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Anambra – Surprises All The Way

WHY is there sudden silence about Anambra? Is it over disappointment that Ndi Anambra deflected national expectation, promoted to international proportions, that the gubernatorial election would prove again that Anambra State was not amenable to democratic ethos?

International observers, the media, contestants and most of those who witnessed the election admitted it passed the tests, on several scores for credibility. The admission was the beginning.

Candidate after candidate has accepted the result and refused to purse the legal window that is open to all those who feel the process did not meet their standards for credibility and fairness.

The images caked in our minds are of the Labour Party candidate Dr. Andy Uba, for example, visiting Governor Peter Obi to accept the result. Dr. Uba wore one of his best smiles. Could the man have been happy at his loss?

Changes are taking place in Anambra. A deeper look would show the change is the same with the one silently sweeping through the country. Nigerians are tired of violence. Nigerians want their votes to count. Nigerians also want to confirm the violence that permeates the electoral process is external to them.

We also saw the other candidates, notably Professor Chukwuma Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, conceding the election. Mrs. Uche Ekwunife also said it was over for her.

Except for the quisling in a few quarters, it appears the candidates have agreed that there was no point pursuing the matter further.

Did anyone expect that type of reaction from Anambra where it was thought a suit from each of the 25 candidates was the minimum protest in the circumstance? The candidates comported themselves well and they deserve full commendations for embracing the sterling principles of democracy.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has a great opportunity of building on the election in Anambra. One of the ways is to tell Nigerians what it did to make this possible, in case it knows. The other is to point at the benefits of the conduct of the politicians in Anambra State and ask others to embrace it.

A particularly sore aspect of the logistics was the delay in the distribution of electoral material occasioned by an attempt by police authorities to keep the allowances intended for police personnel that had to accompany the materials. We hope the police would investigate this matter and punish offenders, whose greed, if unpunished, would ruin future elections.

We can celebrate the success of the election in Anambra, but it is important to accept that the election does not reflect the full abilities of INEC, if it had to conduct elections across the country on the same day. The challenge remains to see how INEC would perform on such a day.

Someday, there would be real cause to celebrate electoral sanctity in Nigeria.

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