Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Ahead of the forth-coming general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Anambra State, has commenced the assessment of all the political parties claiming presence in the state.
This was coming just as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state Chairman, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, has urged the INEC to guarantee sustenance of democracy in the country by ensuring that the 2019 general election was free and fair.
Already, the Commission had visited eight political parties in the state to ascertain their claims of presence in the state, especially as it concerns their offices, nature of offices and current officers of the parties.
Addressing members of the State Working Committee of the PDP at the party secretariat, Udoka Housing Estate, on Wednesday, when he lead a three-man team of INEC officials, the Head of Department (HOD), Elections and Political Party Monitoring, Mr. Ibe U. Ibe, said the exercise was to ascertain the real political parties that have presence in the state.
According to Ibe, “Our mission here is simple, because very soon we will be faced with more serious activities that will lead to the 2019 general elections; INEC in Anambra state is doing a general assessment of all political parties that claim to be present in Anambra State.
“What do we want to do, if you say you are a political party in Anambra state, we want to know where your office is, the nature of your office.
“It is not enough to say we have so, so, and so office, we want to see what that place looks like whether it is actually an office or somebody’s residence or business location, we want to be sure it is actually an office.
“We also want to know the current officers of the party, just like we have seen you now, we want to know when last you held your congress and when you will be holding the next one, so that at the end of the exercise we will be able to know who exactly are in Anambra State.
“hat is the parties that are actually present in this state, we want to be able to relate with you better and there is no other way we can do that if we don’t know you and know where you are.
“So our visit this morning is in continuation that exercise, we have visited about eight other parties last week and from today till Friday, we will be moving from office to office wherever we have been told the offices are located to make sure they are actually located there.”
Commending the party he said, “I am happy that all of you from even the local government came. Why is it important? Our activities don’t end in the state capital, people live in various local government areas and there is no activity that can actually take place if it doesn’t start where you people are.
“So, from time to time, as these activities are taking place, we also want to know who we will be dealing with at the various local government level, at the various wards, because I know you also have activities at the ward level.”
Asked by newsmen why the Commission recognised the Chief Nwobu-led state executive when there were still issues of leader in the state party, Ibe said the commission monitored the congress that brought them to office.
Responding on behalf of the party, the state Chairman, Nwobu said the party in the state was intact, up and running, saying “We look forward to more robust relationship with the Independent National Electoral Commission in Anambra State, we have no doubt in our mind that the electoral body being an umpire is greatly positioned to guarantee sustenance of democracy in this country by ensuring that free and fair elections are held.
“On our own part as a political party we will do our very best to ensure that in the cause of your monitoring that you will see that democracy have been internalized within the party itself so that we will have the courage and moral standing to question INEC if they fail to get it right in the conduct of the general elections.
“We have no doubt in our mind that they will get it right. We will be collaborating effectively with the commission in ensuring that things are done right in this state.
“PDP will not an obstacle to the performance of your responsibilities except where we felt that things are not going well but with the interactions we will be having with you we have no doubt in our mind that things will definitely go well.
“Because if INEC provides our party with all the relevant information, all relevant data and logistics, then it will be our responsibility to ensure that we activate our party and our followership on every election that will be held.”
Chief Nwobu also urged INEC to look into its logistics to see how it could increase the number of centres for the continuous voters registration exercise that was going on so that more people would get registered.