By Ajibola Abayomi,
The United Progressive Party (UPP) has stated that the victory of Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra State in the just concluded poll was financially induced.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party posited that the recently concluded Anambra Governorship election held on November 18, 2017 portends a great danger for the nation’s democracy if certain factors that characterized the poll were not addressed.
UPP stated that If this dangerous dimension to winning election is allowed to spread across the country then our democracy is doomed. The much expected 2019 general election will be a mere charade.
In a statement made available to The LeadOnline by Chief Chekwas Okorie, the National Chairman of UPP, he stated that “as a Credible opposition party in Nigeria resolve to alert the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Assembly, the Presidency and the general public on the unsavory dimension our democracy has assumed which if not nipped in the bud shall give a completely new definition to democracy as it is practiced in Nigeria.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our great Party aligns itself with our Governorship Candidate, Chief Osita Chidoka who made an early call to congratulate Chief Willie Obiano of APGA for emerging victorious in the election.
“Chief Chidoka by his sportsmanship and gallantry has demonstrated the true character of a gentleman and political leader of note. We further commend our governorship candidate along with his running mate, Chief Marcel Ogbonnaya Okeke for mounting the most robust and technology driven campaign machine.”
The statement added that: “UPP is disappointed that most observers that commented on the Anambra Governorship Election have tended to play down on the danger posed to our nascent democracy by the monetization and commercialization of the election.
“What happened in the full glare of the general public with some of the drama already streaming in the social media is that political parties, especially APGA, APC and PDP set up shops at virtually all the Polling Units to bid for and buy votes. The difference in votes won by these 3 parties I have mentioned is only in their individual capacity to out-bid one another at different places.”
UPP added that: “We advise as follows: The National Assembly should without further delay and in the interest of our democratic process, pass the necessary laws to usher in full Electronic Voting System (EVS). The expected legislation should empower INEC to prosecute offenders of election funding provisions.
“There should be strict laws prohibiting any person from carrying a certain amount of money within the vicinity of a Polling Unit. The general public have been treated to the TV coverage of the Anambra Governorship Election and were appalled by the shamelessness of a so-called former Lecturer of a tertiary institution, a grandfather figure who admitted that his party, APGA gave him N300,000.00 to pay the fee of his party agent at the polling unit where he was apprehended by the officers of the Directorate of State Service (DSS).
“When you multiply N300,000.00 by the number of polling units in Anambra State where this party has agents you begin to imagine the amount of cash outlay made available just to procure electoral victory.
“What we have done here as a responsible and credible opposition party is to share our thoughts on this election with the public and we hope that INEC, the National Assembly, the Presidency, Public Affairs Commentators, Pro-Democracy Organizations and Donor Agencies should intervene in their various capacities to save our democracy from going to the dogs.”