By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said yesterday, that no fewer than two million voters have been registered for the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Dr. Nwachukwu Orji, who spoke during a meeting with Electoral Officers and members of the Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in Awka said the comprehensive register would be printed in the next three weeks, adding that they would be published in three instalments in all the local government areas of the state.
Yesterday’s programme was put together by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, with the support by the British Department for International Development, DFID.
Orji added that there would be massive deployment of security operatives, explaining that of the 21,000 security personnel that would be needed for the election, about 2,000 were already on ground.
He also said the state INEC would seek approval from the national headquarters to source for ad-hoc staff from tertiary institutions in and around Anambra State to complement the about 7,000 to be provided by the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.
Orji, who assumed office recently as the INEC boss in the state, said 35 governorship candidates would contest the election, stressing that political parties that conducted their primaries without inviting INEC should realise that they embarked on illegal exercise as their candidates would not participate in the election.
According to him, INEC had also asked the successful candidates from the INEC-monitored primaries to provide the commission with their detailed profile, including their background, educational qualifications, among other information for necessary action.
Orji said that INEC would monitor the campaigns to look out for hate speech and other unwholesome conducts, warning political parties and their candidates to play the game according to the rules.
He said that one of the measures being taken to ensure free and fair election was to move around the staff of INEC and transfer those who were due to move out of the state.
The REC said: “We discovered that contrary to election principles, many staff of INEC have stayed too long in their duty posts. We also discovered that even when INEC transferred people out of Anambra, they found their way back and we have ensured that those who were due for transfer should go. We have also changed all the Electoral Officers in the 21 local government areas as part of measures to ensure free and fair poll.”
In his speech, Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, PLAC, Dr. Clement Nwankwo, said the entire country was expecting an exceptional poll in Anambra State in November because previous elections in the state fell below the minimum standard.
“Every eye is on this election because its success will give an idea of what will happen in 2019. As election umpires and observers, we should be bold to do the right thing. South East has a low standard of election compliance and the last election in Anambra State was far below the standard”.