“ALL’s well that ends well,” as William Shakespeare famously put it. It has been a sigh of relief galore since the Anambra governorship poll Returning Officer, Prof. Florence Obi, announced Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, as the final winner.
It was one election that seemed headed for an apocalyptic outcome. The “No Election” stance of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, elicited the Federal Government’s heavy-handed response of mobilising its police, military and security might to the state.
IPOB’s last-minute commendable acquiescence to Igbo leaders’ voice of reason by lifting its order massively doused tensions. Apart from an incident in Ihiala, the election ended up one of the best in recent times.
The Federal Government deserves a pat on the back for ensuring that the armed forces kept strictly to their professional duty of safeguarding the electorate, officials and the election itself rather than helping any favoured candidate to steal the election. Our armed forces and police have always done well if allowed by the government in power. We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for also congratulating the winner, Prof. Soludo, and offering to “work with him”.
To some extent, the various political parties also deserve commendation. There were allegations of vote-buying as well as open rejection of cash-for-votes by the electorate. Without the cooperation of the contending parties, candidates and the electorate, no election will succeed.
We appreciate Val Ozigbo, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate and Senator Ifeanyi Uba, the Young Peoples Party, YPP, candidate, for congratulating the winner. We urge the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, Senator Andy Ubah, to do the same and avoid undue legal acrimony.
By far the biggest credit goes to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which demonstrated an unbending commitment to the professional discharge of its duties in the Anambra poll.
It truly lived up to its “independence”, ensuring that the few officials who sought to compromise the election were promptly exposed and removed.
The deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BIVAS, as promised by the Commission in September was further proof of INEC’s missionary commitment to technologically increase the savvy of our electoral process.
Though some teething problems still showed up, it was a great improvement in the electronic accreditation and authentication of voters compared to the Smart Card Reader and Z-Pad. INEC should work harder to make it more effective in subsequent polls. It must be foolproof for the 2023 general elections.
We congratulate Prof. Soludo who has finally achieved his 13-year aspiration. Luckily, he campaigned with a comprehensive agenda by which he will be held to account. We hope his tenure will help douse the tension in Anambra and the South East and pave the way for a better life for the people.