Posted by News Express | 13 November 2017 | 1,439 times
The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) and the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs) have called on the people of Anambra State to disregard the recent threat of ‘vote and die’ issued ahead of the November 18 governorship election in the state by Uche Mefor, deputy leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In a statement issued on Sunday in Onitsha, the rights groups also declared that the militarisation of the poll security by the Federal Government must not be allowed to scare away Anambra voters.
Intersociety and SBCHROs expressed the view that the massive security deployment for the election is also an indirect confirmation of earlier security information received by its leaderships alleging that the Federal Government has special interest in the poll and wants to capture the state at all costs.
They said: “Apart from over 21,000 armed police personnel being deployed for the Poll as announced by the Nigeria Police authorities via Anambra CP, Garuba Umaru, there are also 10,000 armed Soldiers, 5,000 armed Naval personnel and 3,000 armed Air Force personnel. There are additional 11,000 armed personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) and 3000 of its Dogs; totaling 50,000 armed security personnel.
“Although, it is alleged in some informed quarters that these figures are usually inflated by security authorities for illicit monetary gains or criminal enrichment, but they remain official figures available in the official government records. That is to further say that with only 4,608 polling booths in Anambra State, it statistically means 11 armed security personnel are allocated for each of the 4,608 polling booth in the state. This is the highest militarised election in the history of civilian-civilian democratic poll in any part of the world.”
The groups pointed out that militarisation of democratic polls is one of the greatest threats to poll popularity, safety and credibility in modern democratic dispensation or electoral process, adding that it is also a truism that modern concept of election rigging is rooted in poll militarisation, which creates poll insecurity by threatening and scaring away voters from polling booths. The theory of anti election rigging grandly holds that the larger the voters’ turnout, the slimmer the chances to rig, but the lower the voters’ turnout, the bigger the chances to rig.
According to Intersociety and SBCHROs, “It is also grandly found that living votes are very difficult to rig or manipulate, unlike dead or fake votes that are very easy to manipulate. Through dead votes, an unpopular candidate can easily emerge and be declared winner. That is to say the larger the voters’ turnout the brighter the chances of emergence of the people’s choice and the lower the voters’ turnout the bigger the chances of emergence of an unpopular candidate/oligarchic gubernatorial puppet as next Anambra Governor or the return of incumbent oligarchic puppet.
“The totality of the foregoing is that neither IPOB’s threat of ‘vote and die’ nor Buhari’s militarisation of Anambra poll means well for the entire citizens and residents of the state especially its 2.15 million registered voters. The two ill-fated actions are therefore very regrettable and condemnable. The IPOB’s threats of violence against its own homeland population are contained in the Punch Newspaper of Saturday, 11th November 2017. It is found here: http://punchng.com/vote-and- die-ipob-threatens-anambra- residents/.”
The groups said stopping people from participating in electoral process or choosing their leaders especially through intimidation and threats of violence is universally abominable, pointing out that UN Covenant on Civil Political Rights of 1976, the African Charter on Human People’s Rights of 1981 and Chapter Four of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (which predates the 1999 Constitution); rights to vote or be voted for are not only sacrosanct, but also strikingly justiciable.
“Stopping election or people from choosing their leaders democratically especially in a staggered governorship poll such as that of Anambra State has a double-edged implication and far reaching consequences. This is because stoppers of election today can be victims of stopped election of tomorrow; be it staggered governorship poll, local government poll, general poll or referendum or plebiscite. It is so sad that the same Anambra State and its People that spent three years in court to get back their stolen mandate and spent several months further to make history as the pioneer and only introducer of staggered election calendar in Nigeria; are being intimidated and threatened with violence to stay away from participating in the same electoral process they fought hard to introduce into Nigeria’s electoral calendar.”
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