The massive deployment of security agencies particularly the police and military to Anambra state ahead of and during the November 16 governorship elections is more of a ploy to intimidate voters, restrict and prevent agents from performing their assigned roles rather than an attempt to safeguard the elections. The heavy militarization of Anambra state negates to very essence and spirit of elections in any democracy. When did election become a war like event with the government rolling out men and guns on the streets? Even during the campaigns and rallies by candidates and their parties, there was neither violence or bloodshed. What then is the rational of the government for this unprovoked and unjustified massive show of force and clear intimidation of citizens and legitimate voters in Anambra. The militarization of the streets and villages and towns has the tendency to intimidate any decent voter from coming out to vote.
No where In the world do you find any country practicing genuine democracy rolling out men and guns on Election Day In the guise that they are trying to enforce free and fair election. In saner climes, the security forces are often in the background, ready at a moments notice to forestall any breakdown of law and order. In Nigeria, the government. Unfortunately has no clue about how to safeguard democracy.
What is most important as the people of Anambra go to the polls is that accreditation of voters and agents is done properly and transparently. The process of accreditation is critical and INEC and the Police must endure no voter or party agent is intimidated. We must ensure results are not written but counted with proper verification before any announcements. There must be no mutilation of result sheets and all agents must sign. INEC must step up to the plate to conduct a free and fair election.
Anambra election, it’s conduct and outcome signposts the success or failure of the upcoming 2014 and 2915 elections. And in a larger sense, the survival of democracy in Nigeria.