CDD sues for peace ahead of Nov 6 Anambra Governorship election

By Peter Usman://

Centre for Democracy & Development, CDD has sued for peaceful Anambra state Governorship election scheduled to hold on the 6th November, 2021.

CDD also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to deploy electoral materials early enough to polling stations and advised civic groups to intensify voter education and stakeholder engagement in the next 48 hours.

The call was made at a press conference organized by Centre for Democracy & Development in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations, CSOs in Abuja on Thursday.

The Centre urged voters not to be intimidated by threats to their hard-fought democratic franchise.

CDD noted that substantial security presence particularly in Awka, the state capital, will ensure that polls are held in some form.

The group however urged security agencies to respect rules of engagement while securing voters as well as INEC staff and infrastructure during the election.

The centre stated that lessened deployments in more provincial Local Government Areas will elevate the risk of armed attacks on polling station and clashes with security agents.

On voter’s turnout, the centre observed that it will likely be lower than usual amid the IPOB sit-at-home order, threats by non-state armed groups and the heavy deployment of security agents.

Addressing journalists at the press conference, Princess Hamman Obels of Election Analyst Centre, stated that November 6th Anambra election is an important litmus test for Nigeria’s democracy and development.

Obels recalled that in the past few months, the nation’s focus has been on this election because of what it represents at the moment of our national development.

She stated that the uppermost on everybody’s mind has been the deteriorating security situation in Anambra and across the Southeast resulting from the eruption of recurring and brazen attacks undertaken by supposedly “unknown” assailants.

These attacks, according to her, have targeted the Police, the Nigerian Correctional Service, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, resulting in several casualties as well as the destruction of state properties and equipment.

She said, “This has also coincided with the seeming intensification of the agitations of separatist groups, with the most pronounced manifestation of this phenomenon being the declaration and brutal enforcement of repeated sit-at-orders by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB

“Movement following the forcible incarceration of its leader. Aside from deepening the unrest, this development has led to the crippling of economic activities nearly every week, further straining the already burdensome living conditions of most people in the region.

“Against this backdrop, the holding of an election which should ordinarily represent the celebration of a people’s democratic franchise, and an opportunity to determine the course of political events in their state has, for many, become an uncertain and anxiety-ridden affair.

“INEC, media organizations, and political parties have all been affected by the situation, with the sit-at-home orders and sudden outbreaks of violence impacting on voter education, political campaigns, media sensitization efforts, and other elements of the electioneering process.

 “Furthermore, IPOB’s declaration that it will enforce another sit-at-home order, locking down the entire region before and after the election has only added to the prevailing apprehension.

“However, the risk of clashes between state security agents and non-state armed groups as well as the threat of armed attacks on polling stations will remain elevated, particularly in more rural LGAs in the state where security deployments have been relatively scantier.

“While the extraordinary deployment of police and security agents to the state will likely maintain some modicum of stability, the intimidating security presence has also added to the overall sense of unrest.”

The group asserted that the introduction of the Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, which makes use of both fingerprints and facial recognition to verify the identity of voters, will likewise serve to improve the credibility of election results.

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