Anam­bra gov­er­nor­ship: Storm over al­leged plot to re­place APC’s can­di­date

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Hamza Idris

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

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