Vanguard (Lagos)

25 September 2013

Nigeria: Anambra 2013 - for Votes to Count

ANAMBRA State has managed to be on the amazing side of politics. It seems to have an unceasing affinity to bizarre political 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 most of Awka in ruins - again it was unpunished - Anambra descends to further complications at election seasons.

Since, 2003, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has had two lists of candidates, authentic and factional, for any election. The other parties are copying the practice that rubbishes voters' choices. Legal decisions and disqualifications can nullify voters' choices.

As in the past, candidates would campaign vigorously to be elected for a post, if he wins, another person would be sworn-in, the rival candidate could utilise legal channels to claim the seat.

In a pattern that usually appears questionable, the litigation is concluded after the results of the polls have been announced leaving in its trail contradictions. Against this backdrop, not a few are beginning to see it as a ploy by parties to manipulate the polls.

The fallout of the recent gubernatorial primaries by most political parties has once again reaffirmed that Anambra may not be in a hurry to quit being the hotbed of intrigues. Now, it is not only PDP that is enmeshed in the incoherence of having two candidates for the election. Other parties are also mired in the condemnable act which creates an impression of an unserious exercise.

Until the courts otherwise adjudicate, the leading parties in Anambra have two gubernatorial candidates. PDP has Comrade Tony Nwoye and Senator Andy Uba is laying claims to the same ticket. The ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance led by Chief Victor Umeh has Chief Willy Obiano as candidate, the factional APGA led by Chief Maxi Okwu is presenting Dr. Chike Obidigbo.

The same scenario obtains in Labour Party, LP where Ifeanyi Ubah and Peter Nwosu are the party's rival flag-bearers. All candidates are campaigning.

Challenges parties face presenting candidates is another indication of party their structures and weakness of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. The Electoral Act should be amended to forestall multiplicity of candidates from the same party. With the November 16 election only 52 days away, the candidates should be certain.

The courts should facilitate this by concluding all pending matters on the election. One man, one vote is gaining currency in the country, and should be encouraged.

Equity demands that it should be one party, one candidate for a particular electoral position. Multiple candidacies if unchecked could become a new rigging strategy where parties deploy more candidates to increase their support base.

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