As the countdown for the much anticipated and crucial governorship election in Anambra state nears, voters across the state have expressed their readiness and willingness to exercise their franchise to elect their governor.
In an interview with some residents of the state, they expressed their willingness to defy warning by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) telling them to stay at home on election day.
Newsmen went round some local government areas of the state to sample opinions of the people with a view to feel their pulse, ahead of the voting proper on Saturday.
While most are unperturbed and undeterred about a threat of a possible attack by members of IPOB, and are willing to go out to cast their votes, a few others expressed concern for their safety despite assurances from security agencies.
To some, the deployment of thousands of heavily armed security operatives is in itself, a threat that could scare the electorate from coming out enmass to vote for a candidate of their choice.
However, the general opinion remains that, IPOB or no IPOB, the people of Anambra are ready and willing to go to the polls on Saturday to elect their governor.
Below is a vox pop conducted with people of different backgrounds, across some of the local government areas.
Ijeoma Okeke (Orumba North LGA, an economics student of college of education who is helping her mother at her bean cake (akara) business.
“I want to vote so that I will be able to elect a governor that will govern us well in Anambra state. I want a governor that will know the needs of the youths, that will be able to help the youths, that will be able to create youth empowerment in Anambra state.
” I am not that scared about the threat of IPOB, but i am concerned. Another thing that is of concern tom us is the large number of armed security forces deployed to the statefor the election. From what I am hearing, so many people are scared and may not come out to vote because of what happened in Aba.
“My advice to the candidates and their parties is that, it is not a do or die thing. It is not a must that you must get the post. The post is meant for only one person. By the special grace of God, on Sunday morning, the results will be announced. For the rest of them who will not emerge as governor, they have tried their best, the next thing they should cooperate with the man elected.”
Mr. Chuks Ilozue, a journalist – Ndulukofia LGA.
“I expect a peaceful election. I believe that the election will be transparent enough. The police have assured us that they will do everything to provide a level-playing ground for the contestants and also provide security.
“As a matter of fact, am aware that the police conducted what they called operation show of force on Thursday, during which they went round the three senatorial districts of the state, urging voters to come out to vote and not to fear. So, I believe there will be a peaceful, free and fair election.
“I don’t have worries over any threat from IPOB. Election days are days people stay at home, there is no movement, so, where will the IPOB people come from? In the villages, IPOB are not there, though there are pockets of communities where IPOB members are located, but I don’t see anybody taking a rush on his life in the name of IPOB, coming out to disturb voters, unless that person is a bloody fool.
“I will advise the candidates to take the result of the election in good fate, but you know that elections are characterised by malpractices and you cannot ask somebody that is aggrieved not to complain. But where it is minimal, I will advise them to take it in good fate.
“To be honest with you, I believe that the incumbent governor still has an edge. Besides that, APGA is popular in this part of the country, so it is difficult for the people to abandon it and embrace another political party. The only problem APGA has is that Governor Willy Obiano has not performed. That is the only problem of APGA.
“I think the PDP candidate, Obaze, should be the closest rival to Obiano, followed by that of the APC. But you know, thisis a country where anything can happen No one knows what will happen tomorrow. But if you ask me, I will rate them APGA, PDP and APC.
Izebuke Chibuike – Oyi LGA.
“I will vote tomorrow because it is my right as a Nigerian to vote. I know Anambra election is not an easy thing because of the problem of IPOB that we are facing in the state. But am not scared that IPOB will disrupt the election because they are not a terrorist group. What they are doing is just to boycott the election. I believe in IPOB, I am a fan of IPOB, but I will vote as a citizen of Nigeria.
“For IPOB to stop agitation, the government must correct the marginalisation of the Igbos, ensure equal distribution of resources, make everybody a first class citizen, create equal opportunity for everybody and remove nepotism and tribalism.
“My advice for the candidates, especially governor Obiano, he has tried. I think he is going to get about 50 percent of the total votes cast. I think in terms of infrastructure, payment of salaries and security, I think Obiano has done very well. But he is yet to make the rural areas feel the impact of government, so he should conduct the local government election if he wins a second term and make the people feel the impact of the government.”
Sunday Nwankwo, (Okada rider) Awka south LGA,
“I wants to vote to elect a new governor. I don’t know about IPOB, all I know is that we must vote tomorrow.
“I advise the candidates to be prayerful nd peaceful. Whoever win or lose should take the result in good fate.”
Mrs. Ubaka Chinelo, (house wife) Awka south LGA.
“I will vote tomorrow. I will vote because I am expected to vote. My vote will count for someone that I will vote for. I want a Governor that will perform something reasonable in Anambra, a governor that will pay the workers, a governor that will construct all the roads.
“I am not afraid of security problem, because I know that God will intervene in this election.
My advice to the electorate is that they should come out to to vote to elect a governor of their choice.
“To the candidates, I advise them that the election is not a do or die affair, especially those who say that the president is their own and so could do as they like. They should know that the president is a father to all of us. But whoever wins, I advise that he works for the good of the workers, the market women and the elderly.”
Ifeanyi Ogockukwu, Ihiala LGA, a business center operator.
“I will remain indoors tomorrow until I notice that everywhere is calm, because I don’t know how tomorrow will look like. My concern is that the way I am seeing things, Anambra state election has not been like this before, so, I don’t know how tomorrow will look like. I better remain indoors until I notice that everywhere is calm. I advise others to also come out and vote for a candidate of their choice, they should not sell their votes for anything.
“I want a governor that will listen to the people, listen to the poor when they cry. He should be able to know what the masses need. I advise the candidates to calm down so that we could have a free and fair election.”
Ngozi Okafor (Nnewi south LGA)
“I will vote tomorrow because I want the person am voting for to win. I want a governor that will listen to the people and know the people’s mind and know what exactly they want.
“I have no fear of insecurity. I don’t fear IPOB. One thing with IPOB is that they said they will boycott the election, by that, they want people to stay at home, meaning that if you go out, anything that happens to you, they are not accountable for it. I don’t believe that IPOB will interrupt the election.
“For some politicians, the election is a do or die affair, so people say that they will do everything possible to take it by force, even if they have to shed their blood, but election should not be ‘if I don’t win, I must die.’
“I advise all of them to take things easy. If you win, glory be to God, if you lose, glory be to God. For the voters, if you want to come out, you are on you own, if you don’t want to come out, you are on your own, it is a personal decision.