By Chimezie Anaso
No fewer than 60 candidates have signified their interest in the July 21, Anambra Football Association (FA) Election, Rev. Fr. Coach Dike, a member of the election committee has said.
Dike,the Head of Publicity Subcommittee, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Sunday.
He said that the sale of nomination forms for the election which would run till June 24 was designed in such a way that interested members could purchase the forms by proxy.
Dike, also Chairman, Anambra Independent Football League, said that the election would hold through physical voting because it was envisaged that the lockdown would have been over by the time of the poll to allow for interstate travels.
“Since the sale of forms began on June 1, we have sold between 60 and 70 nomination forms for both the state board and the local football committees.
“So far, the process has been smooth and I can assure you that people are really buying the forms, so those who are interested candidates should endeavour to obtain the forms, we are an independent electoral committee,” he said.
However, football stakeholders in Anambra had faulted the timing of the election, saying that the lockdown would deny people outside the state the chance of participating.
Oliver Ndigwe, a football administrator, said there should have been a stakeholders engagement before the setting up of the committee to guarantee openness of the process.
“We have seen the election programme but we need transparency and accountability, if the elections will go on, every position being contested for is vital but the position of the chairman should be well scrutinised.
“All the contestants for the positions must be subjected to a general debate to tell football practitioners their plans and programmes but there is a nationwide lockdown, how can we achieve that.
“A while ago, there was three months extension in a hurriedly convened general meeting, Anambra football is not family and friends business but sports business,” he said.
Akonam Obiefuna, an aspirant in the election, opined that the elections should have started at the local government level before the state to ensure greater participation.
Akonam, a Sports Manager and Consultant, said he was afraid of possible exclusion of a good number of willing members because of the poor publicity of the election.
“During the last election, we bought forms but never knew when and where elections took place.
“From the schedule, it says the State FA election will hold before the Local Football Committee elections instead of the other way round, it is not an arrangement that guarantee fairness,” he said.
Ralph Chidozie-George, a sports journalist, who was part of the 2016 election, said scheduling the election for July when the lockdown was still in force would prevent participants outside Anambra from taking part.
“I won’t want to travel the path I went through last time for nothing, my experiences showed me that the people are not ready for change, the process of election is crucial to successful running of our football.
“At times, I pretend I don’t come from Anambra, especially with anything that regards football, we are not ready for development,” he said.
According to the election schedule, purchase of forms would run from June 1 to June 24 while election and swearing of new State FA executive would hold on July 21.
Elections into local football committees would be held at a yet to be announced date after the state board must have been elected and sworn in.(NAN)