the police and the military to rig or change results. APGA supporters must turn out to vote massively for their candidate. Not even the old or the sick should have reasons not to vote as this election is the most important election for the State.
However, if per chance the election is rigged, Soludo and APGA must under no circumstances concede victory to APC. Nothing but a landslide should be acceptable to him and his party. The odds in this election favors Soludo especially with the current economic hardship and lack-luster performance of the APC led Federal Government.
Take the economy for example; the APC government is an unmitigated disaster. They lack economic direction and has ran the economy hopelessly aground. It is a question of common sense, that when the economy is lousy and businesses are down due to prolonged lockdown, rather than increase tariffs and taxes the natural response to stimulate the economy will be to put money into people’s pockets and into productivity.
The President and his ruling party do not care. They don’t care about the sufferings of the people. If they did, they will understand that this is not the best time to increase cost of living which is already high. The consequence of the sporadic increase in cost of living is stagflation.
Besides insensitivity and ignorance, what is at play in Nigeria today is sheer wickedness. Only an insane population will reward with votes and electoral victory candidates of a political party whose actions and policies are designed to impoverish them. In Anambra 2021, the people must be prepared to stop the steal, and tell potential thieves in no uncertain terms – ‘ Thou Shalt Not Steal’.
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