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Author Name: Chuks U Okereke
Number of articles: 8
The Abia State National Association of North America held their 2010 Leadership Conference in Oakland... (0) Comment

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Anambra Governorship Election: A Litmus Test for the Nigerian 2011 Elections?
Author: Chuks U Okereke | February 05, 2010

For as many people that answer in the affirmative to that question, you’ll find an equal number that’ll answer in the negative. Whatever side of the argument you’re on, you might want to cool your jets – there’s another school of thought that questions the constitutional legality of the Anambra governorship election. The February 4, 2010 online editorial of a prominent Nigerian Newspaper is forefront in the argument that the Anambra State governorship election is not the test for the 2011 elections. The editorial articulated two basic points. The first point was that Anambra State is too small to be used as a yard stick given that it has only 27 local government areas compared to the country’s almost 800 local government areas. Secondly, the editorial further argued, that the Anambra State governorship election was only a one-event, one-day affair compared to the 2011 election’s enlarged five event elections held within weeks. True, the Anambra State governorship elections might not be THE test for the 2011 election. However, those arguing on the affirmative maintain that it is nonetheless a test - a test of the current faulty electoral act in a small, isolated setting. The thought is that our inept political leadership would be watching and taking notes – yea right. From these notes they’ll come up with a laundry list of useful lessons learned from the election - enough to warrant a freer and fairer 2011 elections in the absence of an electoral reform. Furthermore, since the current electoral process needs to be overhauled, it’s about time we put it on a political microscope to decipher what ailment to treat for. With theories running amok on what can and should be done to fix our electoral process, the Anambra governorship election is arguably, exactly what the doctor ordered. The proponents of this argument maintain that the Anambra election would provide us with the opportunity to verify or eliminate some of those theories. Come to look at it, 21 local government areas out of the country's 774 local government areas sounds like a great first step. One single event held in a day sounds like a good yard stick to measure the likely outcome of an expanded collection of similar 5 events held within weeks – which is exactly what the 2011 election will be. To buttress that argument is the adage that, “A journey of 1000 steps begins with a step.” The Anambra State governorship election could be that step. On the other hand, some may argue that if the Anambra State governorship election is a true test of the 2011 election then we are in serious trouble as a nation. A ruling by Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos threatens to cast a dark shadow on the Anambra elections and throw the results into a protracted legal limbo. The court ruling stipulates that as currently constituted, INEC is not competent to run any elections in Nigeria and as at today any election organized by INEC is deemed unconstitutional. The irony is that section 154 of the 1999 constitution stipulates that the President shall appoint the Chairman and members of the INEC while the Senate confirms the appointment(s). To comply with the court ruling, more members will have to be appointed to the INEC. With a no-show Presidency, there might be no time to recover from this for it to matter in the 2011 elections. But really, who are we kidding? With or without the court ruling, the Anambra governorship election was not going to be a teachable moment. I don't think INEC and the rest of our Nigerian leadership have the impetus and visionary forthrightness to make the Anambra elections count towards the electoral reform process. Quite frankly, and sadly, I don't think the powers that be want any change to the electoral status quo. The electoral status quo guarantees them re-election come 2011 elections, an electoral reform doesn’t.

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