Apprehension and tension has raised voters’ apathy in the Anambra governorship election holding in the state today.
Also, a civil rights organisation, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has expressed pessimism over the voters apathy, towards the governorship election, saying there may be a reduction in the number of voters.
TMG which blamed the trend on inadequate voters education, also said it had deployed about 150 observers for the exercise.
Voters who spoke to Ripples Nigeria are apprehensive of the exercise as they expressed fears based on the call by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group for them to boycott the election.
The group had in a recent walk around some parts of the state capital Awka told people to “vote and die”, raising fears of possible violence on the Election Day.
The police and other security agencies have however asides the people of their safety, urging them to ignore the IPOB threats, and go out to exercise their civic responsibilities.
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The Chairperson of TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, who spoke in Jos, the Plateau State capital, 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 Election 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, while 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”.
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