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Anambra Gov Polls: TMG panics over voters apathy, deploys 150 observers

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

A civil rights organisation, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) on Friday expressed pessimism over voters apathy, towards the Anambra State governorship election, saying there may be a reduction in the number of voters. 

The pessimism is coming less than 24 hours to the election which, observers believe, will be a determining factor in the annals of Nigeria’s political history in 2019.

The group which blamed the trend on inadequate voters education, also said it had deployed about 150 observers for the exercise.

The Chairperson of TMG and renowned gender activist, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, expressed these views in an interview in Jos, Plateau State capital.

She said, “TMG is deploying about 150 observers for the Anambra State governorship election. Our only concern is that there is a serious voters apathy and from what we are seeing, the last election would be better. If there is apathy, one is afraid if there is going to be a reduction in the number of voters. 

“We discover that not much voter education has been done and not much reassurance has been done to the psyche of the people. To the majority of Nigerians, nothing much has changed and with voters apathy, we don’t think the Anambra state governorship election would attract a huge number of voters.”

According to her, the result of the last governorship election conducted in Anambra State shows that only about 10 per cent of the registered voters voted in the election. 

Akiyode-Afolabi said as at then, the situation was blamed partly on voter apathy and partly on the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to produce a reliable and credible voters’ register for the election.

“The result was that a good number of voters were unable to locate the appropriate polling units where their names appeared in the voters’ register.

Though the courts upheld the election as conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, such election cannot be a model of democratic elections. There cannot be participatory democracy in a situation where only a small percentage of the registered voters determine the outcome of an election”, she stated.

TMG also observed that while the major political parties were vigorously campaigning for votes, out of the 23 candidates registered to contest the election, the majority of them appear not to be engaged in serious campaigning. 

Akiyode-Afolabi said, “Whether such candidates are in the race to win the election or for some other reasons is a matter of conjecture. Multiplicity of candidates gives rise to logistic challenges during elections. TMG advised Nigerians not to put up their names as candidates for election for the sake of it. While all eligible Nigerians have the right to contest elections, the process should not be trivialized or used for improper purposes.”

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