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Anambra: Soludo kicks as INEC says poll may be inconclusive

Ten days to the Anambra State governorship election,the nation’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will not be possible to rule out an inconclusive election in the state on November 6. But reacting to the assertion, the All Progressives Grand Alliance candidate, Prof Charles Soludo, declared that there was no reason why the November 6 election could be declared inconclusive.

Media aide to Soludo, Ejimofor Opara in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Awka said, “APGA is the only party that its candidate has no credibility issue. APGA is grounded in Anambra state and has liberated the state by providing dividends of democracy. “We have visited the 21 local government areas and from our observation, Anambra has accepted our candidate. “Those saying the election will be inconclusive are mischievous. INEC has promised a credible election, so I don’t see any reason the election will be inconclusive.

“I commend the police for deploying security, geared towards ensuring a safer environment. When there is security, there is no reason to have violence on that day. “I urge all to come out and vote. Secure your vote. Don’t be afraid, there will be security. INEC should stand on their promise of a free and fair election. If you conduct the election 100 times, APGA will win.” Opara stated. The INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, who spoke on a programme aired by a popular FM station in Abuja, Nigeria Info, said the Electoral Act and the constitution stated conditions for every election. He argued that as long as no candidate met the election requirement to be declared winner, another election would be conducted to make up for any inconclusive one. Explaining the condition under which an election can be declared inconclusive, Okoye said, “The issue of inconclusive elections is embedded in our electoral framework.

“For instance, in Anambra State, constitutionally, before you can be declared as having won the governorship election, you must score a quarter of the votes cast in two-thirds of all the local government areas of Anambra State and you must score a majority of all votes. “If no candidate in the election scores against this geographical spread and also scores majority of lawful votes cast in the election, you will have an inconclusive election and you must go back to organise a second election in order to get the person who has won. So, the issue of inconclusive elections is embedded in our electoral framework. He further argued that based on the level of insecurity in the state, if elections are cancelled in any particular local government and the electoral umpire discovers that such a cancellation could affect the outcome of the poll, then the exercise would be deemed inconclusive. “If for instance, on account of insecurity, we are unable to deploy to five local government areas and the votes from all other local governments are assembled… “If the total number of registered voters in the five local governments where we did not conduct election has the capacity to affect the outcome of the elections, we will declare it inconclusive until we have conducted election in all the other five local governments where we didn’t conduct elections.

“There is nothing untoward or obscene about inconclusive elections and nothing odious in what we are doing in relation to the election,” Okoye added. The INEC commissioner stated that the collation centres burnt earlier in the year had been reconstructed as well as all stores housing sensitive election materials. Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser(NSA)to the President, retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, has urged security agencies to exhibit professionalism and self -restraint against provocation by trouble-makers during the governorship election. Monguno gave the warning while briefing newsmen after a general security appraisal committee meeting with service chiefs and heads of other agencies held on Tuesday in Abuja. He warned those planning to disrupt or cause trouble during the election to have a rethink, adding that security agencies would ensure that the people of Anambra elected their next governor without any rancour.

According to him, the Anambra election will witness the joint deployment of all security operatives across the state. He added, “Mr. President has been briefed about efforts to ensure a peaceful election without destruction of lives and property. “Our intentions, our aspirations are to see that the election does not result in anything that is unwanted; any bloodshed, any violence, intimidation, coercion or even terrorising the people of Anambra. “It is their fundamental right to vote and choose whoever they want as their governor and they should not be denied that right.” According to him, the electorate should not be put in a situation whereby they are reluctant to come out to vote.

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