Anambra Election: The people chose courage and not fear: A lot of uncertainties followed the just concluded Anambra election. From the security challenges that almost engulfed the state, worry over the turn out of the voters, apprehension over the seeming subversion of the will of the people by the interests through rigging and the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Days leading to the election had the people panicking in fear of what would become of the state. There were calls for the rescheduling of the election as gunshots rained down and people got killed. A lot of people; commentators, predicted an election marred by violence and bloodshed or an election marred by ballot snatching and voter intimidation. With the sit-at-home order, there was apprehension among the Igbo leaders including the politicians who have been working hard campaigning and selling their ideas. It was days of unpredictability.
Reports have it that people were traveling out of Anambra to the neighboring states to avoid being caught up in the crossfire of the impending violence. Motor parks were besieged by people escaping the violence. People called their loved ones instructing them not to go out to vote. Even on social media, a lot of people were cautioning Anambra residents not to go out and vote.
“Many Anambra people have been in Enugu since Wednesday as refugees. It was like a terrible refugee situation. People trekked from New Market to New Haven.” A resident of Enugu said.
The federal government deploying tens of thousands of security personnel to the state added to the apprehension. Then the IPOB called off their 6-day sit-at-home order through the intervention of the Committee of southeast Traditional Rulers and Bishops. This paved the way for the election, which lessened the tempo of uncertainty.
Fear and tension were everywhere as the election was also seen as a test for Anambra people who are known for their resilience. Despite the fear and visible palpitations, these predictions did not happen.
Anambra Election: The people chose courage and not fear: Election Day came and calmness was felt all over the state. The security agents conducted themselves largely well. Voters trooped out and voted in a peaceful, free, fair, and credible election. No matter the low turnout, the number was representative of the wishes of the people.
Anambra is dubbed the light of the nation. And what this means is that despite all the tensions and violence that came about, the people dared, with courage, to vote. Despite the voter apathy, the majority of the people stood by the outcome.
The most desirable was the women of Ukwulu in Awka-south who like the Aba women of 1929 stood their ground. When a party agent in a viral video came to dole out money in a bid to buy their votes, the women rejected. “Anyi achoghi APC; APC emego anyi ife”. Which means, “We don’t want APC, they have dealt with us” a woman was heard saying. The voters in that ward ensured that the people know which party came to buy their votes.
As rural dwellers with fewer opportunities, these men and women were in a position to accept the 5,000 Naira being shared but they refused.
The spirit of Anambra is that of courage, fearlessness, and indomitableness. They are not weakened in the sight of trouble. And this spirit sends a message to those who would have intended to meddle with the wish of the people.
Election brings out the jaw-jaw attitude in the people. People struggle to sell their candidates within the political atmosphere. Emotions are always high. But the beauty of the process is that they share in the brotherhood of the Anambra spirit.
Violence and killings have not been part of the process. And that was why it felt like a new normal. The rejection of this new culture and calmness as witnessed on election day is a lesson learned and to be cherished that peace is the utmost principle to be cultivated in the state and that is what the people want.
As the election came to a conclusion with Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo being declared as the winner, it is also important that all candidates including their supporters should come together in that spirit of Anambra, to support the incoming governor to work for the state, so that the state will not witness violence but stability with progress and development.
If Anambra is governed well, it is for the good of all the people and Igbo in general.
Correction: Women of Ukwulu and not women of Ebenebe as earlier stated.