At least 2,158,171 electorate would vote in today’s governorship election in Anambra, which will go down as one of the most anticipated governorship elections in the history of Nigeria.
Blaring siren and the sound of roving helicopters have become common in the state in the wake of the governorship polls as 36 political parties field candidates for the ultimate position – which is the seat of the state executive.
Apart from the stiff competition in the election, there have been security threats.
There was palpable fear yesterday that the election could be marred by violence amid rumours of bomb blast in Onitsha.
The tension in the state was further exacerbated by the secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), through its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who had earlier said unless the Nigerian State calls for a referendum to determine the status of the country, there would be no election in Anambra State.
Despite being labelled a terrorist organisation, members of IPOB staged a demonstration in Onitsha, the Anambra State capital, threatening voters not to participate in today’s election.
— ChannelsTV Politics (@CTVpolitics) 17 November 2017
In his reaction, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations, Mr. Joshak Habila, dismissed the threat by IPOB, insisting that the voters should come out and exercise their franchise without fear.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced the distribution of materials in the Registration Area Centres (RAC) across the 21 local government areas of the state.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) 17 November 2017
The four major gladiators in the election are the All Progressive Grand Alliance’s Willie Obiano, who is the incumbent governors and the All Progressives Congress’s Tony Nwoye.
The others are the People’s Democratic Party’s Oseloka Obaze and United Progressive Party’s Osita Chidoka.
Anambra has 21 council areas, 326 registration areas, 4,608 polling units and 731 voting points.
Today’s election proceedings is keenly watched across the world as its outcome will further chart a new course for Nigeria’s sovereignty and determine the measures being taking to stop unrest.
— Anioke collins. C (@Canicols) 18 November 2017
While the police have deployed 26,000 personnel for the election, the Civil Defence have deployed 13,000 personnel, officials said.
The Army and Navy are also believed to have deployed hundreds of personnel to maintain peace for the elections.
The police deployment comprise police special forces, police mobile forces, Counter Terrorism Units and Bomb Protection Units.
Always remember to include the hashtag #AnambraDecides2017 when making reports or tweeting/facebooking about elections so we can track it.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) 18 November 2017
Others are bomb disposal specialists, as well as sniffer and attack dogs. Surveillance helicopters will monitor proceedings from the air, while there will be gunboats on the river Niger, plus 15 armoured personnel carriers and 303 patrol vehicles.
These measures are put in place to ensure a seamless election and also ensure any threat by IPOB is not carried out.