18 candidates in too close to call poll
Anxiety over security challenges
All eyes on INEC
About 2.5 million voters are expected go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new governor for Anambra State. The winner of the election will succeed the incumbent, Willie Obiano, whose second term will elapse on March 17, 2022. Voting will take place in 5,720 polling units across the 21 local government areas of the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has mobilised about 26,000 ad-hoc staff for the exercise. Already, the stake is high, given the strength of the 18 candidates of the political parties taking part in the contest. All the governorship contenders are males, with seven females vying for the deputy governorship position. The gubernatorial candidates are Valentine Ozigbo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Senator Andy Uba, All Progressives Congress (APC); Senator Ifeanyi Uba, Young Progressives Party (YPP), and Dr. Obiora Okonkwo of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP). Others are Mr. Obiora Agbasimalo (Labour Party – LP), Dr. Godwin Maduka (Accord Party – AP), Bennet Etiaba (Action Alliance – AA), Chidozie Nwankwo (African Action Congress – AAC), Dr. Akachukwu Nwankpo (African Democratic Congress – ADC), Afam Ume-Ezeoke (Action Democratic Party – ADP) and Geoffrey Onyejegbu (Allied Peoples Movement – APM). Also on the list are Philip Echetebu (All Peoples Party – APP), Okeke Chika Jerry (BOOT Party), Leonard Ohajinkpo (New Nigeria Peoples Party – NNPP), Afam Ezenwafor (National Rescue Movement – NRM), Nnamdi Nwawuo (Peoples Redemption Party – PRP) and Obinna Uzoh (Social Democratic Party – SDP).
The build-up to the election has been tensed, no thanks to the security challenge Anambra State and the entire South East geo-political zone is presently grappling with. The election has also been threatened by separatist groups agitating for the state of Biafra, but there is heavy deployment of security personnel by the Federal Government to ensure a hitch-free poll. Besides personnel of the ongoing military operation in Anambra and other states of the South-East codenamed “Exercise Golden Dawn,” the Nigeria Police has deployed 34,587 men and about 100 senior officers. The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has also deployed 20,000 of its special forces while other paramilitary agencies are not left out.