By Chuks Collins, Awka
June 26,2021 was a date all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), within and outside Anambra state looked up to with so much enthusiasm.
Ironically, December 20,2021 was equally a date members of the party waited for with baited breath.
Both dates were very important for different historical reasons.
The former was expected to climax the months of the party’s in-house seeming tireless campaigns by its fourteen Governorship aspirants as it was, then.
For those who are conversant with Anambra politics/politricks, party primaries though have threatening whirlwind, it always calm down once the popular and sellable candidate triumphs.
But once a roguish primary was conducted, or an unpopular hardsell barges forward as winner, the the dust, smoke and fire therefrom often linger till next election cycle. And nothing was deducted from dusty smoking fireball that took over in APC right from the moment the fair skinned Ogun State Governor -Abiodun insulted the state, the members and the geopolitical zone, especially the leaders with that roguish result he announced. Because it was like he picked that from one of the political touts that apparently was sent to lead him and his hatchet contingent all the way from Abeokuta to Awka. It was so bad that he did not even fear or respect the memory of “our heroes past” like Senator Chuba Okadigbo who he may have heard of. After all no one would expect he would know or have read of fine egg heads like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr Michael Okpara, Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu, Igwe Osita Agwuna, Senator Onyeabo Obi, Dr Abyssinia Akweke Orizu, or the legendary ageless The Boy is Good, Chief Mbazulike Amechi and many others.
But for His Excellency(?) interest, these names were the fulcrum of what we have today as Nigeria! And it’s a great pity that our land, the once giant of africa has now been reduced to a mere Lilliput. A mere toad, whose only stock in trade was the nightly croaks. Nothing more.
Why not? Because with men like our dear governor and the kind of “party primary” he superintended in Awka on June 26,2021 Nigeria is finished. Any tout picked from a handy motor park would have done better. Yes because the motor park honcho would like to make a name, knowing full well that everyone would say what did we expect from a character like him. But our dear governor with a bloated ego, befuddled with all manner of high sounding but empty ego tripping names would play god. He’s educated, seeming well read in terms of books, newspapers and magazines. Knows Nigeria well(?). Really? Certainly not. For he evidently, like many others who are permanently holed up in their immediate environment usually assume, the governor had remained a slave to his environment. He must have been among the “leaders” whose great grandfather told a useless folktale that the reason why the Igbo full every hamlet in Nigeria was because they have not enough space or home in their villages. What a wasted education and bunkum of leaders!
There was no doubt that what he saw on both sides of all roads he passed before holding himself up in Agulu Golden Tulip hotel where all rooms were for his sake paid for actually left him in shame of his preconceived belief of this globally reputed egregious people that dazed all colonial masters till date.
Anyway let’s leave our gun-for-hire leaders there for now.
Many political watchers started perceiving the stench of Gov Abiodun’s brand of primary when a Federal Court, Abuja was approached on virtually all fours to arrest delivery of its judgement already slated for Nov 4,2021 in the suit brought by Chief George Moghalu -a chieftain of the APC and one of the Governorship aspirant in the election coming up then in a matters of two days -Nov 6. He had dragged the party, his party in which he was a prominent very visible founding member, and the assumed candidate, Senator Andy Uba.
This verdict had from all indications kept all members on edge, apparently due to its precarious effect in the coming election. For all those who were conversant with the matter, a fair verdict would throw a very big spanner in Uba’s works. It truly did!
Moghalu who had aspired for the same APC Governorship ticket as Uba and twelve others approached the court when he expressed dissatisfaction with the June 26 primary and how Uba emerged candidate.
Moghalu, who was a very hot favorite even amongst the whole aspirants had claimed that the party primary did not follow the stipulated format at all, hence should be cancelled and the party and her flagbearer delisted from the Nov 6,2021 election.
He also alleged that the Electoral Act and the party’s (APC)guidelines were brazenly truncated in the purported primary claimed to have been conducted on June 26. In the documents filed before the court by his counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN, Chief Moghalu lamented that the called Nomination/Expression of Interest forms cost him and other aspirants a whopping N23 million each, whereas “no primary election known to law was conducted by the party.”
He had tendered copies of the official report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which confirmed that no primary election was conducted within the time stipulated by law. In addition he cited Sec 87 of the Electoral Act and Guidelines of the party (APC) that outlined the time to conduct any primary election to be between 8 a.m and 4 p.m. of the given date.
He averred that he and other delegates who had turned out to cast their votes in the primary, as well as INEC officials who came to monitor the process waited till 7pm on June 26, 2021 without seeing party officials billed to conduct the primary election as planned. That they all left the venue/s when the reality dawned on them that no election would be conducted.
Moghalu, as well as other chieftains and leaders of the party in the State expressed shock when the following day the party announced that it had conducted a purported primary election and that one Emmanuel Andy Nnamdi Uba won.
Consequent upon the development he approached the court and urged Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo to nullify the purported primary election and order a fresh one as there was no primary election by the party on June 26.
After a diligent proceeding, listening to the parties, the court slated Nov 4,2021 for its verdict. But unfortunately Senator Uba, through his counsel, Abubakar Magaji Mahmud, a Senior Advocate wrote the presiding judge on Nov 2,2021 requesting for another date.
The learned Senior Advocate even outside points of law, adduced plethora of emotional reasons bothering on security and social upheaval that might break out if the judgement was read ahead the Nov 6,2021 Governorship election in Anambra State.
According to the counsel, “….my Lord the Honorable Chief Judge would be aware of the apparent critical security challenges in Anambra state which has been further aggravated by the forthcoming gubernatorial election. The situation has caused a rather tense atmosphere and on the verge of snowballing into a near breakdown of law and order within the State.
“Thus there is no gain stating that if the Honorable trial court proceeded to deliver the said judgement on 4th November, 2021, prior to the forthcoming gubernatorial polls (depending on whichever way the judgement goes)Anambra State could be engulfed in untold anarchy and this could spread beyond the borders thus throwing the already tense country into a political turmoil…”
But in a quick response, Chief Chris Uche, Senior Advocate, and counsel to Moghalu retorted in his letter countering the Uba/Mahmud(SAN) request, pointing out that having painstakingly gone through the Federal High Court Acts and Civil procedure Rules, there was nowhere such method or provision was found.
Chief Uche(SAN) surmised that, “…we may not understand the motive behind the letter, and the request contained therein, but we make bold to say that it is worrisome when a party to litigation engages in an act which smacks of an interference with the due administration of justice.
“If they were truly concerned about insecurity and serious breach of peace as claimed in the letter, the Independent National Electoral Commission ought to have been approached, pursuant to Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010, for the postponement of the election itself..”
The Chief Moghalu’s counsel argument not withstanding, the court allowed Uba/Mahmud request, hence the judgement was stood down from November 4 to December 20, forty-seven clear days ahead. And the dreaded date eventually came and it became obvious that Uba who perhaps was acting on impulse based on Moghalu’s submissions during the proceedings knows he would stand no chance. More like an admixture of legal and political gamble. He lost!
The words of the court were brutal! And verdict definite. It extinguished so many things, Chief of which was the demure looking former senator’s gamble-filled career. It’s doubtful if he would venture any other political contest.
Just consider the piercing words of the verdict which shows the trial court agreed with all Chief Moghalu’s prayers.
*Uba was disqualified alongside the party.
*APC had no candidate in the just concluded Anambra Governorship election.
*Senator Uba should stop parading himself as Candidate of the APC.
*APC should refund Chief Dr George Moghalu his Nomination and Express of Interest form fees.
On the part of the party, the APC, many were losers including the acting chairman Basil Ejidike. He may also retire into political Siberia alongside Uba, for good.
But Moghalu and the Minister of Labour and Employment- Senator Chris Ngige, they have a big job to do in rebuilding, galvanizing once again dismembered party. Because the carrot-and-stick style of Uba’s politics, which succeeded in sending almost all the rest 12 Governorship aspirants and other stalwarts into other parties he left the once ebullient vibrant party in political kwashiorkor. The party took a type of beating it never ever seen in anywhere in the country on Nov 6. Why not, when the heart and soul of the party represented by Moghalu, Ngige, Hygers Igwebike, Azuka Okwuosa, Chidozie Nwankwo, Ben Etiaba, Amobi Nwokafor, Jeff Onyejegbu, Maxwell Okoye, Paul Orajaka, Rev Godwin Okonkwo, Edozie Madu, Johnbosco Onunkwo, and Ikeobasi Morelia’s among others had left or taken private holiday.
It would real be given to Uba that he after that unpopular snatching of the ticket had embarked on high wired analog and digital poaching of tired and retired political bigwigs. The poll result really showed that Uba worked with the worst set of hands. Banking on unorthodox method and hoping on it too, coupled with his phobia for public and anything connoting contest, he simply went to bed, having perhaps been assured by the honchos that the victory was settled. It was once reported by a neighbor of his that he devoted the valuable time he would have used to tour the state campaigning for votes to rehearse how to catwork to the podium to read his inaugural address, as well as how to control his immaculate white flowing babanriga. They alleged he had a daily routine of doing so in the morning afternoon and night under flood light.
Now, with the stand of Moghalu and Justice Ekwo, it looks like the already prepared speech would now be returned to the archives of the federal university where the team of five professors labored to produce the thirteen page document.
More so, his petition at the Tribunal will remain hanging till he returns from appeal of the Moghalu verdict which disqualified him as candidate of the party. And it was doubtful if he would be back within the stipulated 180 days to make anything meaningful from the petition. Looks like double jeopardy.
Again, he has a window through any other lackey suits he brought through proxy. But they are all experiment, as it appears that his managers would never be tired of the political milk, as long as it continues to flow. Who knows.
After all we all saw it coming, warned and raised alarm. But the party chose individual relationships Uba has with some party chieftains against the will of the people especially the party czars in the state where Uba was even a new comer. Anambra is indeed not Imo!
You are therefore urged to extinguish all the roguish petition against the deserved victory of Prof Chukwuma Soludo who against all odds of lackluster performance of the outgoing administration beat you and others hands down.
The records show that no one in history has ever garnered up to 100,000 votes to win the governorship election in the state. But he defeated you by above 400%. What else do you want? To be buried alive? No. Just go home. So as to come back another day.
Cheers and happy Christmas and new year