History And Menace Of Roguish Voters? Register In Anambra State And Need
For Ongoing Voters? Registration & Revalidation To Be Grounded In Popular
Participation & Administrative Competence.

It is?most likely that the voter registration and revalidation exercise
commenced in all the 4,611 polling centers in Anambra State?on Monday,
19th of August, 2013, will end up in monumental failure. The important
exercise is to last till?Monday, 26th of August, 2013, a period of only
seven days. The exercise is in line with Sections 9(1) and 10(1) of the
Electoral Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2010. It is expected to
cover ?registration of unregistered voting Nigerians of Anambra State
residency, revalidation and updating of the voters? register including
deletion of names of the dead voters from the register and entering in the
Supplementary Voters List of the registered voters who moved from their
previous electoral constituencies to new ones as well as entering in the
said list names of the newly registered voters.
The exercise generally targets the qualified voters of 18 years and above
and expected to address complaints arising from loss, damage,
destruction, tearing and defacing of voters? cards as well as those
voters whose names are missing in the register. It is the crucial
component of INEC?s preparation for the?November 16, 2013?governorship
poll in Anambra State of Nigeria and a fundamental yardstick to measure
the credibility or otherwise of the important poll. The conduct of the
State LGA poll slated for?5th of October, 2013, is also expected to be
anchored on the register.

The Anambra Governorship poll and its judicial review had since 2006
served as the revolutionary fortress for free and fair poll and judicial
sanctification of same in Nigeria. Way back in 1999, malevolent political
godfatherism staged a successful coup in the State politics. This produced
Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju?s puppetry civilian regime, which ended in disaster
of unquantifiable proportions in May 2003.? On May 29, 2003, another
riotous political era gripped the State. It was headed by one Dr. Chris
Nwabueze Ngige, which ended in compounded disaster in March 2006. The
political riot of November 2004 was the peak of the disastrous regime,
resulting in attempted kidnapping of the then sitting governor and burning
down of public properties and other key infrastructures in the State. The
regime was ousted judicially in March 2006.
The ground upon which the Nigerian judiciary saved Anambra State from
political guerilla warfare and criminal enterprise was solely predicated
on the sanctity of live votes cast in the governorship poll by the
respected Anambra voters in April 2003, which were brutally stolen by an
army of electoral robbers and buccaneers who snatched and made away with
dozens of ballot boxes filled with cast live votes.? In September 2003,
the Nigerian Judiciary, invited and prayed by an assemblage of social
saints, began enquiry into the disappearance and whereabouts of tens of
thousands of live votes cast by the Anambra People in the said hallowed
poll.
In August 2005, the Nigerian Judiciary through her Anambra State
Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, headed by Hon. Justice Garuba
Nabaruma recovered the stolen live votes and their rightful owner. The
stealers of the live votes, who defended their electoral armed robbery
with 524 fake witnesses as against the original mandate owner?s 45,
fruitlessly objected to the hallowed recovery at the Appellate Court
sitting in Enugu and on March 15, 2006, the renowned, erudite and revered
appellate panelists headed by Hon Justice. Danladi Mohammed, under the
administrative headship of Hon. Justice James Ogebe, reaffirmed the lower
court?s findings and ordered the interloper government out of the Anambra
State?s hallowed seat of power.
Indisputably speaking, this marked a turning point in the annals of
Nigeria?s democracy, which has been mired in roguery since 1960s. It not
only introduced a staggered poll calendar into the country?s electoral
poll system, but also removed Anambra State from national and global
pariah status and returned it to the comity of credibly democratic
federating units of the global community. Today, Anambra has set an
impeccable pace, which has been successfully replicated in Edo and Ondo
States. An attempt was made to replicate this wonderful feat in Ekiti and
Osun States, but it was judicially corrupted.
In all,? Anambra State is still not free from roguish voters? registration
and register management. Shrines and ?evil forests? are still dotted with
bogus and fake polling booths. There are still fake voters and non-living
objects baptized as registered voters as well as undeleted dead voters and
double registrants in the State?s voters? register. In the 2010 staggered
governorship poll in the State, out of INEC?s bogus figure of over 1,
8million registered voters so called, about 1, 2million were fictitious
names. They included imported names like late Gani Fawehinmi , Walter
Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Wole Soyinka, etc. This explained why out of about
600.000 living voters found in the roguish register, only 300.000 of them
voted.? Then, we concluded and insisted that ?it is better to have 10,000
live votes than to have 1millin dead votes?.
Therefore, a credible voter?s register is a sin qua non for participatory
poll including Anambra governorship poll billed for?November 16, 2013.
Sadly, reports reaching us clearly indicate that the ongoing voter
registration and revalidation exercise, supposedly taking place in the
State?s 4,611 polling booths may end in monumental failure. Our checks
reveal that while INEC staffs pasted names of the registered voters in all
polling booths as it earlier promised most of the polling booths remained
unmanned as at?Wednesday?this date being 21st of August, 2013. In other
words, INEC staffs were found absent in most of the polling booths
visited.
By implication, those with their missing names and pictures do not have
INEC staff to attend to them. Also, those who want to register or those
wanting their names to be included in the INEC?s Supplementary List of
Voters found no INEC staff to attend to them. Our investigators went
round Ogbaru, Idemmili North and South, Onitsha North and South LGAs and
found no INEC staff in most of the polling booths. Our calls to Aguata,
Orumba North and South, Nnewi North and South and Oyi LGAs yielded
similar outcomes. In Ogbaru LGA, INEC staffs were seen only at the Odekpe
Central School.
We wish to object to seven days designated for the important exercise.
That is to say?Monday, 19th of August to Monday 26th of August, 2013. By
the Electoral Act of 2013, official closing of the exercise, as in
registration of unregistered eligible voters, updating and revision and
revalidation of the voters? register is on?16th of September, 2013, which
is 60 days to any polling date. The days so allocated are grossly
inadequate.
It is not only that the closing date should be extended but also INEC
staffs must man all the polling booths and attend to the affected
citizens diligently and judiciously. Machinery should be put in place by
the Commission to check absenteeism and lateness on the part of its
erring staffs. The presence of the INEC?s staffs in all the 4,611 polling
booths will also serve as security against defacing or tearing of the
pasted names of the registered voters and scare away children as well as
adults with malicious intents.
Enough publicity including radio jingles and television announcements
should be introduced and consolidated by INEC throughout the exercise. The
era of election rigging must be permanently made irrevocable in Anambra
State of Nigeria. The cleanliness and integrity of the voters? register is
a trusted path to free, fair and participatory poll.
Signed:
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board

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