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Saturday, April 04, 2015

Commentary: The Anambra Disgrace

 
The scenes that greeted the electoral exercise of last March 28 in Anambra South Senatorial Zone were completely bizarre. It was not that we have never witnessed election malpractices and violence before.
Far from it!
The astonishing thing about this one is the direct involvement of the supposed respectable ones in our society in this open rigging exercise that ushered in a new brand of electoral malpractices. Seeing Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, Chief Cletus Ibeto, Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu respectively lead combined teams of military, police and thugs to harass INEC officials, opponents, neutrals and observers just to rig in their choice candidates depressed a progressive mind.
Dr Ernest Ndukwe had over six months earlier declared interest, sustained that interest with action by procuring necessary forms that made him an aspirant under the coat of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. This aspiration turned into candidacy when he most overwhelmingly navigated the party primaries with admirable aplomb.
His campaign team, anchored by his Director-General, a workaholic progressive in the person of Chris McCool Nwosu , who knows the politics of the zone like the back of his hand, set out an infallible programme,followed it to the letter and astounded the Anambra South Senatorial District citizenry with firm religious thorough.
Dr Ndukwe is a man, who loves humanity. He belongs to that rare specie of creation that are consumed by constant desire to leave behind a better world. When he had the chance, he demonstrated such desire by giving Nigerians, and I mean every one of them, affordable access to communication. That singular achievement besides creating millions of jobs, put Nigerians, particularly our leaders of tomorrow, in same plain with the modern world in every aspect of global interaction.
A man, who has seen it all, and who, as a consummate professional, has worked hard enough to quietly retire to his private business and comfort, could not just do so. He sees a society that is moving backwards instead of the right direction ….he sees an impoverished set of people when it shouldn’t be so. He sees the helpless, hopeless and miscreant all over the place. He decided that his personal philanthropy wouldn’t just be enough to re-direct these people. He believed being a senator provides appropriate standpoint to impact every of the communities in his senatorial district as well as impact the nation via bills and debates.
Like the workaholic he is, Dr Ndukwe put in everything, time, resources, patience and astonishing attention to every detail necessary for a successful campaign. In every community he visited, people genuinely accepted him. Those who didn’t know him by reputation got convinced by his poise, elegance, oratory and this astonishing air of complete honesty that follows him around.
He visited churches, bishops, clergies and laities across denominations and they all adopted a man, who clearly represented a new dawn.
Traditional rulers came together, held meetings and adopted the man they described as “onye eziokwu” (honest man) “onye megolu nke afulu anya” (a proven achiever).
Presidents-Generals, both men and women wings of the 109 communities in Anambra South Senatorial Zone visited his home in Oraifite to throw unanimous support behind a man, who has convinced them beyond all doubts that a new chapter is about to be opened in their district.
Students unions of all institutions in the state gave a combined endorsement of a man, who holds high hopes for their future.
Little wonder then that the electorates, despite the initial drawback of non-functioning card readers, trooped out in appreciable numbers to vote in this man, whose antecedents presented a rare opportunity they were not willing to miss.
I had contacts in many wards of all the seven L.G.As within the zone. I knew the election itself was conducted all round in free and fair manner. I got reports from many ward agents of the favourable results of the senatorial contest. I knew of confirmed results from the result sheets of various wards in most L.G.As. And I have evidence that Dr Ernest Ndukwe won very convincingly in five local government areas of the state.
When these early signs became glaring, the show of shame took over, Chief Chris Ubah, Chief Ukachukwu, Chief Ibeto and other PDP stalwarts took over, openly bribed assaulted INEC officials and party agents. The worst of it all happened at Ihiala, where Chief Ubah’s contingent of army ,police and thugs went as far as assaulting and pelting chief Ernest Obiejesi (Obi Jackson) bullet proof vehicle with bullets, reportedly killing Chief Obiejesi’s mobile police orderly as well as injuring many others.
This unprecedented show of shame that happened at the collation centres and finally at the zonal collation centre in Nnewi eventually led to a lopsided announcement of a result hugely rigged in favor of Andy Uba. The charade got to unimaginable level when the returning officer declined to announce the result while collation hadn’t been completed in most of the local governments areas. The RO, a professor, knew his reputation was on the line and flatly refused. One woman, heavily induced with foreign currency, announced what they termed result that is still brandied today as the result of that exercise.
Some of us who believe in honor, dignity, rule of Law and hopeful of real democracy had always stayed away from active politics because of this manner of debasing practise. But whenever someone like Dr Ndukwe decides to be part of it, you can bet people like us will queue behind him. There are many Ndukwes out there that will help our society for the better. We need them and we won’t ever have them if we fold our hands and let these charlatans get away with open robbery of the people's will.
This is a call to Ndi Anambra South Senatorial Zone to ask for the restoration of the mandate they gave to Dr Ndukwe and all APGA candidates on March 28.
We have all voted … let’s unite in demanding that our votes counted. That is democracy.
*Contributed by @Emeka Tia Obasi

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