• Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Anambra Election: 7 of 10 unlikely to vote over insecurity – SBM

Anambra election: 68% may not vote on Saturday over insecurity – survey

The Anambra State governorship election scheduled for Saturday may witness the lowest turnout in any election in Nigeria as 68 percent of registered voters (7 of 10) could stay away mostly out of safety concerns, a new survey by SBM Intelligence, has noted.

The report titled ‘A look at potential apathy in the 2021 Anambra Election’ states that they think the governorship election will set a new low in voter turnout in not only the state but in governorship elections nationwide.

“High voter apathy (lack of interest) has been worsened by insecurity and escalating violence in the state, especially as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) is opposed to conducting elections in the region until the release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu,” the report states.

It further highlights that while the security agencies have shown their intent to ensure the election is held, it is unlikely that this would be enough to reverse voter apathy.

While IPOB was cited by 54 percent of respondents for not voting, other reasons were from loss of faith in the system, security issues, voter card issues and religious stipulations.

SBM surveyed a total of 663 randomly selected respondents from the three senatorial districts in Anambra State, out of which 52 percent of respondents were from Anambra South, 31 percent from Anambra North, and 17 percent from Anambra Central.

Read Also: Insecurity, fear of manipulation, voter apathy major issues in Anambra election

For some months now, the atmosphere in one of Nigeria’s most economically active states has seen a mixture of anxiety and fear that the election may be disrupted by the one week stay-at-home directive issued by IPOB, a separatist movement agitating for the excision of South Eastern Nigeria from the federation.

The group has taken to violence since the end of 2020, and following the arrest of its leader, Kanu earlier this year, has violently enforced a sit-at-home order in a bid to force Kanu’s release.

“Indeed, our researchers were consistently warned about conducting the survey because in the words of an older respondent in Onitsha in Anambra North, “if IPOB gets you, you are in trouble,” the report states.

There are 18 candidates contesting for governorship of Anambra State in the November 6 election, and the three leading candidates Chukwuma Soludo, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, representing All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Valentine Ozigbo, a former CEO of the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Andy Uba, a senator from Anambra South Senatorial District, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The survey also shows that when respondents were asked what is important to them, 32 percent chose security as the most important need, and “this indicates that the breakdown in security was of great concern to people in the state.”

Other needs highlighted are economic development (24%), jobs (11%), infrastructure development (3%), and good governance (1%).

Analysts at SBM recommend that there is a need for intensified measures to restore peace and security in the state as well as efforts to look into the genuine grievances of the separatist groups, such as IPOB.

“It is vital that the eventual winner of the elections forms a government that meets the desires of the people, particularly in terms of economic development and job creation,” the report further states.