The just-concluded peaceful, free and fair governorship election in Anambra State has dealt deadly blows to professional election riggers and their henchmen. The newly introduced INEC Biometric Voters Accreditation System aka BVAS has put them out of job as all infamous election riggers that were gleefully purchased and celebrated as election winners by the myopic APC governorship candidate may have to refund their fees. The greater tragedy, however, is that they are out of jobs and there is an urgent need for them to learn new skills before they constitute security threats to society. This is a national emergency. I will come back to that.

Three days before the November 6, 2021 election, I pulled up at Ufuma Junction in Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra State. A squat bloke with the shoulder of a boxer and the feet of a midget lumbered towards me with four of his men, all red shot eyed – the manifest evidence of years of reefer’s addiction. I nearly jumped out of my skin but for the squat bloke who reassured me in a husky voice that “we are all together.” They said they could pull strings for me if I wanted. They named their fee and in order to convince me of their track record, mentioned some of their better-known clients. Unimpressed and focused on the voters having their say, I told them no dice but paid for two cartons of beer for them and their other friends to possibly mitigate any ill feelings.

The assignments usually given to the henchmen above by their masters are intimidation of voters and election officers and the forceful hijacking of ballot boxes with a view to rewriting the results by the kingpins who often sit pretty in their houses or hotel rooms waiting for them to come back with the hijacked ballot boxes.

Unfortunately, INEC has busted their bubble and they are sulking. Their paymaster is sulking and curiously spewing to those who care to listen to stories about his alleged stolen mandate. We wonder which mandate they are referring to, when they couldn’t ‘conquer’ even one local government area for him.

The INEC BVAS is transparent and as simple as A, B, C, D. For the benefit of those who are yet to experience how it works, let me explain. The voter gets to his or her polling unit, blandishes the voter’s card to the INEC official who checks the name, number, and photograph on the system. Once it jells, the voter moves to the next INEC staff for accreditation wherein the voter will be requested to manage a smile. Once this stage is successful, the voter can proceed to vote in the full glare of the agents of all the political parties. In addition, weeks before the election, INEC made available the updated voters’ register that has the same information of the name, photograph, and registration number of voters in each ward and polling unit in Anambra State. The process gave all participants level playing ground but caught those tied to our ugly past unawares and pants down. They came to the election to exploit the weaknesses of the old Smart Card Reader (SCR) system but Prof. Yakubu and his team outsmarted their propensity to torpedo the will of the people.

The outcome accounts for the widespread jubilations and celebrations globally and what is today christened the oversized expectations from the winner, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo who won in 19 out of 21 local government areas. Consequently, he will mount the saddle on March 17, 2022, without any moral or negative public perception encumbrances, and together with Ndi Anambra and friends of Ndi Anambra will begin the gritty and fascinating journey to a livable and prosperous homeland. He met the standard set by the INEC boss, Prof. Yakubu, who few days before the election, declared that “The choice of the next Governor of Anambra State is in the hands of the eligible voters and their will must prevail.”

The people have spoken and their will, for sure, must prevail.

Be of good cheer!!

Joe C. Anatune
Writes from Awa

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