By Clifford Ndujihe
Chief Emma Nkwocha, former Anambra State commissioner for Information and Culture, in this interview, speaks on why today’s election and the March 2 governorship and House of Assembly polls must be free, fair and credible.
The elections begins today what are your expectations from the governments, the political parties, candidates and the people?
With all my heart I envisage free, fair and credible general elections this year just as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has reassured the nation repeatedly. And I sincerely hope so. The electorates should be properly tutored on their voting pattern.
Because a situation where voters are now being lured with cash doesn’t augur well for our democracy. Though it is understandable when viewed from the angle that the voting population that determines who wins are the most impoverished, hence would hardly resist the temptation of those offering them cash in exchange for their votes. From my investigations, these account for the progressively increasing number of voided votes.
Some go as far as collecting money from multiple candidates and parties then go ahead to vote for the highest bidder. The intentional voiding of the ballot when viewed from traditional beliefs was meant to absolve the perpetrators from the consequences of their indiscretion and financial misdemeanor and repercussions.
I wish other parts of the country would emulate Anambra during the last governorship poll in 2017 where two out of the three major parties and their candidates were sharing large sums of money and I stopped it in my ward. I wish INEC would be more at alert like they did in Osun and Ekiti states, that resulted in the apprehension of people buying votes as if at the floor of a stock market. More so, the Federal Government must endeavour to alleviate the harsh economic climate in the country. That is why every four years these leaders come back to buy the people’s votes with pieces of wrappers, bags of rice and some cash. At the end they disappear till the next four years. To me, this is unacceptable.
This is the same country where some governors claim they cannot to pay N30,000 minimum wage. To me, those governors are not saying so because they cannot pay. They can afford it, but were just simply wicked. I will urge the electorates in such states to use the opportunity of this coming election to vote such leaders, especially the governors out.
I know the people cannot muster enough unity and cohesion to do it. Because the governors would muster the power of incumbency, manipulate other relevant organs of government to have their way.
Who do you blame, the constitution?
There is nothing wrong with our constitution, it’s the implementation. Where those who would checkmate the executive are corrupt, they won’t have any moral strength to speak. So, for us to stamp out corruption decisively, the constitution must be thinkered for some of the overbearing powers of the president to be clipped. Also, so that where either the president or a governor for example did not perform well in the first four years the voters would simply vote him out and he won’t be able to handle the action. All this INEC abracadabra about voters and parties are neither here nor there.
Look at what is happening about the case of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, which quoting the Senate President, was an impeachable offence by the President. The same Senate President, I recall with nostalgia told us last year that President Buhari has committed no fewer than 17 impeachable offences. So if I may ask, why haven’t they removed him out of office. Yes. They haven’t got the liver and moral strength because most of them have corruption cases hanging on their necks. They cannot muster the majority because of the powers, contacts and the overbearing political muscle of the president.
The Presidential candidates
Ositelu Isaac Babatunde – A
Abdulrashid Hassan Baba – AA
Omoyele Sowore – AAC
Chike Ukaegbu – AAP
Shipi Moses Godia – ABP
Nwokeafor Ikechukwu Ndubuisi – ACD
Ezekwesili Obiageli Katryn – ACPN
Mailafia Obadiah – ADC
Yabagi Sani Yusuf – ADP
Nwachukwu Chuks Nwabuikwu – AGA
Chief Umenwa Godwin – AGAP
Obaje Yusufu Ameh – ANDP
Durotoye Adetokunbo Olufela – ANN
Shittu Moshood Asiwaju – ANP
Fasua Tope Kolade – ANRP
Ibrahim Aliyu Hassan – APA
Buhari Muhammadu – APC
Shitu Mohammed Kabir – APDA
Gbor John Wilson Terwase – APGA
Yusuf Mamman Dantalle – APM
Obinna Uchechukwu Ikeagwuonu – APP
Dara John – ASD
Angela Johnson – AUN
David Esosa Ize-Iyamu – BNPP
Ojinika Geff Chizee – C4C
Abah Lewis Elaigwu – CAP
Etim Emmanuel Ishie – CNP
Ukonga Frank – DA
Awosola Williams Olusola – DPC
Osakwe Felix Johnson – DPP
Rev. Onwubuya – FJP
Okotie Christopher Oghenebrorie – Fresh
Akhimien Davidson Isibor – GDPN
Eke Samuel Chukwuma – GPN
Albert Owuru Ambrose – HDP
Madu Nnamdi Edozie – ID
Chukwu-Eguzolugo Sunday Chikendu – JMPP
Fagbenro-Byron Samuel Adesina – KP
Kriz David – LM
Muhammed Usman Zaki – LP
Adesanya-Davies Mercy Olufunmilayo – MAJA
Bashayi Isa Dansarki – MMN
Santuraki Hamisu – MPN
Rabia Yasai Hassan Cengiz – NAC
Ademola Babatunde Abidemi – NCMP
Salisu Yunusa Tanko – NCP
- Edosomwan Johnson – NDCP
Akpua Robinson – NDLP
Ishaka Paul Ofemile – NEPP
Dr Asukwo Mendie Archibong – NFD
Atuejide Eunice Uche Julian – NIP
Ike Keke – NNPP
Maina Maimuna Kyari – NPC
Ibrahim Usman Alhaji – NRM
Moses Ayibiowu – NUP
Felix Nicolas – PCP
Abubakar Atiku – PDP
Ameh Peter Ojonugwa – PPA
Victor Okhai – PPC
Major Hamza Al Mustafa – PPN
Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim – PT
Dr. Israel Nonyerem Davidson – RAP
Osuala Chukwudi John Kennedy – RBNP
Nsehe Nseobong – RP
Da-Silva Thomas Ayo – SNC
Ahmed Buhari – SNP
Balogun Isiaka Ishola – UDP
Mark Emmanuel Audu – UP
Inwa Ahmed Sakil – UPN
Nwangwu Uchenna Peter – WTPN
Ali Soyode M. – YES
Moghalu Kingsley Bosah Chiedu – YPP