By Henry Umoru
ABUJAâ€”FORMER Secretary General ofÂ Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, yesterday warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)Â and the Federal Government to spare the people of Anambra State of a rigged February 6, 2010 gubernatorial election.
HeÂ spoke at the first Anambra State National Summit on Security and Development, with the theme, â€œAnambra: the challenges of Values and Relevance in the 21st Century.â€
Anyaoku, who noted that the state would serve as a litmus test to the electoral body and the government, stressed that if a successful election, that which is devoid of rigging, manipulation and loss of lives is conducted in the state, then the 2011 general election would be a walk over.
The political gladiators who were at the centre of the discourse were absent at the summit.
Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate; his deputy, Senator Emma Anosike; the self-acclaimed political godfather in Anambra politics, Chief Chris Uba; his brother, Dr. Andy Uba; Mr. Ukachukwu Nicholas, among others, were absent.
The former Commonwealth scribe, who warned the politicians that the people were tired of godfatherism andÂ do-or-die politics in the state, stressed that the candidates should engage in politics that is based on manifesto.
He addedÂ that politics should be seen by politicians as an avenue to render service to the people as well as engage in meaningful development.
Anyaoku, who described the scenario where 47 aspirants emerged from PDP to struggle for a slot, as laughable, said, â€œI want to appeal to all those involved that the people of the state are tired of political godfatherism which denies them the effectiveness of their votes, that the people are tired of do-or-die politics.â€
Earlier, the convener and chairman of the forum, Chief Simon Okeke, noted that the forum marked the beginning of a new trajectory in their collective resolve to take Anambra State to new levels of articulation and relevance.
He stressed that they were not at the forum to merely talk about the potentials of the state but to analyse the problems.
â€œWe have now decided that the time has come for us to reclaim our collective destiny and stand with pride as befits us as Ndi Anambra.
â€œThat time is now, we have gathered to brainstorm on the way forward. Our objectives as an organisation is to offer our people a voice, a platform and an eldersâ€™ custodian role in matters affecting Anambra State and its people.
”Our motto is â€œOnye malu nwanne ya,â€ which is an open invitation to us to be one anotherâ€™s keeper and work as a united group for the development and prosperity of our state.â€
At the event were former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme; Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili; Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe; former Action Congress Vice-Presidential candidate, Senator Ben Obi; former Commissioner of Police, FCT, Lawrence Alobi, among others.