By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor

AFTER weeks of tensed preparations the D-Day is here. A crowd of 18 billionaires and philanthropists are locked in a pitch battle to succeed Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, whose tenure will expire on March 16, next year.


The 18 standard bearers are fewer than the 37 candidates who contested in 2017; 23 candidates of 2013; and 25 flagbearers in 2010. But they are more than the seven contestants of 2003; and three standard bearers of 1999.


Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the security agencies, which have deployed an estimated 100, 000 personnel to Anambra for the poll have declared their readiness to midwife a hitch-free exercise in spite of the hanging cloud of uncertainty arising from insecurity glitches that hallmarked the preparations.


While the INEC has deployed 26,000 ad-hoc staff to conduct the election, the National Security and Civil Defence Corp, NSCDC, deployed 20,000; and the Police deployed 34,587 personnel including two DIGs, five AIGs, 14 CPs, 31 DCPs, and 48 ACPs. An undisclosed number of soldiers are already on ground. The Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, also deployed its personnel.


The election will be held across the three senatorial zones, 11 Federal Constituencies, 21 LGAs, 30 state constituencies, 326 wards and 4,740 polling units of the state.


There is also a crowd of election observers including 200 persons living with disabilities, who have to monitor the election. The deployment of the 200 persons living with disabilities was facilitated by a non-governmental organisation, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) in partnership with Access Nigeria and National Democratic Institute.


Although, following the recent creation of additional polling units and voting points by the INEC, Anambra has 5,720 voting centres, the electoral umpire said there will be no election in 86 voting points that have no voters and 894 polling units that have less than 50 voters each. In essence, there will be no election in 980 polling units/voting points.

READ ALSO: Anambra governorship election titbits


Christened as the ” Light of the Nation” with a landmass of 4,344 square kilometres, Anambra has a population of 11.4 million people according to 2020 estimates. Of this figure, no fewer than 2,525,471 voters have been registered to vote in today’s election.
Will 2021 be better than past polls?


Following the climate of insecurity that trailed the preparations, militarisation of the process with huge deployment of security forces, which a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, accused of escalating tension and scaring voters, will the 2021 governorship record better voters turnout than past election? Currently, there are fears of voters apathy. On Thursday, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, cancelled its seven-day sit-at-home order that would have started yesterday in support of its detained Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who it wants the Federal Government to release unconditionally. It is to be seen if the cancellation of the sit-at-home order would boost voters turnout.


Since the return to democratic rule, 2003 Anambra governorship election has remained the best so far in terms of voters turnout with 46.40 per cent followed by 1999 (46.40 per cent), and 2013 (26.23 per cent. The worse so far was in 2010 when 301,232 of the 1,844,815 registered voters or 16.33 per cent came out to vote (see table).


Voters turnout in past polls since 1999
Year   Reg voters    Voters turnout
1999   2,221,384      1,029,815 (46.40%)
2003  1,859,795       878,212 (47.22%)
2010  1,844,815       301,232 (16.33%)
2013  1,776,167       465,891 (26.23%)
2017  2,064,134       457,511 (22.16%)
2021  2,525,471        ??????????????

Anambra in figures
* Senatorial Districts – Three
* House of Representatives Seats – 11
* Local Governments – 21
* State House of Assembly Seats – 30
* Number of Wards – 326
* Polling units/Voting points – 5,720
* Polling units where voting will hold – 4740
* Polling units where poll won’t hold – 894
* Registered voters – 2,525,471
* Population – 11.4 million (2020 Estimate)
* Landmass – 4,344 Sq.Km

Past governors/administrators of Anambra
* John Atom Kpera, March 1976 -July 1979 (Military)
* Datti Sadiq Abubakar, July 178- October 1979 (Military)
* Jim Nwobodo, October 1979 -October, 1983 (NPP)
* Christian Onoh, October 1983-December 1983 (NPN)
* Allison Madueke, January 1984 – August 1985 (Military)
* Samson Omeruah, August 1985 -December 1987 (Military)
* Robert Akonobi, December 1987 -August 1990 (Military)
* Herbert Eze, August 1990 -January, 1992 (Military)
* Joseph Abulu, August 27, 1992 – November 17, 1993 (Military)
* Chukwuemeka Ezeife, January2, 1992 -November 17, 1993 (SDP)
* Dabo Aliyu, November 1993 – December 1993 (Police)
* Mike Attah, December 9, 1993 – August 21, 1996 (Military)
* Rufai Garba,August 21,1996 – August 6, 1998 (Military)
* Emmanuel Ukaegbu, August 6, 1998 – May 29, 1999 (Military)
* Chinwoke Mbadinuju, May 29, 1999 – May 29, 2003 (PDP)
* Chris Ngige, May 29, 2003 – March 17, 2006 (PDP)
* Peter Obi, March 17, 2006 -November 3, 2006 (APGA)
* Virginia Etiaba, November 3, 2006 – February 9, 2007 (APGA)
* Peter Obi, February 9, 2007 – March 17, 2014 (APGA)
* Willie Obiano, March 17, 2014 -Till date
* Who becomes 21st helmsman of Anambra??????

Who will become the 21st helmsman among these candidates?
* Godwin Maduka, Accord, A
* Etiaba Chukwuogo of the Action Alliance, AA
* Nwankwo Chidozie of the African Action Congress, AAC
* Akachukwu Nwankpo, African Democratic Congress, ADC
* Godwin Maduka of the Accord Party, AP
* Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress, APC
* Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA
* Azubuike Echetebu, Action People Party, APP
* Onyejegbu Okwudili of the Allied Peoples Movement, APM
* Chika Okeke, Boot Party, BP
* Emmanuel Agbasimalo, Labour Party, LP
* Ohajimkpo Emeka of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP
* Ezenwafor Victor of the National Rescue Movement, NRM
* Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP
* Nnamdi Nwawuo of the People’s Redemption Party, PRP
* Obinna Uzor of the Social Democratic Party, SDP
* Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressives, YPP
* Obiora Okonkwo of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP

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