Awka - The Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC), has announced the postponement of the conduct of local government elections earlier scheduled to hold on October 5.
The Acting Chairman of the commission, Sylvester Okonkwo, announced this during a meeting he held with stakeholders and representatives of political parties in Awka on Tuesday.
According to him, the exercise will now take place on December 14.
Okonkwo noted that 24 days to the initial date for the elections, political parties had yet to submit the list of their candidates and forms to the commission.
“No political party has submitted the list of candidates. How can we run an election without the parties on the ballot paper or know how many ballot boxes to customise,” he asked.
He also noted that the postponement was due to the pressure from stakeholders and political parties that the election was close to the governorship poll slated to hold on November 16.
“Another reason is that most people called saying that November 16, governorship election is so close and that we are conducting the local government elections to favour a particular party
“They suggested that we conduct the elections after November 16, governorship and that conducting the polls under such pressure could result to violence.
“Even with adequate funding, we cannot still go on with all the requirements that are needed to ensure free, fair and credible elections 24 days to the elections
“In view of all the variables, we held a stormy session this, morning, following the phone calls and text messages most of us have been inundated with.
“We have equally prayed and after all the considerations, we are pleading that you allow us to shift this election to December 14”.
He said that the commission would not want to conduct elections that would be marred by violence saying, “if anything happens, it might spill over to the governorship election”.
The commission’s boss, however, said that all the processes leading to the election would continue and urged political parties to submit the list of their candidates, to enable the commission continue with the process.
In a reaction, the state Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chuks Chinwuba, commended the development, saying that it would allow other political parties prepare adequately for the polls.
“I want to commend ANSIEC. Its pronouncement; shows that it is honourable.
“All the political parties want local government elections conducted, but we want it done in an environment conducive and not in a situation where it is rushed in favour of a political party.
“By December 14, the people of Anambra would have solved the major issue of electing their governor; we will then look at the new date and know what next.” (NAN)