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37 Parties And Challenges Before INEC, Electorate by sunshine [ f ] at 10:43AM on Nov 02, 2017

sunshine on Open9ja
Recently, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announced that 37 political parties have presented candidates for the November 18 gubernatorial election in Anambra State.

Yakubu, who spoke on the preparations by INEC ahead of the election and other election updates at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue Session, said the number of candidates for the election was the highest ever fielded for any governorship election in Nigeria.

He, however, noted that the commission had never been more confident as everything needed to be done had been done, assuring that no logo of any party would be omitted.
Those familiar with the political history of the state, however, will not be surprised with this outstanding history recorded by the state.

Apart from the republican nature of the average Igbo man, who believes strongly that he has all the qualities of a leader at any time, the level of education, plus exposure prevalent among the citizenry, is relatively high.

Being the scions of the foremost Nigerian politician, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, it is no surprise that any indigene of the state would have some semblance and the political inclinations of ‘The Zik of Africa’ running in his blood.

For Tony Okafor, a veteran journalist who has vast knowledge of the politics of the state, a major factor that might have contributed to the large number of candidates is the level of political awareness and sensitisation across the state, particularly when compared with some other states in the country.

“The average resident of the state is politically motivated. The over two million registered voters captured by INEC during the continuous voter registration exercise is a true attestation to that fact,” he said.
“Besides, poor leadership can also encourage rebellion which can make many wanting to take over government by contesting in elections,” he added.

Obviously, anyone who has had one thing or another to do with election in Nigeria would completely agree with the INEC helmsman, that the intimidating and staggering figure approved by the electoral umpire for the forthcoming poll in Anambra State would definitely pose a challenge, not just for INEC, but for the electorate.

According to the INEC boss, the increase in the number of political parties for the election posed a serious challenge in view of the increase in the length of ballot papers, with a corresponding increase in the chances of the ballot boxes not containing the ballot papers.

Aside that is the financial burden the commission is going to grapple with in view of the cost implication in the production of both sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the election.
On the part of the voters, they are bound to be faced with the challenge of selecting their choice candidate from the multitude of parties on the ballot papers.

No doubt, the large number of candidates would result to increase of invalid and multiple votes in the exercise as some voters, especially the uneducated ones, would be tempted to thumb print for more than one candidate on the ballot paper.

Some parties, particularly those at the tail end of ballot papers, may end up losing some votes as some voters who would have ordinarily cast their votes for them would not be patient enough go through the long list to locate their choice candidates down the line of the ballot paper.

No doubt, the beauty of democracy is in its competitiveness; but it can be abused, especially when the competition becomes unhealthy, which consequences can be damaging.
The earlier the politicians acknowledge and appreciate these glaring facts, the better for them, analysts said.

On the part of the electoral umpire, the financial support it makes available to the numerous political parties should also be reviewed as such assistance had been a source of encouragement to these mushroom parties who ordinarily would not have registered in the first instance.

37 parties and challenges before INEC, electorate by sunshine on Open9ja.com

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