Anambra governorship: Storm over alleged plot to replace APC’s candidate
Tongues are wagging over alleged plot by some “powerful forces” within the All Progressives Congress (APC) to cancel the August 26 gubernatorial primaries of the party which was won by a serving member of House of Representatives, Mr Tony Nwoye following his declaration by Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima who chaired a committee that conducted the televised election in Awka, capital of Anambra State between 26 and 27th of August, 2017.
Nwoye was declared winner with 2,146 votes to defeat his closest rival, Senator Andy Uba who scored 931 votes. Ubah who is rich and connected was favoured to win the election before Nwoye, backed by wealthy and equally influential prince Arthur Eze won the election with wide margin.
In anticipation of possible problems, the election committee invited former Minister of Works, Dr Hassan Lawal who had been appointed as Chairman of the appeal panel, to travel to Awka to witness the election processes in order to have on the spot knowledge in the event there was any objection by aspirants who may file petitions to his panel to contest the outcome. It was before Lawal as Chairman of the appeal panel that the elections held and results announced by Governor Kashim Shettima.
Before and during the elections, Governor Shettima’s committee had set stringent conditions for the primaries with processes that included screening of delegates, votes cast, collation, counting of votes and announced of results all televised live by the Nigerian Television Authority with all aspirants, their agents and voters present at the venue. The election which started on August 26, ended the following day with the declaration of result by Governor Shettima.
“This election is one of the easiest for our committee because election becomes difficult only when an umpire has interest in who wins since that interest will require bending to the rules to the resistance of other contenders. However, when the umpire has no interest, it is always easier to set rules that creates a free and fair ground for everyone” Shettima said before announcing the result.
After the result was announced there was no contention by any of the aspirants as everything ended peacefully.
Chairman of APC election strategy committee for the November 18 Anambra Governorship who is former Governor of Anambra State in the second republic, Chief Jim Nwobodo described the election as the freest, transparent and most credible election ever held in the history of Anambra State.
“I watched with keen interest the live transmission of the 2017 All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Primary for Anambra State, where Dr. Tony Nwoye was declared as the winner with a total of 2,146 votes. I wish to congratulate the National Chairman and National Working Committee for making this (election) possible. I also congratulate the Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, and his Committee for conducting a free, credible and rancourfree primary in the state, making it the first time any political party would conduct such a transparent and rancour free primary in the state” Nwobodo said in well publicized statement he personally signed.
While Shettima’s committee was being celebrated for its neutrality with Nwoye and his supporters celebrating especially since major contender Andy Uba didn’t raise any questions throughout the election, things however took a new dimension in Abuja.
Uba filed a petition contesting the election. As reported by a section of the media, one of Uba’s major contention was an allegation that Nwoye smuggled in students who paraded themselves as delegates beating Governor Shettima’s committee. Uba alleged that Nwoye, a former President of National Association of Nigerian Students used his link with students and rigged the elections with votes from fake delegates.
Uba’s petition was filed before the APC’s appeal panel under former Minister of Works, Dr Hassan Lawal. The panel invited persons connected with the petition including Nwoye who vehemently described Uba’s allegation as blatant false.
Nwoye reminded the committee that all aspirants including Uba, agents of all aspirants, State and local government executives of the APC were all present while all delegates were thoroughly screened as they passed through five stages of vetting based on stringent measures adopted by Governor Shettima’s committee before the delegates were given ballot papers to cast their votes in the presence of all aspirants and on live television. Nwoye wondered why Uba didn’t raise any objection against any of the delegates before and during the primaries. Some of Nwoye’s also made reference to the fact the Chairman of the appeal panel, Dr Lawal was in Awka during the primaries and could have attested to the transparent conduct of the elections.
No sooner had the appeal panel submitted it’s report to the National Working Committee of the APC the decision that matters began to arise with some sections of the media reporting alleged financial inducement of two hundred million naira by Andy Uba to compromise the appeal panel in order to drop Nwoye for deployment of fake delegates and thuse makes his 2,146 votes unlawful while Uba becomes new candidate with highest valid votes of 931.
Andy Uba however denied making attempts to induce the appeal panel describing the allegations as attempts to
It is left to be seen what happens next as the National Working Committee of the APC is expected to make a final statement on who is to fly the APC flag ahead of the November 18 Governorship election in Anambra State to slug it out with Governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance who has since parted ways with his predecessor, former Governor, Peter Obi, now in the PDP
blackmail him. Speaking through his media aide, Dr Onwuchekwa Okeke, Uba said he noted with serious concern attempt to tarnish his image. He also said that the committee under Governor Shettima had done it’s best noting that he has the highest respect for the Governor and that his petition had nothing to do with the committee.
”Uba has at no time indicted the committee that conducted the primaries. In fact what is contained in his petition falls outside the purview of what the committee could have control over. He has the highest respect for the committee led by Governor Kashim Shettima. His petition is strictly on the action of the supposed winner (Nwoye) who after having manipulated the election outside the committee are desperate to hang on to to a supposed victory that they got fraudulently” Uba’s spokesman said in published portions of his statement.
Daily Trust on Saturday learnt that the Anambra primaries has become the battle of ego between Andy Uba and his open rival, Prince Arthur Eze. The election was also a battle of popularity of faith between Anglicans and Catholics. While Uba is an Anglican, Eze and his godson, Nwoye are Catholics whose followers claim to be in majority around their constituencies. Both Uba and Eze are wealthy individuals who have long been locked in different battles on issues relating to property. Though both men and wealthy, Uba, It was gathered, had the advantage of being once elected as Governor in Anambra State in addition to his connection with major players in the APC including the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
In the midst of battles for what decision the National Working Committee of the APC makes, some key chieftains of the APC in Anambra State have raised dust against alleged plot to cancel the election. Notable amongst these chieftains is former Governor Jim Nwobodo whose remark was published by media houses on Wednesday, warning APC against contemplating the cancellation of the election.
“That election was transparent, free and fair and everybody saw it on television from start to finish and hence no one should dare to nullify that election” Nwobodo said in a telephone interview with journalists.
The former Governor’s remark re-echoed his position which he made public the day the election result was announced by Governor Shettima on live television, August 27 in Awka, Anambra State.
There have been remarks in favour of Andy Uba whose supporters insist he was robbed by Nwoye without the knowledge of Shettima’s committee.
It is left to be seen what happens next as the National Working Committee of the APC is expected to make a final statement on who is to fly the APC flag ahead of the November 18 Governorship election in Anambra State to slug it out with Governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance who has since parted ways with his predecessor, former Governor, Peter Obi, now in the PDP.
Mr. Tony Nwoye
Sen. Andy Uba