Forty-eight hours to the Anambra gubernatorial election, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has urged all stakeholders; security agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), other Civic groups, and electorates to ensure a peaceful election in the state.
Princess Hamman-Obels, CDD analyst, said this during a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.
CDD advised voters not to be intimidated by threats to their hard-fought democratic franchise.
Ms Hamman-Obels noted that voter turnout will likely be lower than usual amid the IPOB sit-at-home order, threats by non-state armed groups, and heavy security presence in the state.
CDD describes the importance of the election’s success as a litmus test for Nigeria’s true democracy and development as it can determine the direction of the electoral process for the forthcoming 20230 general elections.
“In the past few months, the nation’s focus has been on this election because of what it represents at this moment of our national development,” CDD said in a statement.
Dr Sam Amadi, a public affairs analyst and lecturer also said: “this election helps us benchmark the success of the 2023 general election in the Southeast.”
The civic organisation also noted with worry, the deteriorating security situation in Anambra and across the Southeast, resulting from the eruption of recurring and brazen attacks undertaken by supposedly “unknown” assailants against the Nigerian security formations, Correctional Service, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), resulting in several economic and structural casualties as well as the destruction of state properties and equipment.
CDD however expresses glimmers of hope in the lead-up to the election in respect of INEC’s commending policy of introducing multiple polling units closer to people of the community.
“INEC’s addition of over a thousand new polling units has also literally brought democracy closer to home for a larger number of people, ensuring easier access for more voters and potentially reducing the length of queues on election day. Also worthy of note has been INEC’s increasing introduction of online processes in its preparations for elections — including online registration for voters, journalists, and elections observers.”
CDD, therefore, beckons on security personnel amid fulfilling their duty of protecting the democratic franchise, to respect human rights and standard rules of engagement while allowing the electoral agency to conduct credible polls as voters exercise their franchise, as the world will be watching and taking record.
“Security agents must desist from engaging in acts of intimidation and targeting the election managers, party agents or the electorate. Security agents should also ensure that INEC staff and infrastructure are secured,”
“We urge voters to come out and exercise their democratic franchise, and to not to be intimidated by threats from masked or identified actors.”
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