The Independent National Electoral Commission has said that the November 6, 2021, governorship election in Anambra State will test the resilience of the nation’s democracy and democratic institutions.
INEC’s Supervising National Commissioner, Barrister Festus Okoye, stated this on Wednesday at stakeholders meeting convened by the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre.
He said that despite the difficulties and challenges, the INEC has done everything to mobilise resources for the election.
He said, “The Commission conducted the Edo and Ondo governorship elections under very difficult circumstances, at a time of global uncertainty and fear caused by a pandemic whose unique nuances were still evolving. The Commission conducted elections at a time when advanced countries rescheduled, postponed or abandoned their elections on account of the pandemic.
“The Anambra governorship election has its own unique features and characteristics. It is being conducted in difficult circumstances. The election will further test the resilience of our democracy and democratic institutions. It will test our determination and resolve to conduct elections in difficult circumstances.
“The fact must be acknowledged that the ongoing agitations in different parts of the country including Anambra State are not new to deeply divided societies like Nigeria challenged by contestations around nationhood and citizenship.
“In these agitations, democracy still offers the best opportunity for addressing them in a peaceful manner and that’s why it is in the interest of Nigeria and those genuinely interested in a stronger Nigeria and the progress of the country’s electoral democracy to create enabling environment for peaceful election on Saturday November 6, 2021.”
In his speech, the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said that voters who failed smart card accreditation would not be allowed to vote.
He disclosed that the Commission has enough technical staff to attend to problems that could crop up during the conduct of the election.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner REC, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, had earlier confirmed that all the participating candidates and leaders of their respective political parties were invited to the meeting but only a few turned up.
“We invited all the stakeholders to this meeting. We invited all the political parties and their candidates to this meeting, but most of them are not here now,” he said.