Anambra Poll: Women protesters demand cancellation of planned supplementary election

INEC restricts movement in the state.

Ahead of Saturday’s supplementary election in Anambra State, some women have protested in the state capital, Awka, calling for the cancellation of the proposed election.

The women also demanded the immediate resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, for the commission’s failure to conduct credible governorship election in the state on November 16.

The protesting women were carrying placards with inscriptions like ‘Anambra not inferior to any state,” “We must choose our leader; Jega must go,” “No selection, yes to election, Anambra must vote not Abuja,” “Jega should rig Sokoto election not Anambra,” among others.

Mr. Jega had at a press conference last week admitted that the Commission did not meet the expectations of Nigerians in the conduct of the poll.

The leader of the group, Nneka Ugwunze, said the result announced by the Commission was not a true reflection of the people’s will, adding that the election was far from being free and fair.

She said that if the supplementary poll was allowed to go on, it would end up dividing the state, adding that for peace to reign in the state that the election should be put off.

“Jega has failed the trust we had on him, since he could conduct election in one state we wonder how he would conduct that of general election in 2015,” Mrs. Ugwunze said.

“We the aggrieved women of Anambra state should be allowed to vote according to our conscience without any inducement from anybody, be it security operatives, state and Federal government interference.”

Meanwhile, INEC has announced the restriction on human and vehicular movements in two local government areas of the state where the supplementary election would hold.

The two local government areas are Idemili North and Onitsha South.

A statement by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, in Awka said the restriction would begin at midnight on Friday and end at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The statement said the restriction was to ensure a successful and peaceful conduct of the supplementary election.
The Commission warned travellers passing through the state to find alternative routes during the period.

It also asked politicians and other individuals not to move about with security officials and appealed for total compliance with the directive.

“Anybody who flouts this order will be arrested and prosecuted. These measures are geared toward a hitch-free conduct of election in the state on the aforementioned dates,” the commission said.

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Kayode Idowu, spokesperson to the INEC Chairman, said despite the threat by some parties to boycott the supplementary election, the Commission would still go ahead with it.

Two parties, All Progressives Congress, APC, and Labour Party, LP, had threatened not to participate in the election.
Although it was not clear at the time of this report if the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Tony Nwoye, had finally agreed to participate in the election, the party’s spokesperson confirmed in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES that it would participate.

Mr. Nwoye refused to respond to calls and text messages to his mobile telephone on Friday.

Mr. Idowu pleaded with voters to utilize the opportunity of the supplementary election to exercise their civic responsibility. He said, in a telephone interview, that it was an opportunity for individuals to make their choice of who governed the state.

The spokesperson also said that the Commission was already attending to the protest letter sent to it by the APC demanding the cancellation of the November 16 election.



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