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The criticisms trailing the shoddy conduct of the Anambra State governorship poll increased Monday as the Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, as well several state governments, especially those controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC), condemned the conduct of the poll.
The Anglican Primate noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) shoddy conduct of the poll was regrettable as the commission had everything in its disposal to put up a good performance.
The condemnation is coinciding with increased calls for the cancellation of the poll, given the confusion and disputations that have trailed it.
Speaking at the annual Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCON), Okoh said though it was in the nature of politicians to cause crisis and havoc, INEC ought to have ensured that the process was devoid of foul play and malpractices.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, that some of the commission's staff 'messed up' in some parts of the state, specifically, Idemili North Local Government Area during the Saturday polls.
The primate told journalists that "the most regrettable thing with the Anambra elections is that INEC had a problem, even within its ranks, that is the most regrettable thing."
However, he cautioned against the invalidation of the elections in whatever guise, stressing" we hope that the trouble that is going on will not invalidate the results, in other words, that there will be a government in Anambra State."
But unlike Okoh, the Osun State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday asked the INEC to cancel out rightly, the Anambra governorship election “because that is the only path of honour to take."
According to the party’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi “any attempt to uphold that election would be amount to official endorsement of criminal rigging of election.
He remarked that it will send a tragic signal from the electoral body to Nigerians and the world that the country was in utter contempt of democratic ideals, and had no intention whatsoever to uphold the basic tenets of free choice in the electoral process.
Oyatomi prayed INEC to do its utmost to avoid being accused of complicity in the charade of Anambra poll because if it allows itself to lose credibility in the eyes of the public, the Fourth Republic would be on a path of self destruction.
“The confidence we place on the current INEC is because Prof. Jega looks uncompromisable; but the Anambra fiasco has the capacity to collapse confidence on Jega’s INEC if he does not move decisively to cancel last Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra and personally supervise the re-run, “the APC noted.
In the same vein, members of the Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday called on INEC to cancel the governorship election held in Anambra State over mass irregularity recorded during the election.
Hon. Ipoola Omisore, representing Ifako-Ijaiye constituency II who raised the issue under matter of urgent public importance, said the election was bedevilled with several irregularities.
"We have seen how the stage was set before the election, where the law enforcement agencies were used to intimidate people. We also see where INEC also handed its man to the police over irregularities.
"We see the number of police used to monitor the election and yet they couldn't get any positive resulted.
"INEC should cancel the election and organise another free and fair election because the whole world is watching us," he said.
On his part, Hon. Gbolahan Yishau, representing Eti-Osa constituency I, said the election fraud was a litmus test of 2015 general election.
Yishau noted that INEC should take advantages of information technologies on ground to conduct credible election in the state.
He added that the electoral body did not give adequate information to the electorate to the re-run election on November 17 at the Obosi Local Government Area.
Also, Hon. Funmilayo Tejuosho, representing Mushin constituency explained that it was unfortunate that the country’s electoral body could not conduct a state election successfully before the 2015 general election.
In his submission, Speaker, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, called on INEC to cancel the election due to some glaring irregularities in the exercise.
Meanwhile, the Osun State chapter of the APC has expressed worries over the whereabouts of 181 Osun Electoral Monitors, who were arrested in Owerri, Imo State over the weekend, on trumped-up charges of heading to Anambra State to disrupt the governorship election of last Saturday.
According to the party, when Police brought a number of them to the court yesterday before a magistrate, the presiding magistrate adjourned the case for two hours with the instruction that the police should bring everybody arrested and the charge sheet before he would hear the case.
But the party in a statement yesterday by Oyatomi added that the police reportedly left the court premises, stayed away for a while and then stormed the court premises, corked their guns and in a terrorist-like operation, carted away the people they had brought originally to an unknown destination.
As at the time of going to press, their whereabouts remained unknown.