The much anticipated Anambra governorship election scheduled for November 6, 2021 has come and gone, with a winner declared without any serious security breach during the exercise in all the nooks and cranny of Anambra State same day and even on the 9th November when the supplementary election took place in Ihiala local government.

The prevalence of peace and security during the exercise obviously made it easy for a winner to emerge without bloodbath as might have been envisaged in some quarters in the days leading to the election.

As witnesses to the event, we hasten to say that the peace and security that prevailed was not by happenstance but the product of a concerted and genuine efforts of many stakeholders to ensure that we create a new electoral culture that hinges on honesty of purpose.

As watchdog of occurrences in the public space, we would not hesitate to acknowledge the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari who consistently assured that the election must hold according to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) time table.

The assurance remained on the front burner even when some satanic elements went on killing spree during the campaign days in order to create fear and trembling that could necessitate a postponement of the election or create fear in registered voters to dissuade them from coming out to vote on election day.

It was perhaps, the presidential readiness that spurred the management of the various state security agencies to operationally reposition themselves such that the Nigeria Police could deploy no fewer than 34,000 personnel for the election.

The Department of State Service (DSS) on its own, made it loud and clear few days to the election that nothing would breach peace during the exercise as its operatives were on ground to do the needful.

Not even the military and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) were indifferent as they were ready to ensure that Anambra was at peace during the exercise.  It was obviously the assurances and readiness of the various security agencies that encouraged the management of INEC not to contemplate any postponement that would have ultimately disorganised many things.

Discerning Nigerians are more gladdened by the fact that unlike in some previous elections where the security agencies were manipulated by the government in power at the national level to promote the chances of their party winning the election, the Anambra election came with some slight difference even though the security personnel saw agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) sharing money to induce voters.

In some other elections, the security personnel had forcefully or clandestinely assisted to change the direction of voters’ conscience but it was not so in the Anambra election during which a kobo-less voter bravely rejected N5,000 inducement bribe to vote for the candidate of APC. Today, she has made history as the Winnie Obiano administration has rewarded her with N1million.

It was also worthy of note that the announcement by the leadership of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB) two days to the election asking voters to come out and vote for their candidates contributed to the peace recorded in the election.

Prior to the election, several incidents of killing in the state were linked to IPoB even though there were no concrete evidence to hold the group culpable. Its sit-at-home order which was in place weeks before the election in connection with the detention of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had created some confusion and fear in the state and was going to be a serious set back until IPoB leadership suddenly reversed the order and encouraged its supporters to be part of the election, hence there were no ugly incidents of clash between IPoB and security agencies.

In all of these, there are obviously some lessons to learn, one of which is the fact that if our national leadership is prepared to allow elections to be transparent at any time without interference or manipulation of INEC and its processes, the election is bound to be a success.

Another lesson hinges on the fact that if security agencies are not manipulated from the Presidency, they would obviously act in line with extant rules without fear or favour.  Anambra election has shown that our security agencies can act with professionalism and finese if there is no interference from higher quarters.

Another lesson also, is the usage and belief in technology in the electoral process which made it convenient and easy for election results to be transmitted without the usual manipulation that characterised past elections.  Manipulation of election results had often stoked violence among party supporters and ultimately led to some far reaching consequences. So, the deployment of technology on a large scale by INEC clearly showed that peace and security can hugely be achieved in future elections. would therefore want to use this medium to highly appreciate President Buhari, INEC, Security agencies and Anambra voters for ensuring that the election became a peaceful outing. We hope that future elections would similarly improve on the Anambra election or at the worst case scenario, replicate the success recorded in Anambra election.

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