The governorship election in Anambra State on November 6 was one of the major events in Nigeria’s political scene last week.
In this week’s Politics Roundup, we looked at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s performance during the poll.
We also considered some other major events last week and their implications for the development of the country.
INEC’s showing in Anambra
Amid security threats, the Anambra State governorship election was still held as scheduled on Saturday, November 6.
Top contenders include Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Mr Val Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Another top contender is Senator Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The election conducted by the Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission was marred by issues of malfunctioning of INEC’s machines.
There were also reports of ballot box snatching, vote-buying and other electoral irregularities in the election.
The Anambra election offered INEC a veritable opportunity to launder its image badly tainted by past poor elections in the country.
The failures of the commission’s machines, especially card readers, during the election are worrisome. It shows the Yakubu-led INEC may not have the capacity to conduct an election expected by Nigerians.
INEC failure to conduct a smooth election in one state is a worrying signal ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Other irregularities the poll witnessed speak of the need for full adoption of technology to solve Nigeria’s electoral woes.
On November 4, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) backtracked from its sit-at-home order in the South-East.
The order meant to stop the conduct of the Anambra State governorship election was cancelled just two days to the exercise.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB said, “Following the genuine intervention of our elders, esteemed traditional Institutions /Rulers and religious leaders, and after due consideration of the positive impacts of their engagement, the leadership of IPOB ably lead by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, hereby, and immediately CALL OFF THE ONE WEEK SIT AT HOME earlier declared to commence on November 5 to November 10, 2021.”
The decision of the secessionist group to withdraw its sit-at-home order showed the effectiveness of dialogue in conflict resolution.
The U-turn by IPOB after engagements with South-East stakeholders indicates conflict is better handled if opposing forces engage in honest conversations.
The development serves as a clue to the Nigerian government on how it could address the conflict in the region.
In Ikoyi, Lagos State, a 21-storey building on November 1 crashed killing over 40 persons. Among them was the owner of the building, Femi Osibona.
After the crash, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu set up a panel to probe the building. The panel is mandated to unravel the root cause of what happened to the building.
The Lagos State Governor said unravelling the cause of the collapse would help “everyone concerned, including the government”, learn from the incident.
“Lagosians and the world will be watching and waiting keenly with the full expectation that the immediate and remote causes of this tragedy will be uncovered,” Sanwo-Olu added as he inaugurated the probe panel.
The Ikoyi tragedy shows why the government at all levels must ensure strict enforcement of building construction regulations in the country.
It also supports why the National Assembly should pass the National Building Code legislative document. As the document, if passed, can help reduce the frequency at which buildings collapse across the country.
To stop such tragedies the use of quacks and low-quality materials in building construction must be checkmated. And this has to be done by the government and stakeholders in the construction and real estate industry.
Senator Goje’s harassment by thugs
On Friday, November 5, thugs barred the Senator representing Gombe Central, Muhammad Danjuma Goje, from entering the state.
The thugs barricaded the Gombe-Bauchi Highway near the International Conference Centre. They set bonfires on the road, denying entry into or outside Gombe.
They stopped Goje, who arrived at the Gombe Airport in Lawanti around 10:40 am, from attending a wedding programme in the state.
The treatment meted out to Goje points to the worrying disconnect between Nigerian leaders and the people who voted them into power.
There’s every likelihood the thugs will not have embarked on such an act if the senator is effectively representing them.
The claim Goje’s plight is politically motivated paints a picture of dangerous politics in Nigeria that needed to be jettisoned.