Election within Persisting Insecurity and Citizens Distrust: Imo State Governorship Election

The political environment in Imo State is heating up ahead of the November 11, 2023, governorship election as political actors and parties intensify efforts to win the election. The election will be conducted on the heels of a pervasive level of disillusionment and distrust in both the electoral process and INEC as an institution amongst a reasonable number of citizens. These levels of distrust and worrying state of disillusionment have an adverse effect on the faith in democracy and the quality of participation in the elections. Accordingly, the pre-election environment is driven more by campaigns by the contesting political parties and less engagement of the citizens. Voter education and stakeholder engagement in the electoral process are abysmally low and almost absent across most of the Local government areas. In addition, the level of insecurity in the state limits major civic and voter engagement and other election-preparatory activities that ordinarily precede election. While the governorship election is expected to be keenly contested, the question is more around the level of citizen participation and the impact of insecurity on voter participation as the pre-election observation projects a likelihood of low voter turnout.