The Independent National Electoral Commission has stated that the November 2021 governorship election in Anambra State will test the resilience of the nation's democracy and democratic institutions.
INEC's Supervising National Commissioner, Barrister Festus Okoye, said this on Wednesday at a stakeholders meeting convened by INEC's National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre.
Okoye said, "The Commission conducted the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections under very difficult circumstances, at a time of global uncertainty and fear caused by a pandemic whose unique nuances were still evolving. The Commission conducted elections at a time when advanced countries rescheduled, postponed or abandoned their elections on account of the pandemic.
"The Anambra Governorship election has its own unique features and characteristics. It is being conducted in difficult circumstances. The election will further test the resilience of our democracy and democratic institutions. It will test our determination and resolve to conduct elections in difficult circumstances.
"The fact must be acknowledged that the ongoing agitations in different parts of the country including Anambra State is not new to deeply divided societies like Nigeria challenged by contestations around nationhood and citizenship.
"In these agitations, democracy still offers the best opportunity for addressing them in a peaceful manner and that’s why it is in the interest of Nigeria and those genuinely interested in a stronger Nigeria and the progress of the country’s electoral democracy to create enabling environment for peaceful election on Saturday November 6, 2021."
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner REC, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, had earlier confirmed that all the participating candidates and leaders of their respective political parties were invited to the meeting but only few turned up.
He said, "We invited all the stakeholders to this meeting. We invited all the political parties and their candidates to this meeting, but most of them are not here now.
Only candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Valentine Ozigbo as well as candidates of the APC, Andy Uba and his Zenith Labour Party counterpart, Francis Obiorah Okonkwo were present.