The long awaited 2017 governorship election in Anambra will take place today in 532 polling booths in 326 political wards in the 21 local government areas of the state.

2,158,171 million registered voters are expected to vote in the election.

Figures released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (NEC) showed that 50.3 per cent were females while 49.6 percent were males.

A further breakdown shows that students are the highest number of registered voters constituting 48 per cent.

Idemili North Local Government Area had the highest number of registered voters.

INEC officials/ad hoc staff

INEC has deployed 23,000 ad hoc staff for the election.

The ad hoc staff include members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and those redeployed from other states.

The commission has also deployed over 6, 000 card reader machines to ensure a smooth conduct of the exercise.

Security

To ensure adequate security during the exercise, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has appointed the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of operations to take charge, with the Assistant Inspector General of Police in the zone and three other Commissioners of Police that would be posted to the three senatorial zones of the state, to assist him.

The three commissioners of police will also work with deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners of police, in addition to a large number of security operatives that would be assigned to all the polling units.

47, 000 police personnel have been deployed for the execise.

The personnel comprise those from the Police Special Forces, Police Mobile Force, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CT), Special Protection Unit, (SPU,) the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), the Force Marine Police, Conventional Policemen, the Force Armament Unit, personnel from Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), Mounted Troops, the attack and Sniffer Dogs Section.

Four Policemen will be deployed to each polling unit along with personnel of other security and safety agencies.

Three police Aerial/Surveillance Helicopters, ten gun boats, 15 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and 303 police patrol vehicles have been deployed for the operations to cover the entire state including the riverine areas and difficult terrains.

Civil Defence

The Corps would deploy about 11,000 officers. A Deputy Commandant General of the Corps Hillary Madu will coordinate the officers posted from the entire command of the corps in Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta, Edo and Benue with over 115 vehicles, 15 boats, drones and ambulances.

Observer groups

44 observer groups, comprising 38 domestic and six international teams are to monitor the election.

These groups have already deployed over 600 election observers to all the 21 local government areas in the state to monitor the election.

The groups are the British High Commission, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), American Embassy Abuja, European Union, High Commission of Canada, and African Union Economic Social and Cultural Council.

Among the domestic observer groups include African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development; Centre for Credible Leadership; Citizens Awareness; and the Initiative for Promotion of Civic Obligation Sustainable.

Political Parties

There are 37 political parties fielding candidates in this election

The parties include Alliance Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Action Alliance (AA), Action Democratic Party (ADP), Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), African People’s Party (APP), Better Nigeria Progressive Party BNPP),Democratic Alternative (DA), Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC),Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) and Hope Democratic Party (HDP).

Others are Kowa Party, Labour Party (LP), Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN),Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP),National Democratic Liberty Party (NDLP),United Democratic Party (UDP),National Conscience Party (NCP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Nigeria Peoples Congress (NPC),National Unity Party (NUP),People for Democratic Change (PDC) and Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA).

The rest  are Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN),Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP),United Progressive Party (UPP),Young Democratic Party (YDP) and Young Progressive Party (YPP).

But  there are not more than five candidates considered serious by the book makers and electorates. They are the incumbent Governor, Willie Obiano of APGA, Oseloka Obaze of PDP, Dr. Tony Nwoye of APC, who are seen as the top three contenders to the throne.

These are closely followed by Osita Chidoka of UPP and Godwin Ezeemo of PPA.

#AnambraDecides 2017: Meet The Candidates - Oseloka Obaze