There seems to be palpable fears not just amongst the residents of Anambra State but the ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) saddled with the responsibility of conducting the Saturday, November 6 governorship election in the South Eastern state.
The panic, TheNewsGuru.com, TNG gathered may not be unconnected with a possible attack on voters and INEC workers by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
According to reports, some ad hoc staff and drivers have already tendered their resignations for safety reasons.
INEC had, between May and early June, announced the increment of polling units in Anambra State, which used to be 4,608, to 5,720.
Besides, the commission announced that it would require about 10,000 ad hoc workers for the election.
TNG reports that few days ago, IPOB issued a statement through its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, that if its leader, Nnamdi Kanu who is presently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), is not released on November 4, it would declare another sit-at-home in Igbo land between November 5 and 10. Meanwhile, the election was scheduled for November 6.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday, declared that nothing would stop the conduct of Anambra State governorship election.
Also, Governor Willie Obiano had promised that nothing would stop the November 6 poll. Both leaders insisted that the security agents were equal to the task of securing the INEC staff and voters.
Obiano spoke in Awka, the state capital, through his Information and Public Enlightenment Commissioner C. Don Adinuba.
However, the assurances of safety from the president, governor and security forces does not seem enough as a senior INEC staff in the state who pleaded anonymity regretted that the commission was facing a serious challenge ahead of the election.
The source said: “That is our situation now. Nothing seems to be working for us in this election because no one wants to lose his or her life because of IPOB.
“It is a big challenge facing us. Many of the ad hoc workers already recruited are throwing in the towel because of the IPOB threats; even the drivers, who we always use to distribute the materials.
“All of them contacted, told us they are not interested. So, our hands are tied. These people called IPOB have really dealt with the people of the Southeast.
“If nothing is done urgently, the election we’ve been preparing for, for so long a time may not hold; even if it holds, who is prepared to risk his or her life to come out?,” the source said in an interview with The Nation.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, did not respond to inquiries as at press time on the resignations and INEC’s preparedness for the gubernatorial exercise.