The much-anticipated Anambra elections has been held and concluded despite the threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), asking people not turnout and vote. All indications are that the elections were not boycotted. Participation of voters at 21 percent is not much different from the 24 percent in the previous governorship election in 2013.
The 234,071 votes that Willie Obiano secured to win the election is even much higher than the 180,000 votes he secured to win the 2013 elections. All these indicate that those who wanted to vote in the election actually came out to vote.
The election was affected by the usually plagues that afflict Nigerians elections. As usual, card readers failed when they were most needed, giving room for manual voting procedures and a loophole for manipulating the electoral outcome.
However, the most worrisome dimension to the Anambra elections are the reports of vote buying. Journalists on the ground witnessed party agents openly offering voters cash in exchange for their votes. The agents of all three major parties including; the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the polling boots were involved in this. Amounts on offer ranged from N500 to as high as N5000 per vote. Food was also distributed to voters in exchange for their votes. The only difference between the three major parties was in how much they were willing to offer to buy votes.
Even more worrisome is the fact that the vote buying was done openly in the presence of security agents deployed to ensure that the elections were conducted peacefully and in line with the electoral law. Cash for votes is not really new in the country; it is just that it looks to have assumed a new high in the Anambra elections.
Voters also openly offered to sell their votes. But the politicians should not rejoice over the sad situation. It only shows how much they have impoverished the people to the level that they are now willing to sell their votes in a bid to just eat for a day. What is certain that soon when the people run out of food and what to sell to get food, the politicians will become the meal.