ANAMBRA 2017: The Trend We must Change – by David Okpokwasili

ANAMBRA 2017: The Trend We must Change - by David Okpokwasili
A polling unit with awaiting voters

As I poured over these figures again, I became more concerned about what we must do, more than what we have done. What we must do? Change this trend of voter apathy! Change it, and become more engaged in the electoral process.

Look at the figures of the election. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had announced that there were 2,108,171 registered voters expected to vote at the November 18 gubernatorial poll in the State. However there were only 448,771 of total votes cast. This year there was accreditation and voting done simultaneously.That puts the turn out at just 21.28% of the total of registered voters. The ratio was a low 1:4; that is one person came out to vote, in every four people that registered.

We may be very quick to attribute the low turn out to the call by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB’s to people to boycott that election. Yes, it may have affected the turn out. Most people feared there may be an outbreak of violence while others were apprehensive over the heavy security personnel imported into the State just for one election. Yet, this may not be the entire reason for the low turn out. It rather seems that: “Ndi Anambra has made it a character to shun voting.

The following statistics from the previous years show this abysmal trend:

2010 Gubernatorial Election:

The 2010 Gubernatorial election was held on the 6th of February, 2010. For that election, there was 1.845 million voters in the State. Total number of accredited voters was 301,232. That is 16.3% of all the registered voters. Yet, there was no call for boycott.

2013 Gubernatorial Election

This election held on November 16, 2013 after which voting continued on the 17th due to electoral materials delay in some areas. Then a supplementary election held on the November 30th after the 16th and 17th exercises ended inconclusive.

Meanwhile, the 2013 Guber poll was done with the new Voter Register regime -with the new permanent voters cards.This may account for the reduction in the number of registered voters as this regime was said to be more credible.
At this point, there were 1,770,127 registered voters in Anambra State. Total number of accredited voters was 465,891. This accounts for 26.31% turn out, about 10.01 point increase from 2010. The turn out despite an increase was not impressive.

2015 Presidential Election

The 2015 polls held in the state on March 28th and April 14th, 2017. The Presidential and National Assembly held on the former date while House of Assembly elections held the state in the latter date. Data show that there was 1,963,427 registered voters and 774, 430 voters came out on the day of the Presidential poll, which gives us a 39.44% turn out.

In all these four elections, Anambra State has not recorded over 40% at the poll. We must therefore understand that democracy is a game of number and that alone would give and edge in a competitive politics. There is need that we begin to become more active in the democratic process. It is way past time for indifference.

I am David Nedy Okpokwasili and I live in Anambra