WITH the November 16 2013 governorship election about 103 days away, Anambra State political atmosphere has become turbo-charged.
The state’s hordes of money bag politicians have started deploying their arsenals into the race in which so far about 45 aspirants have emerged.
Last week’s reconciliation of feuding All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) leaders – Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, as well as the recent registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) – have raised the stakes for the polls.
Anambra citizens deserve a violence-free, fair and credible election. The successor of Governor Peter Obi must be determined by the electorate through the ballot box. Every vote must be made to count.
Given the great upheavals of the past three terms, the onus is on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the political parties, politicians, candidates, security agencies and the citizenry to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
The political parties must avoid imposition of candidates or situations where a party has two lists of candidates for a position, which often leads to long and tortuous litigations with the constituents being the losers.
Most federal lawmakers from Anambra, in the last 12 years, have won or lost their seats through the law courts on account of deep-seated intra- and inter-party crises occasioned by feuding factions in the parties and deeply flawed elections.
Anambra has the unenviable record of having produced five governors in the last 14 years. Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju of the PDP left after serving a term of four years in 2003.
Dr Chris Ngige, who wanted to go the Senate, was drafted in by godfathers and he won a controversial election in 2003 on PDP’s platform.
He later fell out with his godfathers a few weeks into his sojourn at the Government House. He was abducted at a stage, making him the first and only governor to be abducted in Nigeria. His reign was cut short by the law courts, which declared Peter Obi of APGA as the real winner of the 2003 election.
Obi took over in March 2006 with a PDP-dominated House of Assembly. At a stage, he was impeached by the House and his deputy, Lady Virgy Etiaba, was sworn-in as governor.
Obi recovered his seat through the Supreme Court, which declared his removal as illegal. Obi was also made to vacate his seat for about 10 days in 2007 after Dr Andy Uba of the PDP was declared the winner of the 2007 elections.
He, however, returned to his seat via a Supreme Court ruling that his first term would end in 2010 and not 2007.
Anambra citizens would be saved the agony of this topsy-turvy electoral path with the attendant drawback on good governance if all stakeholders ensure a credible election in November.