INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega
As part of the preparations for the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, Thursday said the commission would commence the continuous voters’ registration in the state from August 19 to 25.
The disclosure also came on a day the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, boasted that the party would win the November 16 governorship election in the state.
Also, PDP elders, stakeholders and the national leadership of the party warned that whoever goes to court as a result of losing the governorship ticket would forfeit being a member of the party.
Jega, who disclosed this at a meeting with stakeholders on the preparations for the election, charged the stakeholders to engage in the electoral process in strict compliance with the rules of the game.
According to him, “our preparations for the election include doing the continuous voters' registration from August 19 to 25, in order to update the registers as required by law, before the elections.
“Doing this will give an opportunity for all those who have become 18 years and above since the last registration in 2011, to register, for all those who have registered and we have their records on the manual register that is those on the so called addendum register or whose details are incomplete to have their registration status updated. It is in this context that we have made a review of the register of voters for Anambra State a key item on the agenda for today’s meeting. As we are all aware, the credibility of the register of voters goes a long way to assure the credibility of the elections.
“In this regard, we have left no stone unturned in order to clean up and have a very credible register for Anambra State before the November 16, governorship elections. You will be adequately briefed on the current state of the register and the plans to update it,” he added.
He added that: “As you are no doubt aware, we have made a commitment to Nigerians for a reformed electoral process with sustained improvement in the conduct of elections. And we have demonstrated this in all the governorship elections, which we have conducted since 2011.
“Our key objective is to make the Anambra governorship elections the best so far. But, no matter how hard we try, we alone, in INEC cannot succeed without the cooperation and partnership of all stakeholders, especially political parties, their candidates and the people of the state.”
The INEC chairman insisted that the stakeholders should abide by the rules of the game, stressing that: “A few days ago in Minna, the Niger State capital, virtually all the political parties were validated by the Code of Conduct for political parties. By so doing, they have reaffirmed their commitment to deepening democracy through a considerably reformed electoral process in our country.
“Hence, the Anambra State governorship elections would be the first test case of the practical affirmation of the Code of Conduct. All key aspects of the document must be demonstrably put into practice, respectable and responsible conduct by all parties, candidates and their supporters. All stakeholders must engage in the electoral process in strict compliance with the rules of the game, with decorum, civility, tolerance and mutual respect for one another.”
Jega, however, warned that “campaigns, voting, etc must e conducted decently, lawfully, peacefully in accordance with the best standards and practices as we as democratic norms.”
In a related development, Tukur, while speaking yesterday in Abuja, at a stakeholders’ meeting held at the party national secretariat, said it was a shame that the state had a government that was not run by PDP, adding that: “Anambra State by the grace of God in 2014 will be run by PDP.”
While clarifying that the leadership of the party had no anointed candidate, as all the contesters would be given a level playing field to contest during the primary, the PDP chairman assured the party faithful that the process and conduct of the primary would be transparent, fair and credible, insisting that the party would continue to protect its integrity.
He said: “My job is to win election and if I don’t win I have no business been the chairman of the party. By winning the election from wards to state and presidency will show that I am the chairman.”
Meanwhile, former Minister of Health, Prof. ABC Nwosu, former governor of the state, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, and other stakeholders warned party faithful against anti-party activities during the election, stressing that whoever goes to court, after the election would be sanctioned and his membership forfeited.
Nwosu said: “Let it be resolved here that there should be no anti party activity and whoever emerged should be supported from ward to the state. Anambra State is famous because of the use of court and it should be resolved that whoever goes to court after the election should be expelled. Let there be no bitterness and politics is best play without bitterness, it is not a matter of life and death.”
On his part, Mbadinuju noted that aggrieved party faithful would only resort to the court, when the process leading to the conduct of the election is faulty, urging the party leadership to lay a solid foundation for a credible election to hold.
However, the party’s leadership, in a statement after the stakeholders’ meeting, resolved that all members of PDP in the state should work in unity to ensure victory for the party in election.
The party said: “All those who have cases in court shall withdraw such cases failing which the party will take severe disciplinary measures against them. No member of the party in the state shall institute any suit on any matter affecting the conduct of the forthcoming congresses and primary election for the November governorship election without allowing the party exhaust all internal processes as outlined in the Party’s constitution for the resolution of conflicts.
“No matter the outcome of the primary election, no member shall engage in anti-party activity but all aspirants shall work together to deliver the party’s candidate in the November governorship election in the state. In the conduct of the congresses and primary, the party will ensure a level playing field guided by equity, fairness and transparency.”
Three members of the party, who are contesting the governorship position are Nicholas Ukachukwu, Senator Emma Anosike and Akachukwu Nwamkpo, expressed happiness with the position of the leadership of the party, noting that they believe the present leadership led by Tukur would not disappoint them.