By Ononye VC
A British High Commission official in Nigeria, Aneesah Islam who addressed participants at a meeting of Civil Society Groups and the media at Awka,Anambra state, to review the last gubernatorial election in the state has counselled the federal government of Nigeria not to look down on agitations from various groups especially those from the South East of the country.
Aneesah who is the Head,Political Unit of the British High Commission pointed out that dialogue is an important component of resolving conflicts and should be applied on the South East issue now that it has not escalated beyond redemption.
The election review meeting centred on peace,security,peaceful election and service delivery project as supported by Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office,FCDO.
Aneesah Islam thanked the people of Anambra State and all those who made the election peaceful,saying that before the election nobody believed that it will be peaceful and credible.
According to her,”before the election,there was tension,no peace but the election came and it was conducted peacefully”
“If peace is threatened, there will not be any election. So the Federal government should not disregard the agitations going on in Nigeria but should resolve all agitations and ensure that there is peace before the 2023 election, they should also learn for the success of the election.
Also speaking during the occasion, the FCDO Regional Coordinator Southern Nigeria, Dr Ulachi Roonie, told the Federal Government of Nigeria and South-East governors that there is need to return peace, normal business activities in South-East following the ongoing Monday weekly sit-at-home.
Giving statistics percentage of the turn out of voters in the state, the South-East Coordinator of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, and Executive Director of SIDEC, Mrs Ugochi Ehiahuruike, said from 1999, the state has not recorded up to 50% turn out of voters.
According to her, in 1999 the turn out of voters was 46.4%; 2003 was 47.22%; 2010, 16.33%; 2013, 24%; 2017, 21.74% and 2021 11.2 %.
She said the low turn out is not unconnected with politicians not keeping to their promises to the electorates.
JDPC Coordinator for Onitsha, Mr. Alponsus Nwoye and his Monitoring and Evaluation(M&E),counterpart, Princess Cynthia Arinze-Enweonwu, urged political parties and politicians to commence training and voter education for their followers and improve on their service delivery.
They also called for resuscitation of the National Orientation Agency, NOA.
By Ononye VC